Climate change projections (CCPs) are based on the multimodel means of individual climate model simulations that are assumed to be independent. However, model similarity leads to projections biased toward the largest set of similar models and intermodel uncertainty underestimation. We assessed the influences of similarities in CMIP6 through CMIP3 CCPs. We ascertained model similarity from shared physics/dynamics and initial conditions by comparing simulated spatial temperature and precipitation with the corresponding observed patterns and accounting for intermodel spread relative to the observational uncertainty, which is also critical. After accounting for similarity, the information from 57 CMIP6, 47 CMIP5, and 24 CMIP3 models can be explained by just 11 independent models without significant differences in globally averaged climate change statistics. On average, independent models indicate a lower global-mean temperature rise of 0.25 °C (~0.5 °C–1 °C in some regions) relative to all models by the end of the 21st century under CMIP6’s highest emission scenario.
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ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Global and Planetary Change
- Environmental Chemistry
- Atmospheric Science