Climate model projections are commonly used to assess potential impacts of global warming on a breadth of social, economic, and environmental topics. Modeling centers throughout the world coordinate to apply a consistent suite of radiative forcing experiments so that all model outputs can be collectively analyzed and compared. Three generations of model outputs have been produced and made available to the scientific community through the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP): CMIP3 disseminated during the mid-2000s, CMIP5 during the early-2010s, and CMIP6 during the late-2010s. Twenty-first century sea-ice projections from CMIP3 and CMIP5 models have been used in Bayesian network assessments of how climate change could impact the future persistence of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) throughout their range. In this report, we compare sea-ice projections by CMIP6 models to those of CMIP5 models in each of four polar bear ecoregions over the 21st century. We evaluate differences between the two CMIP generations with respect to other sources of variability that affect uncertainties of the model projections: (1) variability from different models; (2) variability from different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios; and (3) natural (internal) variability in the earth’s climate system. We found that natural variability as well as that attributable to models dominated uncertainties in sea-ice projections in all months and ecoregions during the first half of the 21st century, while emissions scenarios dominated uncertainties during the late 21st century. By comparison, we found only slight differences between the CMIP6 and CMIP5 model projections of sea ice. Applying CMIP6 instead of CMIP5 sea-ice projections to the polar bear Bayesian network model developed in 2016, therefore, would not qualitatively change the population status outcomes published therein.
|Title||Comparisons of Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) and Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) sea-ice projections in polar bear (Ursus maritimus) ecoregions during the 21st century|
|Authors||David C. Douglas, Todd C. Atwood|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Open-File Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB|