NASA has released data showing how temperature and rainfall patterns worldwide may change through the year 2100 because of growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere.
The dataset, which is available to the public, shows projected changes worldwide on a regional level in response to different scenarios of increasing carbon dioxide simulated by 21 climate models.
The high-resolution data, which can be viewed on a daily timescale at the scale of individual cities and towns, will help scientists and planners conduct climate risk assessments to better understand local and global effects of hazards, such as severe drought, floods, heat waves and losses in agriculture productivity.
Ellen Stofan, NASA chief scientist, said that NASA is in the business of taking what people’ve learned about their planet from space and creating new products that help us all safeguard our future, adding that with this new global dataset, people around the world have a valuable new tool to use in planning how to cope with a warming planet.
This NASA dataset integrates actual measurements from around the world with data from climate simulations created by the international Fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project. These climate simulations used the best physical models of the climate system available to provide forecasts of what the global climate might look like under two different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios: a “business as usual” scenario based on current trends and an “extreme case” with a significant increase in emissions.
The NASA climate projections provide a detailed view of future temperature and precipitation patterns around the world at a 15.5 mile (25 kilometer) resolution, covering the time period from 1950 to 2100. The 11-terabyte dataset provides daily estimates of maximum and minimum temperatures and precipitation over the entire globe.