Why CMIP6 Data Matters


Many businesses understand the principle of having high quality inputs to achieve high quality outputs. This is just as true when it comes to accurate climate data. 

The Climate Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) provides the latest and most advanced climate projections, offering valuable insights for strategic decision-making and risk management. In this blog post, we will explore what CMIP6 data is and why it is important for any organisation

What is CMIP6 Data?

CMIP6, or the Climate Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6, is a collaborative effort involving climate modelling centres, research institutions and scientists from around the world. It is coordinated by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), which is a partnership of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the International Science Council (ISC), and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO.

The goal of CMIP is to improve our understanding of climate change and future climate scenarios by providing a framework for coordinating climate model experiments. Each phase of CMIP builds upon the previous one, incorporating the latest advancements in climate science, computational capabilities, and modelling techniques.

CMIP6 was initiated in 2015 and has since involved numerous modelling groups and researchers working together to develop and run a wide range of climate models, simulating different aspects of the Earth's climate system. These models are then compared and analysed to assess their performance, identify uncertainties, and improve our understanding of climate processes and projections.

What Sets CMIP6 Apart From its Predecessors

CMIP6 is a significant improvement on its predecessors as it allows for a better understanding of the Earth's climate system and improved projections of future climate. This improvement is particularly important for businesses seeking to make informed decisions about climate-related risks and opportunities. We outline the key improvements here:

  • Higher Spatial Resolution - CMIP6 models boast a higher spatial resolution than previous versions, allowing for more detailed simulations of regional and local climate phenomena. This increased resolution is particularly useful for businesses operating in regions with complex topography or coastlines, where local climate variations may have significant implications for operations, supply chains, and infrastructure planning.

  • Improved Representation of Biogeochemical Cycles - CMIP6 models feature a more sophisticated representation of biogeochemical cycles, such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. These improvements enable a better understanding of the interactions between the climate system and the Earth's ecosystems, leading to more accurate projections of climate change impacts on agriculture, water resources, and other sectors that depend on natural systems.

  • Inclusion of Human and Natural Forcings - CMIP6 models incorporate both human-induced and natural forcings, such as greenhouse gas emissions, aerosols, and volcanic eruptions. This comprehensive approach allows for a more accurate representation of the factors driving climate change and enables businesses to assess the potential impacts of various climate change mitigation and adaptation scenarios.

  • Enhanced Cloud and Precipitation Processes - Clouds and precipitation play a critical role in the Earth's climate system, influencing temperature, radiation, and the hydrological cycle. CMIP6 models feature improved representations of cloud and precipitation processes, leading to more accurate projections of regional precipitation patterns and extreme weather events. This information is crucial for businesses seeking to understand and prepare for climate-related risks such as flooding and drought.

  • Integration of Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) and Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) - CMIP6 models utilise SSPs and RCPs, which outline various future climate scenarios based on different socioeconomic developments and greenhouse gas emission trajectories. This integration enables businesses to explore a range of possible climate futures, ensuring that their climate risk assessments and adaptation strategies are robust and flexible.

CMIP6 forms the backbone for climate change modelling, with a growing number of countries now developing their own national datasets, and an increasing number of complementary datasets relating to the availability of resources such as freshwater, and economic sectors such as agriculture.

With all these improvements, any organisation that incorporates CMIP6 and other datasets into their climate strategies will better understand and prepare for the challenges posed by climate change, ensuring continued success in an increasingly climate-sensitive world.

In our next post, we will explain how Susteer takes this data and uses it to enable organisations to make the best decisions possible. If you are looking for specific data and best-practices, you can contact our team via our form and organise a demonstration of how CRAAT utilises this data for businesses across the globe.