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date: 13 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on the use of Bayesian methods in assessing the probability of rare climate events, and more specifically the potential collapse of the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) in the Atlantic Ocean. It first provides an overview of climate models and their use to perform climate simulations, drawing attention to uncertainty in climate simulators and the role of data in climate prediction, before describing an experiment that simulates the evolution of the MOC through the twenty-first century. MOC collapse is predicted by the GENIE-1 (Grid Enabled Integrated Earth system model) for some values of the model inputs, and Bayesian emulation is used for collapse probability analysis. Data comprising a sparse time series of five measurements of the MOC from 1957 to 2004 are analysed. The results demonstrate the utility of Bayesian analysis in dealing with uncertainty in complex models, and in particular in quantifying the risk of extreme outcomes.

Keywords: Bayesian methods, rare climate events, meridional overturning circulation (MOC), climate models, climate simulations, climate prediction, emulation, Bayesian analysis, collapse probability analysis, GENIE-1

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