The objective of the CMIP is to better understand past, present and future climate changes arising from natural, unforced variability or in response to changes in radiative forcing in a multi-model context. This understanding includes assessments of model performance during the historical period and quantifications of the causes of the spread in future projections. Idealized experiments are also used to increase understanding of the model responses. In addition to these long time scale responses, experiments are performed to investigate the predictability of the climate system on various time and space scales as well as making predictions from observed climate states. An important goal of CMIP is to make the multi-model output publically available in a standardized format.
CMIP Phase 6 consists of three major elements:
- a handful of common experiments, the DECK (Diagnostic, Evaluation and Characterization of Klima) and CMIP historical simulations (1850 – near-present) that will maintain continuity and help document basic characteristics of models across different phases of CMIP;
- common standards, coordination, infrastructure and documentation that will facilitate the distribution of model outputs and the characterization of the model ensemble, and
- an ensemble of CMIP-Endorsed Model Intercomparison Projects (MIPs) that will be specific to a particular phase of CMIP (now CMIP6) and that will build on the DECK and CMIP historical simulations to address a large range of specific questions and fill the scientific gaps of the previous CMIP phases.