The NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) Climate Model was developed for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The a1b scenario shown here assumes rapid economic growth, a global population that reaches 9 billion in 2050 and then gradually declines, the quick spread of new and efficient technologies, a convergent world - income and way of life converge between regions, extensive social and cultural interactions worldwide, and balanced emphasis on all energy sources.The temperatures displayed in this visualization are a comparison to temperatures in 2000. Blue tones on the visualization represent temperatures cooler than those in 2000, while red tones represent temperatures warmer than those in 2000. By 2100, the planet in this climate model is projected to increase temperature by 2-8 degrees Fahrenheit on average and is more dramatic on land than in the ocean.
Though this particular climate model is a bit outdated and projections are more conservative than in others, climate models are extremely important in order to glimpse future consequences for our current actions, specifically human carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Newer high-emissions-scenario climate models like the RCP or the CMIP6 expect CO2 concentrations to double and the temperature to increase, sometimes catastrophically.
Data visualizations are sometimes made for specific occasions like this one, created for the Deputy Director of the Global Systems Laboratory for “Big Picture Climate Change Air Panel” at the Longmont Museum.
In an effort to better visualize the future of climate change, the IPCC releases assessment reports on the current state of the atmosphere and what the future could hold. Models from various atmospheric and oceanic organizations are included in these reports in order to establish a broad understanding of the science. Data from three of the IPCC models following temperature change from 1870 - 2100 have been formatted for Science On a Sphere® Data Catalog where these images were sourced.
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