Developing regional climate change scenarios for the South Pacific | The Meteorological Society of New Zealand

Developing regional climate change scenarios for the South Pacific

A. B. Pittock

The enhanced greenhouse effect introduces additional uncertainties into expectations as to future regional climates and their possible effects on the environment. The Climate Impact Group has developed a multi-pronged approach to reducing the uncertainties. This utilises a critical assessment of the results of global climate models (GCMs), limited area models (LAMs) in a stand-alone and in nested modes, paleo- and historical data and statistical techniques. Each of these approaches is illustrated from studies aimed at deriving regional climate change scenarios for Australia and from some preliminary analysis of information relevant to the tropical and subtropical South Pacific. Key issues for the South Pacific are variations in rainfall totals and intensity, tropical cyclones, the El Nino-Southern Oscillation phenomenon (ENSO), and sea surface temperatures. All of these variables will affect the islands in ways which will interact with, and possibly be more important than, average sea level rise.

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