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What are the RCP (Representative Concentration Pathway) scenarios and the differences of them?

There are four RCPs scenarios which are based on multi-gas emission scenarios, namely RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6, and RCP8.5.

The RCP 2.6 is developed by the IMAGE modeling team of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. The emission pathway is representative for scenarios in the literature leading to very low greenhouse gas concentration levels (Van Vuuren et al., 2011).

The RCP 4.5 is developed by the MiniCAM modeling team at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI). RCP4.5 run assuming that radiative forcing will stabilize with an increases of about 4.5 Wm-2 after 2100 (Taylor et al. 2012).

The RCP 6.0 is developed by the AIM modeling team at the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Japan. It is a stabilization scenario where total radiative forcing is stabilized after 2100 without overshoot by employment of a range of technologies and strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The details of the scenario are described in Fujino et al. (2006) and Hijioka et al. (2008).

RCP8.5's radiative forcing levels by the end of 2100 are around 8.5W/m2 under our 'best-estimate' set of model parameters with forcing levels increasing further thereafter-up to 12 W/m2 by 2250, when concentrations stabilize.

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