Let's assume that the climate change won't be prevented. I'm looking for a guide to show how the climate change will affect different countries.

Specifically, I'm interested in comparing following countries:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Panama
  3. Chile
  4. Uruguay
  5. Malaysia
  6. Ukraine

I'm looking for a guide which would combine as many known factors as possible, like sea level rise, ocean acidification, impact of climate change on agriculture (Ukraine) or growing forests (Panama), fisheries (Chile) etc etc.

There is some basic information here, but I feel that this index is too basic, and doesn't give any idea about concrete dangers faced by each country in the list

Can anyone recommend to me a source which can be used to imagine the future as vividly as possible for each country in question? I am interested in the estimates for the next 300 years

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The 5th assessment report of the IPCC (AR5) gives an overview over the impact of climate change. However, I think the impacts are only estimated until 2100. The assessment consist of four individual reports: "physical impacts", "Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability", "Mitigation of Climate Change", and "Sythesis Report". Reports 1 and 2 might be most interesting for you. The results are not given for each country but for each continent or sub-continent. General: The uncertainty in the model estimates for the next 100 year is high. For 300 years ... . $\endgroup$ – daniel.neumann Jul 3 '16 at 21:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Could you indicate for which purpose you need the data und in what ... let's say 'scientific depth'? Are you looking for a type of "climate change impact index"? Do you want to create one or are you looking for an existing one? $\endgroup$ – daniel.neumann Jul 3 '16 at 22:02

There's a fair bit of unknowns for what you're asking, 300 years and specifics. For one, climate change modeling is based off CO2 levels and CO2 levels long term are difficult to predict. That's why they run hundreds of models, each with different circumstances. Nobody can make an accurate assessment of mankind's CO2 output will be 50 or 100 years so the further out you go the greater the unknowns. Targets are being set for 2050, but whether they will be reached is a big unknown and I've never seen anything that goes for 300 years. Most of the models run till 2100.

Some Unknowns:

  • Will CO2 PPM peak at 500 or 600 or higher? Will it fall below 400 in 100 years?
  • Will the oceans continue to absorb CO2 or will they warm to the point where they stop.

  • Will the North Atlantic current stop or weaken? That would have an enormous effect on European climate.

  • Will large chunks of ice break off or will the ice sheets remain
    mostly intact?

These are impossible things to predict with any accuracy and they significantly effect the outcomes you've asked for.

Smaller effects, such as whether the Sun will enter an extended solar minimum or whether we have a big volcanic eruption like the one in 1815 (which would slow things down for 5-10 years, but wouldn't have a significant long term effect). Other questions are whether parts of the Earth can be greened, artificially, which might not measurably slow down the warming but it could ease the effects of drought in some areas.

Bottom line is that "basic" predictions might be just as good as detailed because of all the unknowns. A few aspects are pretty straight forward, like knowing the effect of 1 foot of sea level rise, but predicting how fast the oceans will rise 1 foot is very difficult. The effects of ocean acidity and some weather driven species migration is somewhat predictable too. Predicting where droughts are more likely to happen can be done as well, but as I said above, might be preventable with strong irrigation efforts.

Rough predictions aren't hard to find, but for the 21st century only. Anything further out than that is probably lots of guesswork and not carefully modeled. Basic and this century is probably as good as this field of study gets.

Articles here and here. I imagine those are both based on the 5th assessment report.

footnote: If you read assessment reports online, keep in mind the labeling system - 5th; AR5, 4th; AR4, 3rd; TAR, 2nd; SAR, first; FAR. Given how fast this field tends to update, I'd mostly just read IPCC reports labeled AR5, perhaps AR4. Anything before then is quite dated by now.


The world is awash with vague and worthless generalizations and politically correct 'risk-vulnerability matrices'. But if you want worthwhile estimates of the future then there is no short cut. There is no alternative to actually calculating the specific results yourself. Firstly, one doesn't calculate the climate change impact by country. One calculates by grid block, as per the defined cells in atmospheric-ocean coupled global climatic model. You will need to assess the output of at least a dozen, preferably about 16, different models for maximum, minimum and mean monthly temperatures. Repeat this for your chosen carbon emissions scenarios. We are currently on track for the disastrous RCP 8.5 scenario, but if the world comes to its' collective sense then you could probably use RCPs 4.5 and 6.0. Forget about RCP 2.8, which is now just an exercise in wishful thinking. There are several climate-change sources, such as the World Bank climate change portal, on the internet from where the model outputs are published - albeit on models which are already out of date (they are being refined all the time). Having calculated the temperatures for each scenario, carry out your preferred statistical assessment of the wide range of model outputs for various time-slices for as far into the future as you feel confident about the model's capacity. This gives you the likely temperature changes for the given emissions scenario, and time horizon. Repeat all of this for as many grid cells as you deem representative of your country of interest.

I recommend that you do not use the published model outputs for rainfall, or indeed for any water-related parameter (humidity, soil moisture deficits, evapotranspiration, open-water evaporation, etc). GCMs were never designed for this, and are inaccurate to wildly misleading. For these parameters, use evidence-based trends from existing instrumental time-series of rainfall (corrected for systematic error and discontinuities), using rigorous statistical testing of confidence limits. Use the corrected rainfall, humidity, temperature, wind, and hours of bright sunshine to plug into the Penmann-Monteith equation for evapotranspiration (The solar radiation can be calculated by altitude and coordinates on the same internet site as the ET0 calculators). Use the ET0 data and FAO crop factors to estimate changes in crop water requirements for the time frame of your study. Use all of the above, and specialist subject area searches to assess the likelihood of such factors as land degradation, desertification, crop failure frequency, drought frequency, disease vector mobility, stress on stock, stress on humans, and other inland issues.

Sea level rise is something else which takes in coastal aquifer contamination, coastal flooding, ecological changes, fisheries breeding, coral bleaching and reef degradation, and synergies of temperature, dissolved oxygen, pollution and other human impacts, frequency of oceanic oscillations, and changes in coastal dynamics.

You can add sophistication to your climatic analysis by modifying your instrumental trend projections to a more reasonable non-linear form, such as an error-function transition to an assumed climatic plateau in the distant (post 2100) future. For the sea level rise there is no sign of any quasi- equilibrium being regained, at least before 2400 (if then), so a second-order sea level rise projection is about the best we can do at present, with the caveat that uncalibrated feedback processes are likely.

In short, what you are asking is at least a man-year of intensive work by someone who knows what he/she is doing - make that two man-years if you include the rising sea level. So it isn't surprising that you can't find the detailed studies that you seek. Some regions of some countries have gone through this exercise, generally with a team of specialists. In all such cases that I know of, the results are in official ministry reports, and are not easily found through public access. Further, even at the end of this lengthy process the results are still subject to many uncertainties and caveats, including those mentioned earlier by 'userLTK'.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice answer. I enjoyed reading that. $\endgroup$ – userLTK Jul 4 '16 at 7:18

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