Long Term Climate Outlooks

Providing accurate and reliable regional-scale long-term outlooks of climate variability and change will be a crucial element in NOAA’s efforts to help the nation respond to climate-driven societal challenges. Uncertainties in regional climate change projections based on state-of the art modeling tools and approaches need to be carefully evaluated. Findings from such research activities will guide the development and provision of best objective regional predictions and projections for impact studies and stake-holder use. The analysis of model performance for past climate needs to be considered when developing projections. Such analyses also help to guide future model development.

The MAPP Program broadly aims at evaluating uncertainties in the long-term (decadal) prediction and projection of twenty-first century climate over North America based on the modeling tools and approaches in use for the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the IPCC, largely based on the analysis of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project - Phase 5 (CMIP5) experiments. Research (funded FY11-FY13) is carried out by the MAPP CMIP5 Task Force and includes:

  • The evaluation of CMIP5 models based on 20th century simulations and understanding of basic model strengths and limitations in reference to modeling North American phenomena. This aims at informing both the CMIP5 user community and the modeling centers that ran the CMIP5 simulations.
  • CMIP5 Task Force leadership organized a Journal of Climate "CMIP5 special collection on North American climate" which includes CMIP5-based studies on North American climate and relevant global climate phenomena like ENSO, MJO, Arctic Oscillation that affect North America. Twenty-one papers from CMIP5 Task Force investigators are included in the Special Collection. Please visit the Papers Submitted for Publication page to view the papers that have been accepted. Three overview papers were prepared for the Special Collection summarizing the work of the CMIP5 Task Force investigators.
  • Development of climate projections for North America based on the CMIP5 multi-model ensemble, with characterization of uncertainties. This aims at informing assessments of future change, primarily the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report and National Climate Assessment

The MAPP program, in conjunction with the USGCRP Interagency Group on Integrative Modeling, played a central role in organizing a workshop on CMIP, which took place in College Park, MD in the Fall of 2013. Task Force members presented their results for North America at the meeting.


Climate Program Office
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Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2017, the United States experienced a record-tying 16 climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 362 lives, and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted, costing more than $306 billion. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.