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Atmospheric Sciences & Global Change Division
Research Highlights

October 2006

International Workshops Focus on Equity of Geographical Representation in Climate Models

South America the first of many climate regions discussed

In 2000, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES), which contained a new set of emissions scenarios to replace those created in 1992, known as the IS92 scenarios. The new SRES scenarios combined Latin America, Africa, and the Mideast into a single region for a variety of reasons, including the lack of high quality input data and the lack of modeling capacity in these areas. Unfortunately, the resulting aggregate region has been noted by the modeling community as being too heterogeneous to represent any of the component regions in useful detail.

Portrait of Hugh Pitcher
Hugh Pitcher, from the Joint Global Change Research Institute, addresses meeting participants at the Latin American modeling workshop held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in September 2006.

Contact: Hugh Pitcher

To address this challenge, PNNL researchers Paul Runci and Hugh Pitcher from the Joint Global Change Research Institute organized and participated in an international energy modeling workshop addressing the need for improved representation of Latin America in national, regional, and global energy models. Held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 13-14, 2006, a major goal of the international gathering was to forge new connections among energy modelers within Latin America and between Latin American modelers and the broader international modeling community. Participants came from Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Austria, Germany, France, Japan, and the United States.

Ongoing growth in developing regions such as Asia, Latin America, and Africa, makes them increasingly important in efforts to address climate change and other global environmental challenges. This issue necessitates efforts to model these regions individually, and to represent them more accurately and in higher resolution in future scenarios. It also underscores the need for broader participation of experts from developing regions in global efforts to understand ongoing economic, social, and environmental issues that might facilitate the creation of better scenarios and projections for policy makers.

The workshop in Brazil was intended to serve as a starting point for further international collaboration among modeling groups, thereby contributing to more detailed and representative energy and greenhouse gas emissions scenarios in the future. A technical report of findings from the workshop will be distributed at the upcoming meeting of the Stanford Energy Modeling Forum, to be held in Tsukuba, Japan, in December 2006. Dr. Runci is also organizing a subsequent workshop to address current energy modeling of Africa. This workshop will take place in Pretoria, South Africa, in March 2007.

Photo of meeting
From right to left: Mark Heil, the EPA sponsor; Emilio de la Rovere, head of the local Brazilian meeting organizers; Paul Runci, meeting coordinator from the Joint Global Change Research Institute, and a host of other attendees listen carefully to the discussion at the Latin American modeling workshop.

These workshops are supported through funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Climate Change Division.


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