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.
ClimateData.us provides a map-based visualization of projected local temperature and precipitation change across the contiguous United States. Based on NASA’s OpenNEX 800-meter downscaled data, this tool can give decision makers a sense of projected changes under two possible futures: one is a mitigation scenario (RCP 2.6) in which future emissions are restricted, and the second is a business-as-usual, high-emissions future (RCP 8.5).