, Volume 109, Issue 1-2, pp 1-4,
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Date: 05 Aug 2011

A special issue on the RCPs

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Scenarios form a crucial element in climate change research. They allow researchers to explore the long-term consequences of decisions today, while taking account of the inertia in both the socio-economic and physical system. Scenarios also form an integrating element among the different research disciplines of those studying climate change, such as economists, technology experts, climate researchers, atmospheric chemists and geologists. In 2007, the IPCC requested the scientific community to develop a new set of scenarios, as the existing scenarios (published in the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios, (Nakicenovic and Swart 2000), and called the “SRES scenarios”) needed to be updated and expanded in scope (see Moss et al. (2010) for a detailed discussion).

Researchers from different disciplines worked together to develop a process to craft these new scenarios, as summarized by Moss, et al. (2010). The Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium (IAMC), founded in response to the IPCC