Climate Dynamics

, Volume 39, Issue 7–8, pp 1981–1998 | Cite as

Can model weighting improve probabilistic projections of climate change?



Recently, Räisänen and co-authors proposed a weighting scheme in which the relationship between observable climate and climate change within a multi-model ensemble determines to what extent agreement with observations affects model weights in climate change projection. Within the Third Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3) dataset, this scheme slightly improved the cross-validated accuracy of deterministic projections of temperature change. Here the same scheme is applied to probabilistic temperature change projection, under the strong limiting assumption that the CMIP3 ensemble spans the actual modeling uncertainty. Cross-validation suggests that probabilistic temperature change projections may also be improved by this weighting scheme. However, the improvement relative to uniform weighting is smaller in the tail-sensitive logarithmic score than in the continuous ranked probability score. The impact of the weighting on projection of real-world twenty-first century temperature change is modest in most parts of the world. However, in some areas mainly over the high-latitude oceans, the mean of the distribution is substantially changed and/or the distribution is considerably narrowed. The weights of individual models vary strongly with location, so that a model that receives nearly zero weight in some area may still get a large weight elsewhere. Although the details of this variation are method-specific, it suggests that the relative strengths of different models may be difficult to harness by weighting schemes that use spatially uniform model weights.


Climate change Temperature change Climate projection Probability Weighting Cross-validation CMIP3 



We acknowledge the modeling groups, the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) and the WCRP’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling (WGCM) for their roles in making available the WCRP CMIP3 multi-model dataset. Support of this dataset is provided by the Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy. We also acknowledge the two reviewers for their thoughtful comments. This research has been supported by the Academy of Finland (decision 127239).

Supplementary material

382_2011_1217_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1.48 mb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of HelsinkiFinland

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