4.1 Overview of climate models for the Canadian North.

Lead Author: Elaine Barrow (CCCS/ECCC)

Contributors: Emilia Diaconescu (CCCS/ECCC) and Paul Kushner (University of Toronto)

There is an ever-increasing amount of climate model data available for download, and navigating the data sources and understanding the limitations of the data is a critical part of the decision-making process. This section outlines the most recent climate model experiments and the caveats to be considered when selecting climate model data for use in, for example, climate change adaptation applications. Much of the material in this section is based on Cannon et al. (2020), which provides a thorough background to climate model information and its limitations. One of the major recommendations for using climate model simulations is to consider multiple climate models and multiple emissions scenarios – known as ensembles. Table 4.1 summarizes the most recent climate model ensembles and provides information on the variables available for download, and links to webpages offering detailed descriptions of the data.

4.1.1 Climate models – GCMs and ESMs
The CMIP community designs the protocol for a wide range of climate model simulations, including the three basic types performed to assess climate change impacts - the pre-industrial, historical and future scenario simulations.
Table of climate model simulations
Table 4.1
4.1.2 Emissions scenarios – Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) and Shared Socio-Economic Pathways (SSPs)
The CMIP5 future simulations used a set of forcing scenarios known as Representative Concentration Pathways, or RCPs (Moss et al., 2010; van Vuuren et al., 2011).
4.1.3 Uncertainty
4.1.4 Levels of Global Warming
4.1.5 Obtaining actionable climate model output - higher resolution climate information
4.1.6 ClimateData.ca and other web portals