, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 111-133

Evaluating GCM Output with Impact Models

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Abstract

This study uses empirical agricultural impact models to compare the U.S. climate change predictions of 16 General Circulation Models (GCMs). The impact analysis provides a policy-relevant index by which to judge complex climate predictions. National aggregate impacts vary widely across the 16 GCMs because of varying regional and seasonal patterns of predicted climate change. Examining the predicted impacts from the full set of GCMs reveals that the seasonal detail in the GCM predictions is so noisy that it is not significantly different from a constant annual change. However, a consistent regional pattern does emerge across the set of models. Nonetheless, aggregating climate change across seasons and regions within the United States, using a national-annual climate change provides a reasonable and efficient approximation to the expected impact predicted by the 16 GCM models.