Soil moisture is a measure of the amount of water contained within the soil.
Previous UK climate scenarios (e.g. UKCIP02) provided projections of changes in soil moisture content. For UKCP09, creating probabilistic projections of changes in soil moisture were not possible because different definitions of this variable are used by different modelling groups, making it impossible to construct PDFs combining results from variants of Met Office models with those from other climate models. Without this key aspect of our methodology, it was not possible to provide probabilistic projections.
In the absence of a UKCP09 probabilistic projections for soil moisture, there are three possible alternative sources of projections of transient changes during the 21st century:
- the 17-member ensemble of variants of the Met Office GCM
- the 11-member ensemble of variants of the Met Office RCM
- the ensemble of other global climate models, available as part of the CMIP3 project
Data from the first two (Met Office GCM and RCM) is available from the Climate Impacts LINK project, operated by . In the case of soil moisture, the use of changes from the 11-member Met Office RCM ensemble is recommended in the first instance.
- Variables for which probabilistic projections could not be provided in are outlined in Section 5.10 of the UKCP09 Briefing report. More details are provided in Section 4.8 of the UKCP09 Climate change projections report.
- The 11-member RCM data is described in the Reports & guidance section and in Chapter 5 of the UKCP09 Climate change projections report.
- More details about the climate models used in UKCP09 are given in Box 2.1 in the UKCP09 Climate change projections report. A commentary about the strengths and weaknesses of climate models is given in Annex 3.
- For an overview of how probabilistic projections are created and presented, go to Box 3 of the UKCP09 Briefing report. More details are provided in Chapter 3 of the UKCP09 Climate change projections report, including an overview of the methodology in Section 3.2.12.
Find out more
- The 11-member RCM dataset is available on the LINK website
- The CMIP3 multi-model dataset can be freely accessed for non-commercial purposes via the CMIP3 website