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National Climate Assessment: 21st Century Precipitation Scenarios

The National Climate Assessment (NCA) is a central component of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). Every four years, the NCA is required to produce a report for Congress that integrates, evaluates, and interprets the findings of the USGCRP; analyzes the effects of global change on the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, human health and welfare, human social systems, and biological diversity; and analyzes current trends in global change, both human-induced and natural, and projects major trends for the subsequent 25 to 100 years. A draft of the Third National Climate Assessment report is available on the Federal Advisory Committee website. The final report is slated to be released in 2014.


These visualizations show model projections of the precipitation anomaly from 2000 to 2100 as a percentage difference between the 30-year precipitation averages and the 1970-1999 average. The dates displayed represent the center of the 30-year average; so, the 30-year spans are +/- 15 years from the displayed dates. The percentages are computed as follows: 100% x ( (30-year span) - (1970-1999 span) ) / (1970-1999 span). Separate animations are shown for annual averages and for seasonal averages in the United States. Spring precipitation is displayed to demonstrate the strong drying signal in the southwest. Summer precipitation is displayed because of agricultural community interest. The other seasons are included for completeness.

The data are from fifteen coupled Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models (AOGCMs) from the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) CMIP3 multi-model dataset (PCMDI 2012). These models are CCSM3, CGCM3.1 (T47), CNRM-CM3, CSIRO-Mk3.0, ECHAM5/MPI-OM, ECHO-G, GFDL-CM2.0, GFDL-CM2.1, INM-CM3.0, IPSL-CM4, MIROC3.2 (medres), MRI-CGCM2.3.2, PCM, UKMO-HadCM3, and UKMO-HadGEM. In those cases where an ensemble of simulations was available from a particular model, only a single ensemble member was used.

These climate model runs use assumptions about possible future development patterns and scenarios of greenhouse gas emission rates. Two future scenarios are shown: B1 and A2.

  • In the B1 scenario, global environmental concerns are emphasized. B1 is a lower greenhouse emissions scenario.
  • In the A2 scenarios, future socio-economic development and regional issues are emphasized; and, worldwide cooperation on environmental issues is deemphasized. A2 is a higher greenhouse gas emissions scenario.

For each scenario (B1 and A2), five individual precipitation anomaly animations are shown for annual, spring, summer, fall, and winter periods. So, there are a total of ten individual animations:

  • B1 Annual (lower emissions annual outlook)
  • A2 Annual (higher emissions annual outlook)
  • B1 Spring (lower emissions outlook during initial growing season)
  • A2 Spring (higher emissions outlook during initial growing season)
  • B1 Summer (lower emissions outlook during growing season)
  • A2 Summer (higher emissions outlook during growing season)
  • B1 Winter (lower emissions outlook)
  • A2 Winter (higher emissions outlook)
  • B1 Fall (lower emissions outlook)
  • A2 Fall (higher emissions outlook)
There is also a mosaic of the six most important of these animations for comparison.
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Another multimedia item related to this story:
     National Climate Assessment: 21st Century Temperature Scenarios (id 4029)

Mosaic of annual, spring, and summer precipition visualizations    Mosaic of annual, spring, and summer precipition visualizations
Duration: 5.8 seconds
Available formats:
  1920x1080 MPEG-4   4 MB
  1280x720   MPEG-4   2 MB
  640x360     MPEG-4   998 KB
  1920x1080 Frames (Mosaic)
  1920x1080 JPEG         316 KB
  320x180     PNG           54 KB
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B1 scenario showing annual precipitation    B1 scenario showing annual precipitation
Duration: 5.8 seconds
Available formats:
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1920x1080 (12 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   846 KB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (B1 precip Ann cbar)
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   841 KB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (B1 precip Ann)
How to play our movies


A2 scenario showing annual precipitation    A2 scenario showing annual precipitation
Duration: 5.8 seconds
Available formats:
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1920x1080 (12 fps) MPEG-4   3 MB
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   994 KB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (A2 precip Ann cbar)
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   994 KB
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (A2 precip Ann)
How to play our movies


B1 scenario showing precipitation during March, April, and May (US spring)    B1 scenario showing precipitation during March, April, and May (US spring)
Duration: 5.8 seconds
Available formats:
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  1920x1080 (12 fps) MPEG-4   3 MB
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (B1 precip MAM cbar)
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (B1 precip MAM)
How to play our movies


A2 scenario showing precipitation during March, April, May (US spring)    A2 scenario showing precipitation during March, April, May (US spring)
Duration: 5.8 seconds
Available formats:
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  1920x1080 (12 fps) MPEG-4   3 MB
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (A2 precip MAM cbar)
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (A2 precip MAM)
How to play our movies


B1 scenario showing precipitation during June, July, and August (US summer)    B1 scenario showing precipitation during June, July, and August (US summer)
Duration: 5.8 seconds
Available formats:
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  1920x1080 (12 fps) MPEG-4   3 MB
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (B1 precip JJA cbar)
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (B1 precip JJA)
How to play our movies


A2 scenario showing precipitation during June, July, and August (US summer)    A2 scenario showing precipitation during June, July, and August (US summer)
Duration: 5.8 seconds
Available formats:
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  1920x1080 (12 fps) MPEG-4   4 MB
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (A2 precip JJA cbar)
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (A2 precip JJA)
How to play our movies


B1 scenario showing precipitation during December, January, February (US winter)    B1 scenario showing precipitation during December, January, February (US winter)
Duration: 5.8 seconds
Available formats:
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (B1 precip DJF)
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (B1 precip DJF cbar)
How to play our movies


A2 scenario showing precipitation during December, January, February (US winter)    A2 scenario showing precipitation during December, January, February (US winter)
Duration: 5.8 seconds
Available formats:
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (A2 precip DJF)
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (A2 precip DJF cbar)
How to play our movies


B1 scenario showing precipitation during September, October, November (US fall)    B1 scenario showing precipitation during September, October, November (US fall)
Duration: 5.8 seconds
Available formats:
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (B1 precip SON)
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (B1 precip SON cbar)
How to play our movies


A2 scenario showing precipitation during September, October, November (US fall)    A2 scenario showing precipitation during September, October, November (US fall)
Duration: 5.8 seconds
Available formats:
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  1280x720 (12 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  640x360 (12 fps) MPEG-4   1 MB
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (A2 precip SON)
  1920x1080 (30 fps) Frames (A2 precip SON cbar)
How to play our movies



Precipitation color bar: browns and tans are below zero to -25%, greens and dark teals are up to +25%
   Precipitation color bar: browns and tans are below zero to -25%, greens and dark teals are up to +25%



Available formats:
  1024 x 256       PNG       24 KB

Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?4028
Animation Number:4028
Completed:2013-01-08
Animator:Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC) (Lead)
Producer:Allison Leidner (USRA)
Scientists:Kenneth Kunkel (NOAA/NCDC,CICS-NC)
 Brooke Stewart (NOAA/NCDC,CICS-NC)
 Laura Stevens (NOAA/NCDC, CICS-NC)
 Anne Waple (NOAA)
Project Support:Andrew Buddenburg (NOAA/NCDC,CICS-NC)
Platform/Sensor/Data Set:Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3) (2000 through 2100)
Series:National Climate Assessment
Please give credit for this item to:
National Climate Assessment and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
 
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Many of our multimedia items use the GCMD keywords. These keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0

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