A "scenario" is a plausible description of a future state of the
world. It is not a forecast; rather, each scenario is one
alternative pathway of how the future could unfold depending on the
specific assumptions about the future trends in e.g. population
growth, technological advances in energy, transport and
manufacturing sectors, and mitigation measures adopted by global
community. A projection may serve as the raw material for a
scenario, but scenarios often require additional information.
Because of the uncertainty of climate projections, a set of
scenarios or "storylines" is often used to describe possible
futures. Each storyline assumes a distinctly different direction
for future developments, but together they describe divergent
futures that encompass a significant portion of the underlying
uncertainties in the main driving forces.
The Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) prepared by the
Panel on Climate Change developed four SRES scenario storylines
(A1, B1, A2, B2) that vary depending on economic growth, global
population, local or global change, and clean-energy technology
advancements - the forces driving global greenhouse gas and aerosol
The SRES emission scenarios used in IPCC climate modelling are
based on the A1 and B1 storylines;
a) A1 storyline and scenario
family assumes a future world of very rapid economic growth, global
population peaking in mid-century and declining thereafter, and
rapid introduction of new and more efficient technologies.
b) B1 storyline assumes a
convergent world with the same global population as in the A1
storyline but with rapid changes in economic structures toward a
service and information economy, with reductions in material
intensity, and the introduction of clean and resource-efficient
The Queensland Government's Climate Change Centre of Excellence,
part of the Office of Climate Change, has developed climate
scenarios across 13 regions, and these are avaliable from the
Suburb search pages of Harden Up.
You can also download the Office of Climate Change's report, "Climate Change in Queensland - What the Science
is Telling Us"