School of Meteorology

Climate Projections over North America in the Coming Decades: Uncertainty due to Natural Variability

Dr. Clara Deser


19 April 2016, 4:00 PM

National Weather Center, Room 1313
120 David L. Boren Blvd.
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK

“Everyone’s a butterfly, Dr. Leo.” Dr. Tzvi Gal-Chen (aka Dr. Leo in Rivka Gal-Chen’s book “Atmospheric Disturbances) was acutely aware of the effects of initial condition uncertainty on weather forecasting. This so-called “butterfly effect” also impacts our ability to predict changes in regional climate over the coming decades. In this talk, I will highlight the contribution of internally-generated climate variability to uncertainty in climate change projections over North America based on a large ensemble of simulations with a state-of-the-art coupled climate model. Each simulation is subject to the identical increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, but begins from a slightly different initial state. I will show that much of the diversity in climate change projections across the individual ensemble members is a result of variability in large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns. I will conclude by discussing the implications for model validation, inter-model comparisons, and interpretation of observed climate trends.

Speaker bio

School of Meteorology Seminar Series website