Important Notice for Using Climate Projections
Climate projections can be useful for making decisions about the future, but the limitations of climate models make it easy to misinterpret or misuse their results. Be aware that:
- Climate projections are not predictions. Projections are based on assumptions about future human emissions of greenhouse gases and other policy choices.
- Climate projections do not attempt to predict the timing of meteorological events such as storms, droughts, or El Niños. The location and timing of future extreme weather events cannot be deduced from climate model projections.
- Projections vary from model to model: the best projection dataset for one location and purpose may not be the best for other situations. Considering a range of projections may help you gain a more complete picture of potential future risks.
- The increased spatial resolution of statistically downscaled projections available for temperature and precipitation may not be available for all parameters. In addition, increased resolution does not necessarily equate to greater fidelity or reliability.
For decisions involving the use of climate model projections, you may want to consider seeking expertise.
The Climate Inspector is an interactive web application which expands GIS mapping and graphing capabilities to visualize possible temperature and precipitation changes for 20-year periods throughout the 21st century. Users can explore how temperature and precipitation may change based on four emission trajectories (Representative Concentration Pathways), investigate climate changes around the globe and through time, inspect climate trends, variability and uncertainty, and download maps and data. You can also download temporal climate data for a single grid cell.
The maps and graphs are generated from a large dataset of climate simulations by the NCAR Community Climate System Model (CCSM4). These simulations were prepared for the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The tool invites users to "Explore Climate Anomalies, Variability, and Uncertainty in Space and Time."
The tool is freely available for use. Downloading GIS data layers from the site requires you to register and sign in.