Climatic Change

, Volume 122, Issue 3, pp 415–429 | Cite as

Climate and socio-economic scenarios for climate change research and assessment: reconciling the new with the old

  • Detlef P. van VuurenEmail author
  • Timothy R. Carter


A suggestion for mapping the SRES illustrative scenarios onto the new scenarios framework of representative concentration pathways (RCPs) and shared socio-economic pathways (SSPs) is presented. The mapping first compares storylines describing future socio-economic developments for SRES and SSPs. Next, it compares projected atmospheric composition, radiative forcing and climate characteristics for SRES and RCPs. Finally, it uses the new scenarios matrix architecture to match SRES scenarios to combinations of RCPs and SSPs, resulting in four suggestions of suitable combinations, mapping: (i) an A2 world onto RCP 8.5 and SSP3, (ii) a B2 (or A1B) world onto RCP 6.0 and SSP2, (iii) a B1 world onto RCP 4.5 and SSP1, and (iv) an A1FI world onto RCP 8.5 and SSP5. A few other variants are also explored. These mappings, though approximate, may assist analysts in reconciling earlier scenarios with the new scenario framework.


Representative Concentration Pathway Surface Ozone Climate Change Research Mitigation Scenario SRES Scenario 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful to Dr Michael Prather for helpful advice on comparing SRES and RCP representations of atmospheric composition and radiative forcing, Dr. Michiel Schaeffer for providing MAGICC-6 model output, and to three anonymous reviewers for their most insightful and constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment AgencyBilthovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of GeosciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)Climate Change ProgrammeHelsinkiFinland

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