EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Benchmark forecasts for climate change

Kesten Green (), J. Armstrong and Willie Soon

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: We assessed three important criteria of forecastability—simplicity, certainty, and variability. Climate is complex due to many causal variables and their variable interactions. There is uncertainty about causes, effects, and data. Using evidence-based (scientific) forecasting principles, we determined that a naïve “no change” extrapolation method was the appropriate benchmark. To be useful to policy makers, a proposed forecasting method would have to provide forecasts that were substantially more accurate than the benchmark. We calculated benchmark forecasts against the UK Met Office Hadley Centre’s annual average thermometer data from 1850 through 2007. For 20- and 50-year horizons the mean absolute errors were 0.18°C and 0.24°C. The accuracy of forecasts from our naïve model is such that even perfect forecasts would be unlikely to help policy makers. We nevertheless evaluated the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 1992 forecast of 0.03°C-per-year temperature increases. The small sample of errors from ex ante forecasts for 1992 through 2008 was practically indistinguishable from the naïve benchmark errors. To get a larger sample and evidence on longer horizons we backcast successively from 1974 to 1850. Averaged over all horizons, IPCC errors were more than seven-times greater than errors from the benchmark. Relative errors were larger for longer backcast horizons.

Keywords: backcasting; climate model; decision making; ex ante forecasts; out-of-sample errors; predictability; public policy; relative absolute errors; unconditional forecasts (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C53 O2 Q54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008-12-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-ene, nep-env and nep-for
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/12163/1/MPRA_paper_12163.pdf original version (application/pdf)
https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/12281/3/MPRA_paper_12281.pdf revised version (application/pdf)
https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/13592/2/MPRA_paper_13592.pdf revised version (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:pra:mprapa:12163

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Joachim Winter ().

 
Page updated 2024-02-06
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:12163