Ed Hawkins - Emergence of the climate change signal and sensitivity of historical climate simulations to uncertain aerosol forcing

Event type: 
19 August 2019
11.00am - 12.00pm

Climate Change Research Centre, Seminar Room, Mathews Building 4th floor, UNSW, Sydney

Dr. Ed Hawkins
University of Reading
Climate Change Research Centre

The role of anthropogenic aerosol forcing in driving historical climate variations is currently a topic of ongoing scientific debate, owing to large uncertainties in the magnitude of historical forcing due to anthropogenic aerosol. The computational cost of running climate model simulations has steadily declined in recent years, making it possible to run a large number of ensemble members designed to investigate the roles of internal variability and aerosol forcing in shaping surface climate variability. Here, we present results from a novel historical ensemble of simulations conducted with the HadGEM3-GC3.1 climate model for the period 1850-2014. In this ensemble, the anthropogenic aerosol emissions are scaled to sample a wide range in historical aerosol forcing. Multiple ensemble members sampling different ocean initial conditions are run for each scaling factor to enable the differences between the forced responses to be reliably estimated. As expected, a wide range of historical global mean temperature changes are simulated, depending on the aerosol scaling factors.


Brief Biography: Ed Hawkins is a climate scientist, professor at University of Reading and editor of Climate Lab Book, an experiment in open source science. His research focus on a range of subjects including decadal variability and predictability of climate, quantifying uncertainty in climate predictions and impacts and reconstructing historical records and data rescue. Ed is also very well know for developing some creative visualizations showing changes in the climate system including an animation of the Earth’s temperature record that ended up being used in the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics.