Climate Models Predict The World Will Be Anomalously Warm Until 2022

Climate Models Predict The World Will Be Anomalously Warm Until 2022RRice / shutterstock

The next four years are going to be anomalously warm – even on top of regular climate change. That’s according to new research my colleague Sybren Drijfhout and I have just published.

We developed a new prediction system we call PROCAST (PROabilistic foreCAST), and used it to predict the natural variability of the climate system. This refers to how the climate varies naturally from warm to cool phases that last a few years at a time, and is separate from the long-term trend of anthropogenic global warming. PROCAST predicts a warm phase for the next few years.

Our work, published in Nature Communications, is important as such forecasts help predict the chances of events like heatwaves or cold snaps months in advance, and it is now well established that anomalous climatic events have a direct human impact. For example, heatwaves lead to excess deaths in only a few weeks. During the 2003 European heatwave, a long drought caused UK wheat production to drop by 12%.

Tougher winters, meanwhile, can worsen respiratory infections, increasing pressure on health services and the supply of drugs. Indeed, consumption of flu vaccines can vary significantly depending on the weather conditions. In the UK, snowy conditions in winter 2010 were estimated to have cost the economy £690m a day, while natural gas consumption increased massively. Predicting these extreme climatic events up to a season in advance is therefore a priority, in order to allow early adaptation and cost-effective mitigation.

Scientists have made some important breakthroughs in understanding and modelling the climate system, yet these have not yet been transferred into an ability to predict the climate from year to year. This inability has its roots in the deterministic chaos of the climate system, which has been popularised by the idea of the “butterfly effect” where the tiniest error in the estimation of the current weather might have significant consequences later.

The quest for annual forecasting

Despite these difficulties, major research centres and national meteorological services have embraced this challenge and a significant effort is currently going toward developing accurate predictions of year to year climate variations. At the core of this development each group and centre relies on its individual state-of-the-art climate model used to propagate into the future the current climate state. Unfortunately, because climate models are not perfect, we are still not able to efficiently predict the climate a few years in advance.

This is where PROCAST comes in. Instead of relying on a single climate model, we combined a range of different climate models used in the context of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5). PROCAST can be quickly trained to build on the work already done by these models, which are already completed and freely available.

This has two obvious advantages. First, it removes any dependence on a single, possibly biased, model. But it also dramatically improves the speed of the predictions – a forecast that previously took a supercomputer an entire week now can be done on a laptop in a few hundredths of a second.

To check if our predictions are accurate and reliable, we conducted a series of a posteriori predictions, or “hindcasts”. We found our system was both accurate (able to predict what actually happened in the future) and reliable (on average, it did not predict events that did not occur).

Forecasting the future

Our study shows that, on top of the forced warming from climate change, natural variability will induce an anomalously warm phase of more than 0.02℃ for 2018, more than 0.03℃ for 2018-2019, and more than 0.01℃ for 2018-2022. These numbers, which can look unfamiliarly small, are in fact comparable in intensity to the typical rate of global warming experienced each year if averaged it over the past century (around 1℃ over 100 years roughly equals 0.01℃ every year).

The ConversationHowever it is important to acknowledge that the method does not only predict one given value, but a probability. This means that warm years are more likely than cold years for the period 2018-2022. Indeed our research showed that over the next two years it is 64% likely to be anomalously warm. In addition, over the course of the next five years PROCAST predicts a relative decrease in the likelihood of extreme cold years.

About The Author

Florian Sévellec, Associate Professor in Ocean Physics, University of Southampton

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Related Books

List Price: $21.99
Sale Price: $21.99 $16.29 You save: $5.70


List Price: $27.00
Sale Price: $27.00 $15.69 You save: $11.31


List Price: $16.95
Sale Price: $16.95 $14.13 You save: $2.82


enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeiwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptruesswsvthtrukurvi

LATEST VIDEOS

Emergency Medicine For Our Climate Fever
by Kelly Wanser
As we recklessly warm the planet by pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, some industrial emissions also…
What Extinction Rebellion climate activists are demanding from governments
by Democracy Now!
More than 700 climate activists were arrested in 60 cities worldwide in a global effort aimed at urging governments to…
Can Nature Repair The Planet From Climate Change?
by The Economist
A closer look at one of the most familiar responses offered to the climate crisis.
How Climate Change Is Threatening Homes In Mumbai
by South China Morning Post
Lowland cities and islands such as the Indian city of Mumbai may face increasingly frequent floods and storms
This is Not A Drill: 700+ Arrested as Extinction Rebellion Fights Climate Crisis With Direct Action
by Democracy Now!
More than 700 people have been arrested in civil disobedience actions as the group Extinction Rebellion kicked off two…
Europe's Most Iconic Mountain Is A Climate Change Warning
by ABC News
ABC News' James Longman reports from Mont Blanc, where a glacier on the Italian side of the mountain is breaking apart…
Something Drastic Has To Happen - Roger Hallam
by Extinction Rebellion
Roger Hallam talks with Stephen Sackur from BBC HardTalk about the need to ACT NOW.
Three Steps to Cut Your Carbon Footprint 60% Today
by TEDx Talks
Not all carbon is created equal. Writer Jackson Carpenter argues that the power to stop climate change rests on…

LATEST ARTICLES

India Builds Homes To Resist Climate Linked Floods
India Builds Homes To Resist Climate Linked Floods
by Our Chennai correspondent
Bamboo, lime and mud are traditional materials being used innovatively in southern India to rebuild homes that can…
Why We Know California Wildfires Will Get Even Worse
Why We Know California Wildfires Will Get Even Worse
by Kevin Stacey
The severity of wildfires in the Sierra Nevada region of California has been sensitive to changes in climate over the…
Extinction Rebellion's Car-free Streets Showcase The Possibility Of A Beautiful, Safe And Green Future
Extinction Rebellion's Car-free Streets Showcase The Possibility Of A Beautiful, Safe And Green Future
by Paul Chatterton
Standing in the middle of a usually busy central London street during Extinction Rebellion’s protests, the air…
New Research Shows How Much Methane Goes From The Ocean To The Atmosphere Each Year
New Research Shows How Much Methane Goes From The Ocean To The Atmosphere Each Year
by Lindsey Valich
New research uses data science to determine how much methane goes from the ocean and into the atmosphere each year.
Great Lakes Flooding: The Warning Signs That Homes Must Be Moved
Great Lakes Flooding: The Warning Signs That Homes Must Be Moved
by Daniel Macfarlane
Every fall, I take my environmental studies class camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan.
Mayors Of 94 Cities Are Taking The Green New Deal Global, As States Fail To Act On Climate Crisis
Mayors Of 94 Cities Are Taking The Green New Deal Global, As States Fail To Act On Climate Crisis
by Simon Curtis
At the seventh World Mayor’s Summit in Copenhagen, leaders of 94 cities embraced a global Green New Deal, in an attempt…
Why We Need To Treat Wildfire As A Public Health Issue In California
Why We Need To Treat Wildfire As A Public Health Issue In California
by Faith Kearns and Max Moritz
Deadly fires across California over the past several years have shown how wildfire has become a serious public health…
Upside-Down Rivers Speed Polar Ice Loss
Upside-Down Rivers Speed Polar Ice Loss
by Tim Radford
Researchers move closer to understanding the invisible dynamics that drive the loss of polar ice shelves – but what it…