Author Archives: Ed Hawkins

About Ed Hawkins

Ed Hawkins (twitter: @ed_hawkins) is a climate scientist in NCAS-Climate at the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading. His research interests are in decadal variability and predictability of climate, especially in the Atlantic region, and in quantifying the different sources of uncertainty in climate predictions and impacts. Ed is a Contributing Author to IPCC AR5 and a member of the CLIVAR Scientific Steering Group.

Hiatuses in the rise of temperature

“In the last few years the warming trend of the earth has stopped” is a common type of remark these days. Is that indeed the case, and can we conclude that the projections for the rest of the century are … Continue reading

Posted in observations, SSTs, temperature, variability | 14 Comments

Projected changes of precipitation and temperature extremes

Model projections of heavy precipitation and temperature extremes include large uncertainties. However, disagreement between individual simulations primarily arises from internal variability, whereas models agree remarkably well on the forced signal. Post based on Fischer et al., 2014, Geophys. Res. Lett.

Posted in extremes, precipitation, projections, temperature, uncertainty, variability | Leave a comment

The end of the rainbow

An open letter to the climate science community Ed Hawkins, Doug McNeall, David Stephenson, Jonny Williams & Dave Carlson Dear colleagues, This is a heartfelt plea.

Posted in communication, journals, visualisation | 15 Comments

Which colour scale is best for you?

Everyone sees colours slightly differently. With a multitude of colour options available to make complex climate-related maps & line-graphs, which do you choose? Which colour scale is best for you?

Posted in communication, visualisation | 12 Comments

The slowdown zoo

Investigations into the recent observed slower rate of global warming have largely been focussed on variability in the Pacific basin. Climate models also show similar slowdowns focussed in the Pacific (e.g. Meehl et al. 2011). But, is this the only … Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, temperature, uncertainty, variability | 13 Comments

Earth’s energy imbalance

Global surface air temperatures have risen less rapidly over the past 15 years than the previous few decades. The causes of this ‘hiatus’ have been much debated. However, just considering surface temperatures does not tell the whole story – a … Continue reading

Posted in communication, energy balance, GCMs, uncertainty | 15 Comments

Wet get drier (eventually)?

A prevailing paradigm of how rainfall patterns will change on a warming Earth is that the hydrological cycle strengthens causing wet regions to get wetter and dry regions to get drier. However, this is not always the case: Hawkins, Joshi … Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, precipitation, projections, uncertainty | 3 Comments

Visualising UK summer temperatures – what are the odds?

How will UK summer temperatures change in future? And, how might we best communicate the possibilities? This is a short post describing one effort in visualising the possible outcomes.

Posted in observations, projections, temperature, uncertainty, variability, visualisation | 7 Comments

Top-of-atmosphere contribution to unforced variability in global temperature

As the attention received by the ‘global warming hiatus’ demonstrates, global mean surface temperature (T) variability on decadal timescales is of great interest to both the general public and to scientists. Here, I will discuss a recently published paper (Brown … Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, observations, temperature, uncertainty, variability | 5 Comments

Getting a Comment published in Nature

After our recent Brief Communication Arising (BCA) was published in Nature on Mora et al., several people have asked about the process involved in getting such a comment published. Nature apparently only publish a small fraction of BCAs received and … Continue reading

Posted in journals | 3 Comments

More Mora emergence issues

A previous post discussed the recent Comment on Mora et al., which considered mainly methodological & statistical errors. However, the erroneous assumptions regarding uncertainty in the Mora et al. study have further implications for their results on population and income. … Continue reading

Posted in emergence, GCMs, projections, uncertainty, variability | 2 Comments

On Mora et al.’s Reply

Yesterday saw the publication of our Comment on Mora et al., along with Mora et al.’s Reply and an associated ‘News & Views’ piece. Although the Editors deserve credit for commissioning a News & Views piece on this exchange – … Continue reading

Posted in climate sensitivity, emergence, journals, uncertainty, variability | 17 Comments

Uncertainties in the timing of unprecedented climates

Back in October 2013, Nature published an analysis by Camilo Mora et al. which discussed when ‘unprecedented climates’ would emerge, with a focus on regions of high biodiversity. The paper was highlighted by Nature with an associated News & Views … Continue reading

Posted in emergence, GCMs, IPCC AR5, projections, temperature, uncertainty, variability | 11 Comments

The signal, the noise & the time of emergence

Temperatures have increased over most parts of the planet, but this signal is somewhat obscured by the random noisy fluctuations of natural climate variability. The year in which we can we detect the ‘signal’ of temperature change in the presence … Continue reading

Posted in emergence, observations, temperature, variability | 15 Comments

Improving the weather from 96 years ago

Ideally, we would have observations of past weather everywhere for several centuries to reconstruct the state of the atmosphere and learn about its variability. But, we don’t. Instead, all the observations ever taken would, ideally, be available digitally for everyone … Continue reading

Posted in observations, uncertainty, weather | Leave a comment

Predictable September Arctic sea-ice minimum?

Arctic sea-ice extent varies considerably from year-to-year, especially in the summer. Skillful forecasts of the expected extent could be valuable to a wide range of Arctic stakeholders. But, how predictable is the Arctic sea-ice extent in summer? And, can more … Continue reading

Posted in Arctic, predictability, sea-ice, variability | 4 Comments

When will we reach 2°C?

A change in global surface temperature to 2°C above pre-industrial climate is often used as a threshold for ‘dangerous climate change’. Although impacts will tend to get worse as temperatures increase, there is no clear evidence yet of such a … Continue reading

Posted in emergence, observations, temperature, variability, visualisation | 4 Comments

Demonstrating climate variability

Communicating climate variability has become an important issue with the recent slowdown in global surface temperature rise. Below are some examples of different aspects of communicating these issues, with a focus on regional spatial scales, but more examples would be … Continue reading

Posted in variability, visualisation | 11 Comments

Comments on the GWPF climate sensitivity report

Guest post by Piers Forster, with comments from Jonathan Gregory & Ed Hawkins Lewis & Crok have circulated a report, published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), criticising the assessment of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) and transient climate response … Continue reading

Posted in climate sensitivity, GCMs, IPCC AR5, observations, projections, temperature, uncertainty | 223 Comments

The cascade of uncertainty in climate projections

Climate projections have demonstrated the need to adapt to a changing climate, but have been less helpful (so far) in guiding how to effectively adapt. Part of the reason is the ‘cascade of uncertainty’ going from assumptions about future global … Continue reading

Posted in projections, temperature, uncertainty, variability, visualisation | 11 Comments

The future of the slowdown

Imagine it is 2031, and the IPCC is preparing to release its 8th Assessment Report. How does the recent slowdown in global mean surface temperature rise look? As this largely depends on how fast the climate warms from 2014 onwards, … Continue reading

Posted in observations, projections, temperature, visualisation | 25 Comments

The future of white Christmases

It’s December, which means the usual discussion as to whether or not it will be a white Christmas. You can even bet on it. But, how might these odds change in future? Are children going to know what snow is?

Posted in projections, variability, weather | 2 Comments

Updates to comparison of CMIP5 models & observations

As 2013 is nearly over, it is time for a short update to the comparisons of CMIP5 models and observations for global mean surface air temperatures. Part of the motivation for an update is the Cowtan & Way paper on … Continue reading

Posted in IPCC AR5, projections, temperature | 5 Comments

Effects of recent observed vs RCP forcings

The recent global temperature hiatus has been explained by the IPCC AR5 as partly due to natural radiative forcings (solar & volcanic effects) and internal variability. Recently, other effects such as CFCs and biases in the observational coverage have also … Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, projections, temperature | 4 Comments

Sources of uncertainty in CMIP5 projections

The recent IPCC AR5 includes a discussion on the sources of uncertainty in climate projections (Fig. 11.8, section, which updates previous analyses using CMIP3 (temperature, precipitation) to the latest CMIP5 simulations. The dominant source of uncertainty depends on lead … Continue reading

Posted in GCMs, IPCC AR5, projections, temperature, uncertainty, variability, visualisation | 13 Comments