Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Statistical analysis projects future temperatures in North America

Ohio State Research: For the first time, researchers have been able to combine different climate models using spatial statistics - to project future seasonal temperature changes in regions across North America. They performed advanced statistical analysis on two different North American regional climate models and were able to estimate projections of temperature changes for the years 2041 to 2070, as well as the certainty of those projections.

The analysis, developed by statisticians at Ohio State University, examines groups of regional climate models, finds the commonalities between them, and determines how much weight each individual climate projection should get in a consensus climate estimate.

...Given the complexity and variety of climate models produced by different research groups around the world, there is a need for a tool that can analyze groups of them together, explained Noel Cressie, professor of statistics and director of Ohio State’s Program in Spatial Statistics and Environmental Statistics.

...“One of the criticisms from climate-change skeptics is that different climate models give different results, so they argue that they don’t know what to believe,” he said. “We wanted to develop a way to determine the likelihood of different outcomes, and combine them into a consensus climate projection. We show that there are shared conclusions upon which scientists can agree with some certainty, and we are able to statistically quantify that certainty.”

...Cressie cautioned that this first study is based on a combination of a small number of models. Nevertheless, he continued, the statistical computations are scalable to a larger number of models. The study shows that climate models can indeed be combined to achieve consensus, and the certainty of that consensus can be quantified....

Alfred Bierstadt's "Sunrise at Glacier Station"

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