Introduction to Climate Projections

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Climate projections provide information on possible future climate changes.
Source: Susanne Kambor

Climate projections provide information about possible future climate developments. They constitute an important basis to gain information about climate impacts and possible adaptation options. Climate projections are the result of the application of climate models that are based on emission and concentration scenarios.

Table of Contents


For what are climate projections used?

Climate models are used to simulate possible climate developments on the basis of assumptions regarding future greenhouse gas emissions (emission scenarios) or their future concentration in the atmosphere (concentration scenarios). Climate projections are the result.

Uncertainties in the design of climate models and the formulation of the assumptions the scenarios are based on cannot be avoided. Thus, climate projections are not exact predictions of the future. In fact they are potential climate development corridors. By now, however, there are many ways of handling these uncertainties. These include, for example, the use of multi-model ensembles. No- or low-regret measures can be used when implementing adaptation measures.

Climate projections are important to assess possible climate changes and evaluate related risks and opportunities. Thus they contribute to the development and planning of adaptation measures for different sectors or regions. There are a number of different organisations that have already created regional climate projections for Germany. The promotion of model developments through various research programmes of the BMBF plays a prominent role in this context. These include, for example, DEKLIM, KlimaZwei and KLIMZUG.

Climate projections of the Federal Environmental Agency

In research projects, the Federal Environmental Agency and the Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) have created regional climate projections for Germany until the year 2100. The global climate simulations on which the climate projections are based were calculated with the global model ECHAM5 of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) in Hamburg. In the meantime, the model has been further developed by the MPI-M and is now referred to as ECHAM6.

For the regionalisation of the data calculated with the global model, the Federal Environmental Agency uses two basic approaches. These are the dynamic regional model REMO of the MPI-M and statistic regional model WETTREG of the company CEC Potsdam. REMO displays the dynamic processes in the atmosphere and WETTREG uses the statistical correlations of existing climate observations.

As part of the research programme KLIWAS, the BfG cooperated with the MPI-M and contributed another run with the dynamic model REMO. These data supplement the UBA data considerably. They give an impression of the internal variability of the climate system simulated by REMO. A third run was provided within the framework of the EU project ENSEMBLES.

The UBA and the BfG actively support research in the field of climate impacts. „KomPass - Climate Impacts and Adaptation in Germany“ provides interested users with the raw data of the model runs. After registration, the data can be used free of charge. More information can be found at the end of this text.


Which other sources for climate projections exist?

  • As a national meteorological service of the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Weather Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst, DWD) is responsible for the fulfilment of the meteorological needs of all economic and social sectors in Germany. In the German Climate Atlas (Deutscher Klimaatlas), the DWD presents possible future climate scenarios in a synopsis of the past and present climate. The Climate Data Center (CDC) of the DWD makes more climate-relevant data sets accessible. In addition, the DWD uses the German Climate Portal (Deutsches Klimaportal) to contribute to the consistent nation-wide network of climate service providers and users of climate information.
  • The Federal Institute of Hydrology (Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde, BfG) and the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie, BSH) collect basic information and develop climate projections for German waters. The BfG manages the national data centre and portal WasserBLIcK. It supports, inter alia, the Federal Republic of Germany with its international reporting obligations to the European Commission.
  • With the research programme KLIWAS, the BfG, BSH, DWD and the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute (Bundesanstalt für Wasserbau, BAW) created pioneering methodological bases for the development of climate projections for waters in Germany.
  • The Climate Service Center (CSC) collects current results from the climate system research and structures them for consumers. With the help of the climate navigator (Klimanavigator), the CSC gives an overview of climate-relevant research in Germany and climate change, climate change adaptation initiatives and actors.

Where can climate projections for individual federal states be found?

Regionally specific calculations of climate changes are also carried out at the federal state level:

The regional climate atlas Germany (Regionaler Klimaatlas Deutschland) which is provided by the Regional Climate Offices of the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft constitutes another information portal.



Availability of climate projection data

The climate projections of the UBA and the BfG are available in the climate database (CERA) of the World Data Center for Climate (WDCC). Information on the available data (metadata) are freely available and thus give a first impression of the structure and scope of the climate projection data. The data itself is also free and is made available after registration and signing a user agreement (see below).

Please note that the CERA database contains the model output in the form of ASCII data and netCDF format, respectively. This information is not available in the database in the form of regional patterns (maps) or as a representation of temporal profiles of climate parameters.

Terms of Use

The free use requires the signing of the Terms of Use and consent to the guidance for data users.

  1. Please fill in the Terms of Use, sign them and send them to the address below, either by email, fax or post:
    FG I 1.7 KomPass – Kompetenzzentrum Klimafolgen und Anpassung
    Postfach 1406
    06813 Dessau
    Email: kompass [at] uba [dot] de, Subject: Terms of Use
    Fax: +49 (0)340 2104 2835
  2. As soon as your information has been verified, you will receive a notification of approval and your access information. This is done in two separate e-mails.

Notes for users

The release of the raw data via the CERA database is free of charge. The WDCC and the MPI-M and CEC Potsdam are in charge of consulting on access and providing initial user information. Please note: Additional advice and services can be billed if appropriate. Requests can be submitted via the addresses provide for consultation purposes.

Nutzerinformationen zu den Modellen REMO und WETTREG