I was alerted to a meeting for the upcoming December 2011 AGU meeting. After presenting the session title and abstract, and I have some comments. The meeting is titled Regional Climate Prediction Session with the following announcement
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2011 13:59:17 -0600
From: James Done (of UCAR)
We invite you to submit abstracts to our session on Regional Climate Prediction at High Resolution at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, 5-9 Dec 2011, San Francisco, CA.
http://sites.agu.org/fallmeeting/ Abstract Deadline: 4th Aug.
GC09: Regional Climate Modeling 3. Regional Climate Prediction at High Resolution
Sponsor: Global Environmental Change (GC)
Co-Sponsor(s): Atmospheric Sciences (A), Earth and Space Science
Informatics (IN), Public Affairs (PA)
1. Greg Holland, NCAR
2. Howard Kunreuther, Wharton, University of Pennsylvania
3. William Skamarock, NCAR
Regional climate predictions at high resolution and decadal time scales are needed by industry, government and society to enable sufficient understanding and mitigate future costs and disruptions. This exciting session will present the latest scientific results and applications in high resolution climate prediction. Presentations are invited on: predictions of regional climate and high-impact weather statistics on decadal time scales, including uncertainty; coupled data assimilation for regional coupled prediction systems; coupled regional Earth system processes; statistical downscaling, and societal decision support tools. This session will stimulate interaction between diverse areas of expertise and promote novel collaboration.
My comments on this announcement follow:
First, as outlined on my weblog; e.g. see
and in our paper
Pielke Sr., R.A., R. Wilby, D. Niyogi, F. Hossain, K. Dairuku, J. Adegoke, G. Kallos, T. Seastedt, and K. Suding, 2011: Dealing with complexity and extreme events using a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability perspective. AGU Monograph on Complexity and Extreme Events in Geosciences, in press.
there has been NO demonstrated multi-decadal climate regional predictive skill. Unless the AGU session is going to present papers that introduce evidence of this skill the portion of their session which is on
“….predictions of regional climate and high-impact weather statistics on decadal time scales, including uncertainty…”
is not only worthless but will be misleading policymakers.
Second, their statement that
‘Regional climate predictions at high resolution and decadal time scales are needed by industry, government and society to enable sufficient understanding and mitigate future costs and disruptions”
is certainly a desirable goal, the presentation of regional decadal climate predictions as skillful is invalid. What is missing from their session is the need to introduce a new framework to provide estimates of risk on this time scale. We proposed such an approach in our Pielke et al 2011 paper where we wrote
“We discuss the adoption of a bottom-up, resource–based vulnerability approach in evaluating the effect of climate and other environmental and societal threats to societally critical resources. This vulnerability concept requires the determination of the major threats to local and regional water, food, energy, human health, and ecosystem function resources from extreme events including climate, but also from other social and environmental issues. After these threats are identified for each resource, then the relative risks can be compared with other risks in order to adopt optimal preferred mitigation/adaptation strategies.
This is a more inclusive way of assessing risks, including from climate variability and climate change than using the outcome vulnerability approach adopted by the IPCC. A contextual vulnerability assessment, using the bottom-up, resource-based framework is a more inclusive approach for policymakers to adopt effective mitigation and adaptation methodologies to deal with the complexity of the spectrum of social and environmental extreme events that will occur in the coming decades, as the range of threats are assessed, beyond just the focus on CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases as emphasized in the IPCC assessments.”
The 2011 AGU session talks on regional climate prediction at high resolution on decadal time scale will be scientifically flawed if they do not present how they can claim prediction skill on that time scale, and if they do not also consider a bottom-up, resource-based focus which is what is actually needed for
“…..industry, government and society to enable sufficient understanding [to] mitigate future costs and disruptions”.