by William O'Keefe and Jeff Kueter
July 01, 2004
Concern about potential human impacts on the climate system has generated interest in predicting future climate and focused public attention on climate models -- the tools used to make such predictions. Based on our understanding of the climates of the last century, it is reasonable to assume that climate may be predicable for a few decades into the future but unpredictable centuries into the future. Faced with the inability to predict future climate, climate modelers fall back to projecting climate scenarios. A climate scenario is the output of a climate model calculation, and by definition, is no better than the quality of the input data and model. Caution is required when dealing with these scenarios' uncertain results.