Outcomes of ISI-MIP Side Event

Posted by Lila Warszawski on June 19, 2013

Firstly, we would like to thank you all warmly for your indispensable input and enthusiasm during IMPACTS WORLD 2013 and especially the ISI-MIP side event! We were delighted that you were able to join us and hope that you agree that it was a productive and interesting meeting.

With this email we would like to provide you with a wrap-up of the decisions that were made at the side event in order to kick-start the next, longer-term phase of the project. The main points that were discussed are as follows:

1. General concept

ISI-MIP is intended to provide a framework to collate a consistent set of climate impact data across sectors and scales. This will serve as a basis for model evaluation and improvement, allowing for improved estimates of the biophysical and socio-economic impacts of climate change at different levels of global warming. It also provides a unique opportunity for cross-sectoral integration.

This includes the provision of input data through a central database (these datasets will be collated in close collaboration with all participants), the management of an output data archive, and assurance of consistency across sectors and scales with respect to data, format and modelling protocol. Having completed the first, fast-track phase, the second phase of ISI-MIP (ISI-MIP2) is envisaged to last approximately 3-4 years, starting now. It will consist of two major steps, each lasting approximately 2 years (ISI-MIP2.1 and ISI-MIP2.2). Depending on whether a given model has already participated in the fast-track phase or not, ISI-MIP2 will comprise the following steps:



Fast-track models

New sectors/models

Historical run → validation

Historical run → validation

Strengthening cross-sectoral integration (e.g. using the LU patterns generated by the agro-economic models within the water and biomes sector)

Run ISI-MIP fast-track climate data using existing protocol


Improved future simulations (in particular with regard to “extreme events and variability”) based on new RCP and SSP projections (improved bias correction, high resolution  regional climate projections (CORDEX), improved model set-ups based on ISI-MIP2.1)



2. Focus topic

"Extreme events and variability" was chosen as the focus topic for ISI-MIP2. It should therefore be ensured that the observational data sets used for the validation step include appropriate data to address the ability of models to reproduce extreme impacts or the observed variability (as far as that is possible). For ISI-MIP2.2 an iterative design is envisaged, where improved versions of the models (and the climate input) are used to provide future impact projections with improved representation of variability, and extreme events in particular.

3. Focus regions

The attached slide shows the set of chosen focus regions (marked as rectangles), which was developed in conjunction with participants prior to and during the Side Event. In these focus regions we will compare global and regional models as well as an integrating of different regional models. All participants running regional (i.e. below global-scale) models are asked to set up and run their models for as large a part of each focus region as possible, in order to obtain maximal spatial overlap with other models. The dashed rectangles mark optional regions which not all sectors may be able to cover but which include further biomes that are important especially for the forestry and biodiversity sectors.

4. Next steps (ISI-MIP2.1)

ISI-MIP2.1 will focus on model validation and is expected to last approximately 2 years.  During this phase we will provide a common global observational climate data set that should be used as input by all impact models from all sectors. In addition, appropriate observational data sets of impacts for each sector will need to be identified, against which the models can be benchmarked: both the observational meteorological data sets as well as the observational data set to which simulated impacts can be compared. Access to all these data will be provided through a central online ISI-MIP archive.

In addition, models that have participated in the fast track will be asked to run a number of new scenarios that will focus on enhanced cross-sectoral integration. These new scenarios will be developed in close collaboration with the sectoral coordinators (see below) and in consultation with all participating modelling groups. One particular scenario would be to drive the models from the water and biomes sectors with the land-use change patterns obtained from the agro-economic models in the fast-track phase.

Please not that  new models that are joining phase two should run the ISI-MIP fast-track climate data using the existing protocol (see www.isimip.org > Simulation protocol) in order to provide impact projections at different levels of global warming and to enable studies consistent with the existing content of the ISI-MIP archive.  For sectors that are new to ISI-MIP, these simulations will have to await development of a sector-specific protocol.

Apart from climate data, sector-specific additional inputs will also be specified in the protocol and harmonized across the sectors as far as possible. There will be no further harmonisation with regard to model settings. Modelling groups are asked to do the simulations based on their "default present-day parameter settings" (excluding adaptation as far as possible). As in the Fast-Track, simulations will allow for a quantification of “adaptive pressure” rather than impacts under various adaptation strategies.

The summary regarding the next steps can also be found on our website www.isimip.org.

5. Organization


The coordination team based at PIK will continue (depending on funding) as the cross-sectoral coordination team. However, to support the considerable increase in size and scope of the project, each sector will have one or more coordinators.

During the side event some of you already volunteered to be sector coordinators for the next phase. Thank you very much for your enthusiasm and help with the coordination of phase 2 of the project! The sectoral coordinators will be responsible for creating the sector specific parts of the protocol and we will be in touch shortly with more specific details.  In some sectors we are still looking for volunteers for the coordinator role (see the attached table for a full list).  Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you are interested in taking on this important role.


6. Protocol template


In the coming weeks we will send a modelling protocol template to the sectoral coordinators. The coordinators are then asked to create a draft protocol for each sector in collaboration with the modelling teams in that sector. Given that the focus of ISI-MIP is to develop a cross-sectorally consistent database of climate impacts, the ISI-MIP coordination team will then look over the protocols to ensure that there is consistency across the sectors.  Pending funding, there will be an opportunity to fine-tune the protocols at workshops towards the end of the year or early next year. There will be one final modelling protocol document, which will include all sectors.

7. Material from discussion groups

We have collected the written outcomes of the sectoral meetings on the Tuesday evening of the Impacts World 2013 conference (summaries and questionnaires that were completed). To inform everybody about the outcomes of the different meetings, and also to facilitate potential further discussion of some of the points raised, this material is now available through the ISI-MIP blog, which allows for interactive communication and comments: https://isimip.wordpress.com/ (see "Outcomes Side-Event IW2013" under Categories). If you were present at one of the meetings, feel free to add further explanation or send us corrections where necessary.


8. We all look great!

Last but not least, as promised you can find attached the ISI-MIP group photo which was taken by our photographer on the last day of the conference. We will place it on the ISI-MIP website.


Please note that you are now included in the ISI-MIP mailing list. Should you not wish to receive further ISI-MIP related information, please notify us and we will take you off the list.

If you have any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact isimip@pik-potsdam.de.

Again, many thanks for helping to create a successful and engaging event.

We look forward to working with you in the near future and enjoying a flying start to ISI-MIP2!