Questions for Breakout Groups and Other Discussions.

Structures of and questions for breakout groups are meant to foster greater interdisciplinary communication among the subgroups and to provide materials for attaining the goals of the workshop.

The goals of the workshop are to assess the needs for climate and other scenarios for global change research in the U. S. and to construct an action plan covering the next five years for creating a unified U.S. program of climate (and other) scenario development and distribution, and to create a prioritized research plan in support of this goal. Such research would include climate model development, prescription of certain climate model runs, development of useful (to decision makers and researchers) measures of uncertainty of future climate on relevant spatial and temporal scales, and advances in vulnerability analysis for various resource sectors. We may also provide recommendations for longer term research.

First phase: Wednesday afternoon - 3:30-5:30 p.m.: Mixed Breakout Groups

Each group to address questions regarding the intersections among the different subject areas in the mixed group Some questions are common to one or more groups.

I. Impacts, Climate, Uncertainty (ICU)
II. Emissions/Forcings Scenarios, Impacts, Uncertainty (EIU)
III. Emissions/Forcings, Climate, Uncertainty (ECU)
IV. Decision makers/resource managers, Uncertainties, Impacts (DUI)

Questions for these groupings:

Group I - I, C, U

1. How can we strike a balance between impacts needs for multiple climate projections/scenarios and climate modeler concerns regarding too many production runs of "limited" scientific interest to the climate modeler?
2. How do we incorporate uncertainties in climate scenarios for impacts use? How is this different from incorporating uncertainty in climate projections?
3. What aspects of climate models are the most uncertain? How can we develop plans for quantifying these uncertainties? Will improvements in the climate models themselves in the next few years likely reduce these uncertainties?
4. How can uncertainty analysis of climate models of varying degrees of complexity be mutually beneficial (e.g, can uncertainty analysis of simple models inform regional uncertainty analysis of AOGCMs?)
5. Can we advance the role of validation in quantifying uncertainty in climate projections/scenarios?
6. Are there any differences in the needs for uncertainty measures of climate projections/scenarios across different impacts groups (e.g., based on different spatial or temporal scale of concern)?
7. How do we start developing uncertainty analyses in impacts themselves - what do we need from uncertainty researchers to do this?
8. What impacts areas will never (or not for a very long time) become part of a fully coupled interactive earth-atmosphere system model? When would we (if we do) envision hydrologic impacts and ecosystem impacts becoming part of a complete earth-atmosphere system model?
9. What would we like to see as our capabilities in terms of climate and other scenarios for impacts assessment for the next US Assessment?

Group II - E, I, U

1. How do we move forward in quantifying uncertainty in emissions scenarios? How do we know when we have sufficiently covered the uncertainty envelope for emissions?
2. How do we move forward in quantifying uncertainty in other external forcing such as land-cover change? Fully coupled carbon cycle?
3. How can we further the development of quantification of uncertainties in impacts, what are the special requirements for this type of uncertainty analysis?
4. How do we put together the impacts and forcing changes related to impacts (e.g., ecosystem change as an impact and land-cover change as a forcing) in the next few years or does this remain a long-term research goal? Is it a desirable goal?
5. What discrete research steps would help us to move toward the fully coupled system, but still maintain the importance of the impact assessment (e.g. for water resources, ecosystems?)
6. What would we like our capabilities to be in terms of climate and other scenarios for impacts assessment for the next US Assessment?

Group III - E, C, U

1. How can we move forward in developing techniques to handle the propagation of uncertainty, for example combining emissions and climate model response uncertainties? Can we move to regional scales for some of these uncertainties, particularly in the climate system but also in regional forcings?
2. How can we advance in establishing uncertainties in climate model parameterizations?
3. How far can we proceed in the next 2-3 years in developing complete systems that include carbon cycling, land-use change and external emissions? Will this integration work remain in the research mode for the next few years or will we be able to move to a more applied , production mode?
4. How much can a SRES or other emissions scenario be changed before it is no longer 'correct' to associate a climate model realization driven by an earlier version of the scenario?
5. What would we like our capabilities to be in terms of climate and other scenarios for impacts assessment for the next US Assessment?
6. What other questions are crucial to attaining our research applications goals in the next five years concerning external forcing, climate modeling, and uncertainty? And answer them.

Group IV - D, U, I

1. What measures of uncertainty in future climate are most useful to decision makers for various resource systems and policy contexts (e.g. probabilistic forecasts, or other)? Does it vary with the resource system under consideration?
2. At what spatial and temporal scales and for what aspects of future climate do decision makers need quantification of uncertainty ? And also impacts researchers? Would measures of uncertainty regarding the impacts of climate change be useful for decision makers, in addition to uncertainty of the future climate - if so what kind of measure?
3. What effect does the time horizon of the decision making have on the needs for quantification of uncertainty regarding future climate (e.g. annual decisions for farming versus 30 or more year decisions for water resources?).
4. Do the types of future climate information needed and measures of uncertainty (for decision makers and impacts researchers) differ depending on the future time frame (e.g., next few decades versus 50 years, versus 100 years)?
5. What is the relative importance of uncertainty in the future climate versus uncertainty in other aspects of future society (e.g., demographics, technology) for the decision makers and for various impacts areas?
6. Would the role of climate become more important with a discernable climate change, compared to the current role of climate/weather in decision making?
7. What would we like our capabilities to be in terms of climate and other scenarios for impacts assessment for the next US Assessment?

Second Phase: Thursday Afternoon - 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.: Disciplinary Groups

I. Climate Modeling/Scenario Formation

· Presentation by Elaine Barrow on Canadian Climate Center climate modeling plans (10 min.)
· Presentation by Phil Duffy on high resolution time slice experiments (10 min.)

1. Discussion of advantages/ disadvantages of time slice versus regional modeling - (might have some impacts folks present for this)
2. Should we consider developing a program similar to the PRUDENCE program in Europe (simulations with multiple regional models over continental US using multiple AOGCM simulations for boundary conditions) ?
3. What will be the standard spatial resolution of production runs of AOGCMs in the next few years? How does this affect plans for time slice experiments or regional modeling?
4. What are the major global climate modeling groups willing to do in concert ? E.g., completion of the basic SRES climate runs - A1FI, B1, A1B, in that order of priority. What about landuse change experiments? Timeline for this?
5. What role should climate model evaluation play in the projection/scenario process? Do we have adequate datasets for the types of evaluation we want to do?
6. Building climate scenarios from changes in large scale oscillations - do we know enough from the climate models to attempt this? Also, do we have the techniques for this?
7. How can we advance techniques for scenarios of extreme events? E.g., storm surges, hurricanes? For scenarios of regional sea-level rise?
8. Should the US set up a climate scenarios development and distribution center, for example, at one of the climate modeling centers? How would this be desirable given that the Data Distribution Center of the IPCC already collects data from climate runs of the major modeling centers?

II. Impacts

· Presentation by Jonathan Patz on scenario needs for health impacts (10 min.)

1. How do we reconcile the needs for top-down assessments and vulnerability based assessments. How are vulnerability needs different from top down, particularly in regard to climate scenario needs?
2. How do risk assessment methods (including the threshold-for-impacts damage approach) affect the needs for climate scenarios?
3. Does the impacts community have the observed climate related baseline datasets it needs for conducting future assessments (e.g., was the VEMAP dataset adequate for most purposes? ). If not, what needs to be developed? Do we need to quantify uncertainty in these data sets?
4. Does the community have other appropriate datasets/scenarios (e.g. socioeconomic) it needs? If not, what needs to be done to develop them?
5. Do the types of climate (and other) scenarios need for impacts assessment differ depending on the the future time frame (e.g., next few decades versus 50 years, versus century) and is examining 100 years in the future far enough? (0r too far?).
6. How should a regional or topical study select scenarios?

III. Uncertainty (with a few Decision Makers)

1. Further discussion of uncertainty from the decision makers' point of view, if necessary. How does this affect the way we think about the statistics of uncertainty?
2. Spatial scale of uncertainty estimates - can measures of uncertainty on a global scale be at all useful for climate scenarios for decision makers?

· Presentation: C. Tebaldi - example of work on uncertainty measure incorporating model bias and projection convergence (10 minutes).

3. What techniques for developing uncertainty measures are available now? Where should research efforts be focused in the development of new techniques?
4. What is the most efficient use of ensemble experiments from AOGCMS?
5. Should products such as VEMAP be augmented to include companion uncertainty analyses?
6. What particular quantitative techniques would be useful for looking at uncertainty of extreme climate events and extreme impacts?
7. Do we need a more detailed workshop on quantification of uncertainty in the context of climate change?

IV. Emissions/other External Forcing

1. Will there be new emissions scenario work in the next few years that could feed into new climate projections? Within the context of the IPCC? Other contexts?
2. How do we integrate scenarios of land-cover change with emissions scenarios, for the next few years without a fully coupled earth-atmosphere system? How can we cooperate internationally on such an effort?
3. How far can we get in the next 2-3 years in fully integrating carbon cycling, landuse change, and external emissions to produce complete forcings?
4. Are there other external forcing factors that we should be considering?
5. What aspects of forcings most need to be refined? How can we do this?

Questions for Discussion about CCRI

What is the relationship between the long term goals of the CCRI and our action plan for the next five years?

How can we make the five year plan complementary with CCRI - perhaps act as
"vanguard" of CCRI?

Larger questions to be posed in full group discussion - Friday afternoon

How to proceed with creating a national unified program on scenario development and distribution in the US for support of US efforts in the IPCC and followup national assessments?

How do we get the US caught up on more conventional top-down impacts assessment techniques from the point of view of climate modeling, but at the same time get more caught up in more recent work emphasizing vulnerability, adaptation, and application of risk assessment methods?



Environmental and Societal Impacts Group
National Center for Atmospheric Research
PO Box 3000
Boulder, Colorado USA 80307
Tel: 303-497-8134; Fax: 303-497-8125

*NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

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