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Publication Date
18 July 2023

New Potential to Reduce Uncertainty in Regional Climate Projections by Combining Physical and Socio‐Economic Constraints

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We combine recently published constraints on climate sensitivity and socio-economic trajectories in a probabilistic framework to reduce uncertainties in regional temperature projections. The constraint on climate sensitivity leverages the fact that models that warm too much in the past also warm more in the future. The socio-economic constraint uses new science that shows how climate change and its impacts affect the socio-economic response via a negative feedback – the worse climate change gets, the more people are willing to do about it.


The combined constraints reduce regional climate projection uncertainty significantly, more than either constraint individually. Reduced uncertainties can aid in adaptation planning. This framework can potentially be extended to other variables, though it requires a link of those variables to global temperatures.


Projections of future climate change tend to have large uncertainties because we do not exactly know what humans will do and how the climate system will react to it. Here, we argue that we now know more about both of these things and that combining results from these different science disciplines can reduce uncertainties around future climate change. This will hopefully make it easier to plan adaptation to ongoing and future climate change.

Point of Contact
Flavio Lehner
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Funding Program Area(s)