Theme 3: Projection, Detection and Attribution of Climate Change

As part of the IPCC Assessment process, climate modelling groups around the world conducted numerous simulations of the 21st century climate. The output from these models represents a unique asset from which to understand the dynamics of the climate system. CREATE students and postdoctoral fellows are using the results from the latest integrations of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (CCCma) coupled atmosphere-ocean model, as well as the results from several other coupled models, to determine to what extent changes in various socially-relevant variables are detectable and attributable to anthropogenic climate change. Particular attention is focused on addressing climate change in the Arctic and on the potential detection and attribution of changes in extreme events.

Students and postdoctoral fellows are addressing the robustness of coupled-model projections of climate change, to find out why the model projections agree in some respects and disagree in others. This is a challenging scientific topic because models differ in their construction, because coupled-ocean atmosphere feedbacks amplify these differences, and because climate perturbations can amplify these differences even further. By improving our understanding of current-generation climate models, we are increasing our confidence in their projections.