With the target of limiting global warming to 2ºC increasingly difficult to achieve, policymakers, businesses and other decision-makers need to plan to adapt to changes in climate under higher levels of global warming. This requires coherent information on the future climate conditions, and the consequences of different adaptation actions.
While a vast array of projections, scenarios and estimates of future climate change and its impacts already exists, much is conflicting, unclear, of unknown levels of certainty and difficult to use to inform decisions. HELIX addresses this by providing a clear, coherent, internally-consistent view of a manageable number of “future worlds” under higher levels of global warming reached under a range of circumstances, supported by advice on which aspects are more certain and which less certain.
The specific objectives of HELIX are:
1. To develop and deliver four coherent, internally-consistent global scenarios of the combined natural and human world at 4ºC global warming. The focus will be on land and coastal impacts and their socio-economic consequences: food, water and energy security, coastal and river flooding, infrastructure, ecosystems and biodiversity, health, migration, and risk of conflict.
2. To develop and deliver two further such scenarios of the world at 6ºC by 2100, again with and without pro-active adaptation, and a further two scenarios at 2ºC for comparison.
3. To provide additional detail for focus regions of Europe, northern sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, with active contribution from stakeholder groups and decision-makers in the regions.
4. To provide a reliable assessment of confidence in the different components of these scenarios based on a comprehensive assessment of uncertainties throughout the different component of the projections.
5. To ensure the research addresses the needs of decision-makers, through both its implementation and communication.
Role of SMHI
SMHI leads HELIX WP3 on Provision of dynamically downscaled data for the SWL (specific warming levels) timeslices over Europe. As a complement to the high-resolution AGCM simulations, in this task SMHI will obtain and disseminate dynamically-downscaled data over Europe for a selected set of the CMIP5 projections used to supply SSTs and SIC for the high-resolution global AGM simulations, to support detailed regional impact assessment in phase 2 of HELIX.
SMHI is also contributing to HELIX’s Engagement and Communication, through: participation in meetings with stakeholders, key research users and decision makers to ensure that the research meets their needs; and co-organization of early-career scientists engagement training.
The project is led by Professor Richard Betts, University of Exeter (UK). HELIX brings together researchers from 10 EU countries, and also from Bangladesh, India, Kenya and Senegal. The complete list of project partners can be found.
HELIX is a European Union FP7 Project funded under the program ENV.2013.6.1-3 Impacts of higher-end scenarios (global average warming > 2 °C with respect to pre-industrial level) under grant agreement No 603864.
HELIX will run from November 2013 to October 2017.