Fischer, Erich M.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
The concept of spatial climate analogs, that is identifying a place with a present-day climate similar to the projections of a place of interest, is a promising method for visualizing and communicating possible effects of climate change. We show that when accounting for seasonal cycles of both temperature and precipitation, it is impossible to find good analogs for projections at many places across the world. For substantial land fractions, primarily in the tropics and subtropics, there are no analogs anywhere with current seasonal cycles of temperature and precipitation matching their projected future conditions. This implies that these places experience the emergence of novel climates. For 1.5 °C global warming about 15% and for 2 °C warming about 21% of the global land is projected to experience novel climates, whereas for a 4 °C warming the corresponding novel climates may emerge on more than a third of the global land fraction. Similar fractions of today's climates, mainly found in the tropics, subtropics and polar north, are anticipated to disappear in the future. Note that the exact quantification of the land fraction is sensitive to the threshold selection. Novel and disappearing climates may have serious consequences for impacts that are sensitive to the full seasonal cycle of temperature and precipitation. For individual seasons, however, spatial analogs may still be a powerful tool for climate change communication Show more
Journal / seriesEnvironmental Research Letters
Pages / Article No.
Subjectclimate change communication; spatial climate analogs; novel and disappearing climates
Organisational unit03777 - Knutti, Reto
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