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  • Authors: The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium Publication Date: Apr 2015

    Two articles recently published in the peer-review literature seek to answer two related questions: What role could utilizing vegetation burning for energy, with methods to capture the carbon dioxide emitted, have in aggressive short-term climate mitigation in western North America? And, how might North American vegetation and its interactions with the climate change in the future?

    Addressing the first question in Nature Climate Change, Sanchez et al. (2015) find that western North America could attain a carbon-negative power system by 2050 through strong deployment of renewable energy sources, including BioEnergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), and fossil fuel reductions. Their results indicate that reductions of up to 145% from 1990s emissions are possible. They also find that the primary value of BECCS is not electricity production, but carbon sequestration, and note that BECCS can also be used to reduce emissions in the transportation and industrial sectors.

    Publishing in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Garnaud and Sushama (2015) examine the second question. In order to do this they downscale output from a global climate model using a regional climate model that can simulate vegetation dynamics. They find that the projected future increases to growing season length result in greater vegetation productivity and biomass, though this plateaus at the end of of the 21st century. Their projections also indicate an increase in the water-use efficiency of plants, but decreased plant productivity in the southeastern US over the 2071-2100 period. In addition, they find that accounting for vegetation feedbacks leads to increased warming in summer at higher latitudes and a reduction in summer warming at lower latitudes.

  • Authors: The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium Publication Date: Feb 2015

    Two recently published articles serve to answer two questions about the response of the Earth’s climate to carbon emissions. The first paper, by Goodwin et al. (2014) in Nature Geoscience, investigates the question of why transient surface warming on the timescale of decades to centuries, due to cumulative carbon emissions, is nearly-linear. They find that this is the result of the competing effects of the ocean absorbing both heat and carbon. While the former initially reduces climate sensitivity by drawing down heat, it then increases climate sensitivity as this heat absorption reduces. This is offset by the latter, as the ocean removes carbon dioxide from the air. The authors also find, in line with previous research, that increasing emissions lead to increased surface warming and that this warming will last many centuries.

    The second article, by Ricke and Caldeira (2014) in Environmental Research Letters, uses model output to analyze the response of the Earth’s climate to pulses of carbon dioxide in order to answer the question of how long it takes for maximum warming to occur due to a given emission. They find that the median time between such an emission and the maximum warming due to that emission is 10.1 years. Their results lead the authors to state that, “[o]ur results indicate that benefit from avoided CO2 emissions will be manifested within the lifetimes of people who acted to avoid [those emissions].”

  • Authors: The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium Publication Date: Dec 2014

    Recent research by P.A. O’Gorman (2014), in the journal Nature, uses an ensemble of global climate model (GCM) simulations to examine the projected changes in both mean snowfall and daily snowfall extremes in a high greenhouse-gas emissions scenario. He finds that, while both mean snowfall and extreme snowfall decrease as the climate warms due to the influence of greenhouse gasses, the reduction in daily snowfall extremes is smaller than the reduction in mean snowfall. O’Gorman suggests, based on a simple physical model, that this may be due to snowfall extremes occuring near an optimal temperature that is insensitive to climate change.

  • Authors: The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium Publication Date: Nov 2014
  • Authors: The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium Publication Date: Nov 2014

    In a recent paper in the journal Nature Climate Change, Meehl, Teng and Arblaster (2014) examine individual global climate model runs from models participating in the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) to see if any runs replicated the observed early-2000s hiatus in surface temperature warming. They found that those individual model runs that have Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) values that matched with observed values successfully simulate the early 2000s hiatus. Using data available in the mid-1990s, they also apply a recently-developed climate prediction technique that uses modern global climate models (GCM), initialized with observations, to make so-called “decadal climate predictions” and find that both the negative phase of the IPO and the surface temperature hiatus could be predicted with this method, using only data that was available prior to the hiatus.

  • Authors: The Pacific Climate Impacts Consotrium Publication Date: Nov 2014
  • Authors: The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium Publication Date: Sep 2014

    In a recent article published in the journal Nature, Kossin et al. (2014) use satellite data and reanalysis products to see if there has been a shift in the latitudes at which tropical storms reach their maximum intensity over the 1982-2012 period. The authors find that, globally, the latitudes of maximum intensity have shifted poleward, 53 kilometres per decade in the Northern Hemisphere and 62 kilometres per decade in the Southern Hemisphere. This trend of poleward migration is evident in all ocean basins, except the North Indian Ocean basin, in homogenized satellite and so-called “best track” data. Kossin and colleagues note that this migration is apparently linked to: (1) the absolute difference between wind speeds in the upper and lower troposphere and (2) potential intensity. These have both experienced changes that can be linked to the expansion of the tropics, which is thought to be due, in part, to anthropogenic causes.

  • Authors: PCIC & Pinna Sustainability Publication Date: Jul 2014

    To improve local understanding and manage the impacts of atmospheric river events, the B.C. Ministry of Environment commissioned work to summarize the current state of knowledge pertaining to BC on this topic and conduct a multi-agency qualitative risk assessment.
    In April 2013, scientists and researchers gathered in Victoria, B.C. to review and summarize the current state of knowledge on atmospheric rivers. As a result of their efforts, the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium and Pinna Sustainability produced this "Atmospheric River State of Knowledge Report."

  • Authors: Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium Publication Date: Jun 2014

    A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change, by Challinor et al. (2014) examines 1,722 crop model simulations, run using global climate model output under several emissions scenarios, to evaluate the potential effects of climate change and adaptation on crop yield. The authors find that, without adaptation, projected corn, rice and wheat production is reduced when areas experience 2.0 °C or more of local warming, with losses greater in the second half of the century due to larger changes in climate. Crop-level adaptations are projected to be able to increase yields by an average of 7-15% when compared to similar scenarios that do not utilize adaptation. Projections indicate that adaptation may be more successful for wheat and rice than for corn. Though less data is available on yield variability, Challinor et al. find that it is likely to increase.

  • Authors: PCIC Publication Date: Jun 2014
  • Authors: PCIC Publication Date: May 2014

    This Science Brief covers two papers by in the journal Atmosphere-Ocean, on future ocean conditions for British Columbia’s continental shelf. Using an ocean circulation model for the shelf, the authors find that surface temperatures may increase by 0.5 to 2.0 °C, seasonal surface salinity may drop by up to 2 PSS in some areas, and that Haida Eddies will strengthen, as will the Vancouver Island Coastal Current and freshwater discharges into coastal waters.

  • Authors: PCIC Publication Date: Feb 2014
  • Authors: PCIC Publication Date: Jan 2014
  • Authors: PCIC Publication Date: Dec 2013
  • Authors: PCIC Publication Date: Dec 2013
  • Authors: Hamlet, A.F., M.A. Schnorbus, A.T. Werner, M. Stumbaugh and I. Tohver Publication Date: Nov 2013
  • Authors: PCIC Publication Date: Nov 2013
  • Authors: PCIC Publication Date: Nov 2013
  • Authors: PCIC Publication Date: Nov 2013
  • Authors: PCIC Publication Date: Nov 2013