A major conundrum in climate science is how to account for dependence between climate models. This complicates interpretation of probabilistic projections derived from such models. Here we show that this problem can be addressed using a novel method to test multiple non-exclusive hypotheses, and to make predictions under such hypotheses. We apply the method to probabilistically estimate the level of global warming needed for a September ice-free Arctic, using an ensemble of historical and representative concentration pathway 8.5 emissions scenario climate model runs. We show that not accounting for model dependence can lead to biased projections. Incorporating more constraints on models may minimize the impact of neglecting model non-exclusivity. Most likely, September Arctic sea ice will effectively disappear at between approximately 2 and 2.5 K of global warming. Yet, limiting the warming to 1.5 K under the Paris agreement may not be sufficient to prevent the ice-free Arctic.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)