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Research Computing

Hadley Centre Global Climate Change Visualizations

Introduction

The Hadley Centre for Climate Research is a specialist group of the UK Met Office involved with ongoing research into global climate prediction. They have produced several climate models including HadCM1, HadCM2, HadCM3 and HadGEM.

Global Temperature Change for A1B and A2 scenarios

The goal of our work is to show their data in an easily understandable manner with enough visual impact to grab the attention of their audience at conferences such as the United Nations Conference of the Parties. The full model and simulation generates many variables including temperature, precipitation, river flow, wind, ocean flow, soil moisture and sea levels.

Background

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has previously issued the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios" (SRES) which examines future greenhouse gas emissions with scenarios derived from consistent sets of assumptions about:

Example Scenarios

Arctic sea ice change for A1B scenario

A1 Scenario - Rapid Convergent Growth

There are variants of this scenario: A1FI, A1B and A1T. The differences between A1FI, A1B and A1T and scenarios mainly cover the source of energy used to drive expanding economy:

A2 Scenario - Fragmented World

The A2 scenario describes a very heterogeneous world:

Goal of Visualizations

Our goal was to produce simple, effective and easily understandable animations and deliver the message with impact. The Hadley Centre then present the animations to research colleagues, UN affiliates and other politicians. For example they have been shown to the UK Government which helped persuade them to make policy changes.

Production

Interactive and then batch visualization processing is used to perfect and then create the large number of output frames. The final step composites and compiles them into common video formats e.g., DivX.

Latest Visualizations

Change of river flow for A2 scenario The latest work has produced animations for the following datasets:

Global Sea-Ice Coverage A1B and A2

These animations show March v September ice coverage. March is end of winter, when the Arctic Ice sheet is at its maximum and September is end of summer, when the Arctic ice sheet is at its minimum. It can be clearly seen that there is a dramatic reduction in size of ice sheets in both scenarios.

Global Temperature A1B and A2

These animations show temperature change up to 2099. The data peaks at around +15°C. For each scenario there are three rotating views focusing on a) the equator, b) the Arctic and c) the Antarctic.

Acknowledgements

The data and visualizations are printed with the kind permission of the Hadley Centre for Climate Research and the UK Met Office.