Policy-ready projections: making climate models more useful to planners

Report / Paper

Policy-ready projections: making climate models more useful to planners

ORGANISER: Adapting to Climate Change in China
AUTHORS: Carol McSweeney, Richard Jones and Roger Street


April 2013

About the ACCC Project

The Adapting to Climate Change in China Project (ACCC) is an innovative policy research project, supporting China’s
response to the impacts of climate change and evidence-based adaptation planning. ACCC provides decision-makers with the policy –relevant information they require, taking into account current and future climate change and variability.

ACCC aims to improve understanding and assessment of impacts, vulnerability and risk in key sectors in China by
bringing together policy and research, national and subnational planning, social and physical science for an integrated response. The project shares this experience and lessons learnt with other developing countries in order to reduce their vulnerability to the impacts of climate.

ACCC does this by:

  • supporting evidence-based adaptation planning through access to relevant and robust data, tools and
  • information.
  • mainstreaming climate change adaptation policies into development planning.
  • producing comprehensive impact, vulnerability and risk assessments at the national and subnational level.
  • building capacity and providing technical support on adaptation responses at the subnational level.
  • sharing China's experience with other developing countries to enhance their own resilience to the impacts of
  • climate change.

For more information, please visit our website at www.ccadaptation.org.cn.

Key messages

Decision-makers need specific information about the range of climate futures we should prepare for. Since climate
models agree on global trends, but disagree on just how fast and intense the changes will be, combining multiple
models gives a fuller picture, deals with uncertainty and enables adaptation responses.

Vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning also require spatially detailed data — which means ‘downscaling’ global climate models to show future changes at higher resolution.

Downscaling doesn’t come cheap. But by using a carefully chosen sample of available models, researchers can
produce detailed climate projections covering a wide range of scenarios while keeping computing costs relatively low.

This briefing was prepared by Carol McSweeney and Richard Jones from the PRECIS regional modelling team at the Met Office Hadley Centre, UK, based on ongoing research as part of the Adapting to Climate Change in China project. Roger Street of the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) also contributed.