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For almost two decades, specialists in regional climate assessment have sought to make projections of climate change for localised areas — projections that carry more political weight than vague warnings about global warming.

But their success has been limited, a meeting of regional-climate modellers in Lund, Sweden acknowledged last week. And, some speakers suggested, policymakers' expectations of precise local projections need to be lowered.

Governments and business often want predictions of what will happen in the next two decades. But the researchers argue that natural variability of climate makes this almost impossible, and that regional climate models are in fact most useful for predicting trends beyond 2070.

Link to full news story in Nature

Reference: Nature 428, 593 (2004)