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How much information is lost by using global-mean climate metrics? an example using the transport sector

Lund, M.T. and Berntsen, T.K. and Fuglestvedt, J.S. and Ponater, M. and Shine, K.P. (2012) How much information is lost by using global-mean climate metrics? an example using the transport sector. Climatic Change, 113 (3-4), pp. 949-963. Springer. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-011-0391-3.

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Abstract

Metrics are often used to compare the climate impacts of emissions from various sources, sectors or nations. These are usually based on global-mean input, and so there is the potential that important information on smaller scales is lost. Assuming a non-linear dependence of the climate impact on local surface temperature change, we explore the loss of information about regional variability that results from using global-mean input in the specific case of heterogeneous changes in ozone, methane and aerosol concentrations resulting from emissions from road traffic, aviation and shipping. Results from equilibrium simulations with two general circulation models are used. An alternative metric for capturing the regional climate impacts is investigated. We find that the application of a metric that is first calculated locally and then averaged globally captures a more complete and informative signal of climate impact than one that uses global-mean input. The loss of information when heterogeneity is ignored is largest in the case of aviation. Further investigation of the spatial distribution of temperature change indicates that although the pattern of temperature response does not closely match the pattern of the forcing, the forcing pattern still influences the response pattern on a hemispheric scale. When the short-lived transport forcing is superimposed on present-day anthropogenic CO2 forcing, the heterogeneity in the temperature response to CO2 dominates. This suggests that the importance of including regional climate impacts in global metrics depends on whether small sectors are considered in isolation or as part of the overall climate change.

Document Type:Article
Title:How much information is lost by using global-mean climate metrics? an example using the transport sector
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Lund, M.T.CICERO
Berntsen, T.K.CICERO
Fuglestvedt, J.S.CICERO
Ponater, M.UNSPECIFIED
Shine, K.P.University of Reading
Date:August 2012
Journal or Publication Title:Climatic Change
Refereed publication:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:113
DOI:10.1007/s10584-011-0391-3
Page Range:pp. 949-963
Publisher:Springer
Status:Published
Keywords:global climate change, metrics, heterogeneousl temperature response
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics, Transport
HGF - Program Themes:ATM and Operation, Transport System
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics, Transport
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation, V VS - Verkehrssystem
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Climate, Weather and Environment, V - Verkehrsentwicklung und Umwelt (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Atmospheric Dynamics
Deposited By: Dr.rer.nat. Michael Ponater
Deposited On:23 Jul 2012 15:27
Last Modified:12 Dec 2013 21:43

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