The climate research community is requesting review comments on first-round component of new scenarios for climate research.

Scenarios play a key role in climate research. They are tools to explore possible uncertain futures, but also link across the different disciplines in climate research. Based on the overall framework laid out in a publication in Nature (Moss et al., 2010), the research community is currently developing a new set of scenarios that will update previous efforts. Assessing the costs and benefits of mitigation and adaptation requires information not only on emissions and the climate system, but also on possible future socio-economic change. Researchers working on Integrated Assessment and climate impacts have together developed a new framework for such socio-economic scenarios and have started to elaborate five possible pathways. These are referred to as Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs).

At this stage, the preliminary storylines about future change and quantitative scenarios for key drivers (population, urbanization and GDP) have been developed. Both are currently open for review. The storylines describe five possible worlds based on different challenges for mitigation and adaptation and have been developed during a series of workshops. The quantitative scenarios for GDP and population have been developed based on these storylines by new model runs using population, urbanization and economic models from IIASA, OECD, PIK and NCAR. Available data includes population by age, sex and education; urbanization and economic development on country level.

The population and GDP scenarios have been available for review since May and will remain open until August, 31 and can be found https://secure.iiasa.ac.at/web-apps/ene/SspDb/. The storylines are now open for review until September 15 and can be found at https://www.isp.ucar.edu/narratives-ssps-working-group.

Both elements form part of a larger process that is described in a framework paper (https://www.isp.ucar.edu/sites/default/files/Scenario_FrameworkPaper_15aug11_0.pdf). The framework is built around a matrix that combines climate forcing on one axis (as represented by the Representative Concentration Pathways) and socio-economic conditions on the other. Both the SSP storylines and quantitative information on drivers will form the basis of new model runs by integrated assessment models to also describe possible changes in energy, land use and technology.

Detlef van Vuuren – PBL (detlef.vanvuuren@pbl.nl), Elmar Kriegler – PIK (kriegler@pik-potsdam.de), Keywan Riahi – IIASA (riahi@iiasa.ac.at) and Brian O'Neill – NCAR (boneill@ucar.edu).