Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
Geosci. Model Dev., 7, 433–451, 2014
Geosci. Model Dev., 7, 433–451, 2014

Model description paper 26 Feb 2014

Model description paper | 26 Feb 2014

PLASIM-ENTSem v1.0: a spatio-temporal emulator of future climate change for impacts assessment

P. B. Holden1, N. R. Edwards1, P. H. Garthwaite2, K. Fraedrich3, F. Lunkeit4, E. Kirk4, M. Labriet5, A. Kanudia5, and F. Babonneau6,7 P. B. Holden et al.
  • 1Environment, Earth and Ecosystems, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK
  • 2Mathematics and Statistics, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK
  • 3Max Planck Institute of Meteorology, KlimaCampus, Bundesstraße 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • 4Meteorological Institute, University of Hamburg, Bundesstraße 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • 5Eneris Environment Energy Consultants s.l., c/Duque de Alba 15, 3–6, 28012 Madrid, Spain
  • 6ORDECSYS, Place de l'Etrier 4, 1224 Chêne-Bougeries, Switzerland
  • 7Economics and Environmental Management Laboratory, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

Abstract. Many applications in the evaluation of climate impacts and environmental policy require detailed spatio-temporal projections of future climate. To capture feedbacks from impacted natural or socio-economic systems requires interactive two-way coupling, but this is generally computationally infeasible with even moderately complex general circulation models (GCMs). Dimension reduction using emulation is one solution to this problem, demonstrated here with the GCM PLASIM-ENTS (Planet Simulator coupled with the efficient numerical terrestrial scheme). Our approach generates temporally evolving spatial patterns of climate variables, considering multiple modes of variability in order to capture non-linear feedbacks. The emulator provides a 188-member ensemble of decadally and spatially resolved (~ 5° resolution) seasonal climate data in response to an arbitrary future CO2 concentration and non-CO2 radiative forcing scenario. We present the PLASIM-ENTS coupled model, the construction of its emulator from an ensemble of transient future simulations, an application of the emulator methodology to produce heating and cooling degree-day projections, the validation of the simulator (with respect to empirical data) and the validation of the emulator (with respect to high-complexity models). We also demonstrate the application to estimates of sea-level rise and associated uncertainty.