North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP)
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.
Data from the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) are available through the Earth System Grid. The NARCCAP produces high-resolution climate change simulations for investigating uncertainties in regional scale projections of future climate and generates climate change scenarios for use in impacts research.
NARCCAP modelers have run six regional climate models (RCMs) driven by four atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) over a domain covering the contiguous United States and most of Canada. The models used the SRES A2 emissions scenario for the 21st century, covering the period 2041–2070. Simulations with these models were also produced for the historical period (1971–2000).