A framework for testing the ability of models to project climate change and its impacts

J.C. Refsgaard, H. Madsen, V. Andréassian, K. Arnbjerg-Nielsen, T.A. Davidson, M. Drews, D.P. Hamilton, E. Jeppesen, E. Kjellström, J.E. Olesen, T.O. Sonnenborg, D. Trolle, P. Willems, J.H. Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


Models used for climate change impact projections are typically not tested for simulation beyond current climate conditions. Since we have no data truly reflecting future conditions, a key challenge in this respect is to rigorously test models using proxies of future conditions. This paper presents a validation framework and guiding principles applicable across earth science disciplines for testing the capability of models to project future climate change and its impacts. Model test schemes comprising split-sample tests, differential split-sample tests and proxy site tests are discussed in relation to their application for projections by use of single models, ensemble modelling and space-time-substitution and in relation to use of different data from historical time series, paleo data and controlled experiments. We recommend that differential-split sample tests should be performed with best available proxy data in order to build further confidence in model projections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-282
Number of pages12
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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