skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Is Climate Change Predictable? Really?

Abstract

This project is the first application of a completely different approach to climate modeling, in which new prognostic equations are used to directly compute the evolution of two-point correlations. This project addresses three questions that are critical for the credibility of the science base for climate prediction: (1) What is the variability spectrum at equilibrium? (2) What is the rate of relaxation when subjected to external perturbations? (3) Can variations due to natural processes be distinguished from those due to transient external forces? The technical approach starts with the evolution equation for the probability distribution function and arrives at a prognostic equation for ensemble-mean two-point correlations, bypassing the detailed weather calculation. This work will expand our basic understanding of the theoretical limits of climate prediction and stimulate new experiments to perform with conventional climate models. It will furnish statistical estimates that are inaccessible with conventional climate simulations and likely will raise important new questions about the very nature of climate change and about how (and whether) climate change can be predicted. Solid progress on such issues is vital to the credibility of the science base for climate change research and will provide policymakers evaluating tradeoffs among energy technology options andmore » their attendant environmental and economic consequences.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
928157
Report Number(s):
UCRL-TR-217203
TRN: US200815%%508
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; CLIMATE MODELS; CLIMATES; DISTRIBUTION FUNCTIONS; ECONOMICS; FORECASTING; PROBABILITY; RELAXATION; SIMULATION; TRANSIENTS; WEATHER

Citation Formats

Dannevik, W P, and Rotman, D A. Is Climate Change Predictable? Really?. United States: N. p., 2005. Web. doi:10.2172/928157.
Dannevik, W P, & Rotman, D A. Is Climate Change Predictable? Really?. United States. doi:10.2172/928157.
Dannevik, W P, and Rotman, D A. Mon . "Is Climate Change Predictable? Really?". United States. doi:10.2172/928157. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/928157.
@article{osti_928157,
title = {Is Climate Change Predictable? Really?},
author = {Dannevik, W P and Rotman, D A},
abstractNote = {This project is the first application of a completely different approach to climate modeling, in which new prognostic equations are used to directly compute the evolution of two-point correlations. This project addresses three questions that are critical for the credibility of the science base for climate prediction: (1) What is the variability spectrum at equilibrium? (2) What is the rate of relaxation when subjected to external perturbations? (3) Can variations due to natural processes be distinguished from those due to transient external forces? The technical approach starts with the evolution equation for the probability distribution function and arrives at a prognostic equation for ensemble-mean two-point correlations, bypassing the detailed weather calculation. This work will expand our basic understanding of the theoretical limits of climate prediction and stimulate new experiments to perform with conventional climate models. It will furnish statistical estimates that are inaccessible with conventional climate simulations and likely will raise important new questions about the very nature of climate change and about how (and whether) climate change can be predicted. Solid progress on such issues is vital to the credibility of the science base for climate change research and will provide policymakers evaluating tradeoffs among energy technology options and their attendant environmental and economic consequences.},
doi = {10.2172/928157},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Nov 14 00:00:00 EST 2005},
month = {Mon Nov 14 00:00:00 EST 2005}
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • The response and impact of clouds remains one of the largest outstanding questions in GCMs. Clouds are not homogeneous, though they are treated as such in the models. When averaged over areas typically used as numerical grid elements by GCMs, observations suggest that there are some clouds at all relative humidities. Fractional cloud cover at 100% relative humidity is rarely 100%, and totally clear skies rarely occur, even for low relative humidities. Relative humidity is the best single indicator of cloud coverage. However, if there is a relationship between cloud coverage and relative humidity, our current models and observations aremore » inadequate to reveal exactly what that relationship is. It does appear that cloud coverage decreases exponentially as humidity falls below 100%. 2 refs., 2 figs.« less
  • Urban water use, particularly outdoor use, responds to changes in temperature, precipitation, and other climatic parameters. The study significantly improved the capacity of an existing regional water demand model to estimate the response of both residential and commercial-industrial water demand to changes in climatic parameters. The resulting functional relationships derived from historic time-series climatic and water use data were applied to global climate scenarios for the four Wasatch Front counties of Utah.
  • The impact of CO/sub 2/-induced increases in ambient temperature is predicted to result in an overall reduction in animal productivity, although animal productivity may increase in some parts of the world. New technologies will be needed to maintain or overcome the adverse effects of climate that are predicted. The effects of temperature (and other associated changes in climate) impact directly on the physiology of the animals as well as indirectly through changes in parasites, diseases, forages, crops and soils. The purpose of this paper is to identify the researchable issues which will permit animals to maintain and perhaps increase theirmore » food production capacity and efficiency in spite of potential increases in ambient temperature. In order for animal agricultural systems to maintain or increase efficiency and productivity in the face of altered climate, additional knowledge must be gained in understanding the multiplicity of pathways whereby weather exerts its effects on the biological components involved in animal agriculture. Research needed to permit animals to cope with increasing ambient temperatures are described for the following topics: animal productivity; nutrition; endocrinology; reproduction; acclimation and behavior; genetics; animal health; environmental modification and housing; adaptation, yield and quality of primary feed producing plants; soil resources for animal feed production; international aspects; systems management; and economics. The research approaches suggested range from highly detailed physiological and biochemical studies in environmentally controlled animal chambers to studies of animals managed in extensive grazing conditions.« less
  • Given the potential significance of northern ecosystems to the global carbon budget it is critical to estimate the current carbon balance of these ecosystems as precisely as possible, to improve estimates of the future carbon balance if world climates change, and to assess the range of certainty associated with these estimates. As a first step toward quantifying some of the potential changes, a workshop with tundra and taiga ecologists and soil scientists was held in San Diego in March 1980. The first part of this report summarizes the conclusions of this workshop with regard to the estimate of the currentmore » areal extent and carbon content of the circumpolar arctic and the taiga, current rates of carbon accumulation in the peat in the arctic and the taiga, and predicted future carbon accumulation rates based on the present understanding of controlling processes and on the understanding of past climates and vegetation. This report presents a finer resolution of areal extents, standing crops, and production rates than was possible previously because of recent syntheses of data from the International Biological Program and current studies in the northern ecosystems, some of which have not yet been published. This recent information changes most of the earlier estimates of carbon content and affects predictions of the effect of climate change. The second part of this report outlines research needed to fill major gaps in the understanding of the role of northern ecosystems in global climate change.« less
  • The report compares previously published results in the light of basic physical and meteorological considerations to derive an initial first-guess climate scenario for the western United States under doubled-CO2 conditions. The scenario features a northward displacement of existing storm tracks across western North America and changes in lengths of seasons and airmass characteristics. This scenario is then applied to two sets of watersheds chosen for study in a joint Bureau of Reclamation and Geological Survey study, namely, the Gunnison in Colorado, and the American, Carson, and Truckee basins in California and Nevada, to yield estimates of changes in temperature, cloudinessmore » and precipitation that an altered climate might bring. Attachment A is a summary of selected publications on global climate change.« less