Scientific Working Group on Data Protocols and Management

A key approach to identifying robust insights from integrated assessment models (IAMs) is model intercomparison projects that typically involve a few to a couple of dozen models. In such comparison projects, data collection and management has become a time consuming activity given the increasing amount of information that is produced by IAMs. This is a direct result of increasing regional resolution of models as well as the advancement in integrating more sectors and systems in the models. In 2010 the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium (IAMC) has therefore initiated a process to standardize the reporting formats used in model intercomparison projects to reduce the burden on both the modeling teams when exporting model results for a particular study as well as project leaders who analyze scenario data.

In parallel to this activity, an interactive web-database system was developed to automatically handle scenario submissions from modeling teams, building on an earlier database that was developed for the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). In the meantime, a number of community-wide model intercomparison projects, each of which involved several IAM teams, as well as the recently published Fifth Assessment Report of IPCC Working Group III have been using the IAMC data template and the web-based database system. A comprehensive list of these activities can be found here.

Scenario Explorer which presents an ensemble of quantitative, model-based climate change mitigation pathways underpinning the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR1.5) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2018 has been published recently.

Planned activities

In recognition of the improved comparability and reduced overhead for running model intercomparison projects through standardization of model output and a largely automated process for collecting scenario data, the scientific working group on data protocols and management at the IAMC annual meeting in 2013 has identified additional areas in which standardization and improved comparability across multiple IAMs will benefit the entire IAM community (see meeting notes). In particular, five areas were identified at the IAMC meeting for which subgroups have been established that will work on these different areas:

  • Further development of IAMC time-series data template (chair: Volker Krey)
  • Development of spatial data exchange formats (chair: Katherine Calvin)
  • Development of meta-database for data sets relevant to IAM development (chair: Gunnar Luderer)
  • Harmonized region definitions (chair: David McCollum)
  • Harmonized model documentation (chair: Volker Krey)



Katherine CALVIN
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Joint Global Change Research Institute at the University of Maryland


Volker KREY
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)


IAMC members that are interested in participating in the work of the SWG should contact SWG Co-Chairs.