November 3, 2017 — The first volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) report, known as the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR), was released Friday, November 3rd, 2017 by the U.S. Global Change Research Program after years of writing and reviewing by experts from 13 federal agencies and the broader research community. Not only does the CSSR provide the most current and authoritative assessment of climate impacts in the United States, it also thoroughly leverages the important research contributions from the NOAA Research Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections Program (MAPP) Program’s Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 5 (CMIP5) Task Force.
From 2011-2014, MAPP organized the CMIP5 Task Force, which included over 30 scientists funded by the MAPP program to evaluate model simulations made as part of the CMIP5 experiment. The Task Force was led by Jim Kinter of George Mason University’s Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA), and co-led by Justin Sheffield (Princeton University at the time, currently at the University of Southampton), and Eric Maloney (Colorado State University). CMIP5 is the fourth series of coordinated experiments, overseen by an international panel, to evaluate differences among climate models in how they simulate and predict Earth system conditions to better understand climate change. The first CMIP experiments began in 1995 under the auspices of the World Climate Research Program.
After three years of funding, the Task Force made numerous scientific strides that advanced the knowledge of long-term climate outlooks in the North American region. The culmination of the group’s activities are prominently featured throughout the newly-released CSSR as a primary resource that supported regional analyses and key findings in the report.
The CSSR cites many studies from a Journal of Climate special collection, organized by the Task Force’s leaders in 2013. Containing 21 papers, the collection includes research evaluating the CMIP5 models and their simulation of North American climate and assessing different sources of variability, such as a natural pattern of alternating abnormally warm and cool Pacific Ocean temperatures, known as ENSO. The collection also includes three comprehensive papers summarizing the Task Force’s work. The papers in the special collection have collectively been cited over 1,100 times in the literature as of November, 2017.
Further emphasizing the scientists’ contributions, the CSSR also cites a report the Task Force prepared that assesses differences between phase 5 and phase 3 results from Coupled Model Intercomparison Project. The phase 3 output was included in both the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA3), as well as the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment. This report was the result of a sustained interaction between the Task Force and the leadership of NCA3, where the Task Force iterated with NCA3 leadership on a set of pressing questions about the CMIP model runs and applied their scientific findings to answering those questions.
The Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) Program is a competitive research program in NOAA Research’s Climate Program Office. MAPP’s mission is to enhance the Nation’s and NOAA’s capability to understand, predict, and project variability and long-term changes in Earth’s system and mitigate human and economic impacts. To achieve its mission, MAPP supports foundational research, transition of research to applications, and engagement across other parts of NOAA, among partner agencies, and with the external research community. MAPP plays a crucial role in enabling national preparedness for extreme events like drought and longer-term climate changes. For more information, please visit www.cpo.noaa.gov/MAPP.