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Interpreting Climate Data - Analysing climate vulnerability- online training resource for adaptation
 

Interpreting Climate Data - Analysing climate vulnerability- online training resource for adaptation

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Interpreting Climate Data...

Interpreting Climate Data

This module provides an introduction to climate data and how to effectively use it. The following will be covered:
How regionalised climate data is produced
How to understand and interpret regionalised climate data
How to identify and communicate uncertainties

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Interpreting Climate Data - Analysing climate vulnerability- online training resource for adaptation Interpreting Climate Data - Analysing climate vulnerability- online training resource for adaptation Presentation Transcript

  • Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Training for Adaptation Today’s Climate
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataInterpreting Climate DataThis module provides an introduction to climate data and how to effectively use it. The following will becovered:• How regionalised climate data is produced• How to understand and interpret regionalised climate data• How to identify and communicate uncertainties Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012 Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataWhat is climate data?To understand climate change and the need to adapt it is important to recognise the differencebetween weather and climate (MET Office, UK).Weather is the temperature, precipitation (rain, hail, sleet and snow) and wind, which change hour byhour and day by day. When you want to know the weather, time and place are critical - you areinterested in what is going to happen in the immediate future.Climate data is different; the focus is on spatially and temporally averaged conditions. Climate data iscommonly defined as the weather averaged over a long period of time, however, it can also includethe magnitudes of day-to-day or year-to-year variations. To illustrate this the UK Met Office points outthat while the weather brings different temperatures all over the world on a day to day basis, over ayear wed expect the global climate to bring an average temperature of about 14 °C. http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate-change/guide/climateThe difference between climate and weather is usefully summarised by the popular phrase “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.” Climate Adaptation D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataWhat is climate change?Climate change refers to a multi-decadal or longer shifts, inone or more physical, chemical and/or biologicalcomponents of the climate system.It can be statistically measured as a change in some or all ofthe features associated with weather, such as temperature,wind, and precipitation, plus it can involve changes inaverage conditions (e.g. mean daily temperature) and thevariability of the weather.It can also be qualitatively observed and recorded in oralhistories.Climate change includes persistent changes in fauna andflora, snow cover, etc., and may occur in a specific region,or across the whole world. Climate Adaptation D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataTerminology DefinitionWeather Describes atmospheric conditions at a particular place in terms of air temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed, and precipitationClimate Is often defined as the weather averaged over time (typically, 30 years).Climate Variability Refers to variations in the mean state of climate on all temporal and spatial scales beyond that of individual weather events. Examples of climate variability include extended droughts, floods, and conditions that result from periodic El Niño and La Niña events.Climate Change Refers to shifts in the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (decades or longer). Climate change may be due to natural changes or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.Global Warming Global warming involves the accumulation of heat in Joules within the climate system, predominantly the oceans. Definitions based on IPCC Climate Change 2001 and 2007 Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability reports Climate Adaptation D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataRegional climate forecastsRegionally relevant climate forecasts can be generated in two ways.Data on the region can be extracted directly from Global Circulation Models (GCMs). Typically thesedata are of low resolution owing to the large spatial scales covered. However, they do show generaltrends and expectations.Alternatively climate downscaling can be used to generate more specific forecasts for a particularregion. These data will have higher resolution, but are more expensive and difficult to generate. Climate Adaptation D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataDownscaling climate dataThe overarching strategy is to connect global scalepredictions and regional dynamics to generate regionallyspecific forecasts (climate-decisions.org).There are three main techniques for generating useful localclimate data.1.Nesting a regional climate model into an existing GCMs. Once a specific location is defined driving factors from the GCM are applied to the regional climate model.2.Statistical regressions that aim to establish the relationship between large scale variables derived from GCMs, and local level climate conditions.3.Stochastic weather generators that use data, such as wind speed or other variables, generated from GCMs to predict the local result of driving variables. Climate Adaptation D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataHow regionalised climate data is producedExamples from Norway:• Historic climate statistics – www.senorge.no (interactive maps and statistics) – Local date in some cases – Can be ordered from met.no, Bjerknessenteret or Storm Weather Centre• Standardised and free-of charge downscaled climate change projections – www.senorge.no (interactive maps) – www.klimatilpasning.no (ready made maps)• Customised (and not free-of charge!) downscaled climate change projections – Can be ordered from met.no, Bjerknessenteret or Storm Weather Centre Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataHow to interpret and understand regionalised climate dataSome basic concepts• Climate parameters and effect parameters• Emission scenarios and climate change scenarios• Natural variability and climate signal Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataHistoric climate statistics: Example from Norway Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataFree of charge interactive maps: Example from Norway Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataFree of charge standardisedmaps: Example from Norway Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataCreating regional scenariosTwo factors are particularly important in shaping regionalclimate forecasts:1. The GCM used to generate the forecast; and2. Assumptions about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissiongeneration over time.When combined, these two factors create a wide rangeof possible results for the variables being examined.It should be noted thought that developing regionallydownscaled climate predictions is more difficult thanaccessing regionally relevant GCM data. Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataMaking climate predictions Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataSample climate predictions: Example from Norway http://www.vestforsk.no/filearchive/r-ks- klimaanalysen-del2.pdf Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1 Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate Data Sample climate predictions: Example from Norway Presenting the mean value (and Presenting the whole range of equallyPresenting only the mean value highlighting this), but also presenting likely values of projections upper and lower values www.klimatilpasning.no http://www.vestforsk.no/filearchive/r-ks- klimaanalysen-del2.pdf Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012 Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1 Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate Data Sample climate predictions: Example from Norway Presenting the mean value (and Presenting the whole range of equallyPresenting only the mean value highlighting this), but also presenting likely values of projections upper and lower values www.senorge.no www.klimatilpasning.no http://www.vestforsk.no/filearchive/r-ks- klimaanalysen-del2.pdf Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012 Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataVariability v mean valuesOften, downscaled climate projections are presented as themean value of different climate models.This average is for instance used by the Norwegian webportal senorge.no, which presents projections of climateparameters such as snow duration and temperature for thetime period 2071-2100.The average is often wrongly interpreted as ‘the most likelyprojection’.This is, however, not entirely true. It is important to includethe entire range of values – also extreme values at either end– as they all in principle constitute equally likely projections. Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataClimate scenarios as tools for policy makersScenarios are an invaluable tool for managers or strategists who want to think through the futuredimension of decisions and actions. Using scenarios to explore and rehearse future possibilitiesshould highlight a number of issues or potential options that require further detailed investigation oranalysis.Scenarios are most commonly used in a strategic context for the following reasons:• To help define future vision and strategic priorities• To rehearse different policy or strategy options to highlight potential strengths and weaknesses, or unintended consequences• To future-proof a decision that is ‘on the table’ Climate Adaptation D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataInterpreting climate data: time frames and climate scenariosClimate change implies a longer time frame (50-100 years) thanwhat is common in, and relevant for, local policy-making (4-10years).This feature of climate policy obviously constitutes a challenge.Scenarios may be useful tools for policy-makers.We use the terms past, present, and future climate to refer to thevarious time frames: Climate Adaptation D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataInterpreting climate data: time frames and climate scenariosPast climate:Climate statistics are actually showing us the climate of the past.In planning new water and sanitation pipes, we often look at thiskind of data.However, such data can be also be used to look at vulnerabilityaspects associated with existing natural climate variability e.g.very mild winters some years, very hard winters other years(particularly apparent in the UK). Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataInterpreting climate data: time frames and climate scenariosPresent climate:Several effects of climate change can already be observed.Although natural variability accounts for some of the deviationsfrom the past climate, such effects provide a signal as to what isunderway.Thus, we should be adapting in ways different from those relatedto past climate. Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataInterpreting climate data: time frames and climate scenariosFuture climate:The climate of the future can to some extent be estimated on thebasis of emission scenarios.Adaptation to climate change (i.e. future climate) is what climatechange adaptation is really about, although many fail todistinguish between past, present, and future climate bothverbally and in practice.For example, upgrading a flood-prone road to presentprecipitation levels rather than to the precipitation levelsexpected in 20 years, constitutes an example of climateadaptation, but not climate change adaptation. Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataClimate scenarios for exploring future possibilitiesScenarios represent a framework for thinking about the futurebased on a robust evidence base and set of diverse viewpointsabout what might or could happen in the future.They are not factual accounts of what is happening today orforecasts of what will happen in the future.They are a combination of analysis and judgment about futurepossibilities. It is therefore useful to be aware that usingscenarios can represent a challenge, albeit a stimulating one, to‘traditional’ modes of thinking and ways of working. Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataFinal key points:Developing regional scenarios and creating influence diagrams that correlate these scenarios toregional systems can help make climate data more useful for decision makingHowever, often, we fail to reflect sufficiently on the notion of change.Natural variability in the short run vs. climate change in the long runThe term ‘climate’ encompasses statistics of a number of meteorological elements in a given regionover long periods of time. It is important to note that while natural variability can certainly account forvariability in the short run, short-term deviations from the norm are inherently different from long-termchanges in climate. As an example, natural variability can easily explain a couple of summer heatrecords within a decade, but several decades of unusually high summer heat records is more likely toimply long-term climate change.Depending on the scope of the vulnerability assessment, and the local conditions, you need differentclimate data input.More detailed climate data does not, however, reduce the uncertainties. Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataFinal key points:Identify and Communicate UncertaintiesOn the one hand, it is important to be clear about the great uncertainty associated with climatechange adaptationAt the same time, it is vital to avoid a state of non-action based on the assumption that‘everything’ is uncertainA possible solution to this dilemma is to try and differentiate our understanding of uncertainty Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource
  • Process Stage 1Analysing Climate Vulnerability: Climate DataFinal key points: ‘Climate modelling is inherently uncertain, but this does not mean that forecasts do not have value. One way to make decisions despite this uncertainty is to consider the range of possible climate outcomes instead of relying on single forecasts. Because each GCM incorporates slightly different assumptions about how the climate works, each generates different results. Decision makers can make more resilient decisions by incorporating a range of these results in their considerations.’ climate-decisions.org http://www.climate-decisions.org/2_Climate%20Forecasts.htm Climate Adaptation C. Aall, & D. Davies, 2012Online Training Resource