Understanding global climate change scenarios through bioclimate stratification

Andreas Soteriades, Dave Murray-Rust, Antonio Trabucco, Marc Metzger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite progress in impact modelling, communicating and understanding the implications of climatic change projections is challenging due to inherent complexity and a cascade of uncertainty. In this letter, we present an alternative representation of global climate change projections based on shifts in 125 multivariate strata characterized by relatively homogeneous climate. These strata form climate analogues that help in the interpretation of climate change impacts. A Random Forests classifier was calculated and applied to 63 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 climate scenarios at 5 arcmin resolution. Results demonstrate how shifting bioclimate strata can summarize future environmental changes and form a middle ground, conveniently integrating current knowledge of climate change impact with the interpretation advantages of categorical data but with a level of detail that resembles a continuous surface at global and regional scales. Both the agreement in major change and differences between climate change projections are visually combined, facilitating the interpretation of complex uncertainty. By making the data and the classifier available we provide a climate service that helps facilitate communication and provide new insight into the consequences of climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Article number084002
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2017

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