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A slight change in the weather

2005-08-26

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC)

IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive objective open and transparent basis the scientific technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC does not carry out research nor does it monitor climate related data or other relevant parameters. It bases its assessment mainly on peer reviewed and published scientific/technical literature.

In 1992 IPCC released six emissions scenarios providing alternative emissions trajectories spanning the years 1990 through 2100 for greenhouse-related gases referred to as the IS92 scenarios. These scenarios were intended for use by atmospheric and climate scientists in the preparation of scenarios of atmospheric composition and climate change. In many ways the IS92 scenarios were pathbreaking. They were the first global scenarios to provide estimates of the full suite of greenhouse gases.

In 1995 the IPCC 1992 scenarios were evaluated. The evaluation recommended that significant changes (since 1992) in the understanding of driving forces of emissions and methodologies should be addressed. These changes in understanding relate to e.g. the carbon intensity of energy supply the income gap between developed and developing countries and to sulfur emissions. This led to a decision by the IPCC Plenary in 1996 to develop a new set of scenarios. The new scenarios where published in 2000 and now form the basis for world-wide research on long-term climate change and the possible consequences of it.

The scenarios

Future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the product of very complex dynamic systems determined by driving forces such as demographic development socio-economic development and technological change. Their future evolution is highly uncertain. Scenarios are alternative images of how the future might unfold and are an appropriate tool with which to analyze how driving forces may influence future emission outcomes and to assess the associated uncertainties. They assist in climate change analysis including climate modeling and the assessment of impacts adaptation and mitigation. The possibility that any single emissions path will occur as described in scenarios is highly uncertain.

While creating the scenarios four different narrative storylines were developed to describe consistently the relationships between emission driving forces and their evolution and add context for the scenario quantification. Each storyline represents different demographic social economic technological and environmental developments which may be viewed positively by some people and negatively by others.

The four storylines are labeled A1 A2 B1 and B2:

The A1 storyline is further divided into three groups A1FI (fossil fuel intensive) A1B (balanced) and A1T (predominantly non-fossil fuel). From this total of 3 + 3 = 6 groups a total of 40 scenarios have been developed.

Bjerknes Center for Climate Research

The Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research (BCCR) situated in Bergen is the largest climate research group in Norway. BCC is a joint climate research venture between the University of Bergen (UoB) the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC). BCCR is named in honour of Vilhelm and Jacob Bjerknes pioneers of modern meteorology.

Research at BCCR have a particular emphasis on the climate sensitivity and variability of high latitude regions and the role of the oceans in the climate system. The Bergen Climate model (BCM) is an important tool in this research. BCM is a global climate model that provides simulations of the Earth’s past present and future climate. BCM is a fully coupled atmosphere-sea ice-ocean general circulation model whose components can be run in a stretched orthogonal grid system mode particularly suited to describe the major atmosphere-sea and ice-ocean features of a chosen region of the high-latitudes. BCM is used for research in a number av areas model development climate variability and interactions climate sensitivity studies paleoclimate polar climate and climate change and assessment. Climate change simulations includes historical simulation of 1870 to present climate studies of present climate and various scenarios for the future including 21st Century IPCC scenarios.

This reseach is still in progress. Some simulation have been run others are still in be done. The three IPCC SRES scenarios that they do have data for at the moment are SREAS A1B SRES A2 and SRES B1. Although the model iterate in steps of 30 min. the data amount if all of this was to be stored are so large that only more compressed data sets are stored for further studies: montly-means values for a large number of parameters as well as daily mean values for selected periods (2046 – 2065 2081-2100). for these periods 6 hour resolution data is stored as well but htis has to be rolled from tape scripts be made to retrieve it etc. so they are not as easily accessible.

I’ve been granted access to some of their data and for Generator.x I’ll be climate data from 2046 – 2065 as input to drive the algorithms generating the sound.

 

The Generator.x project is a conference exhibition and weblog examining the role of software and generative strategies in current digital art and design.

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