Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) Literature Database, v1, 2014-2019

Long-term global scenarios have underpinned research and assessment of global environmental change for four decades. Over the past ten years, the climate change research community developed a scenario framework combining alternative futures of climate and society to facilitate integrated research and consistent assessment to inform policy. The framework consists of the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), and Shared Policy Assumptions (SPAs), which together describe alternative visions of how society and climate may evolve over the coming decades, providing a framework for combining these pathways in integrated studies. Tracking the use of this framework in the literature allows for assessment of how it is being used, whether it is achieving its original goals, and what improvements to the framework would benefit future research. It also serves as a resource for the wider research community.
Download the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) Literature Database, v1, 2014-2019 (1.78 MB Excel Workbook).

The methods and definitions for generating and coding the database are available in a PDF file (106 KB)

Broadly, the database was generated from a Google Scholar search and manual examination of the results for papers that made substantial use of the SSPs. Each paper was then coded along a number of different dimensions.

  • Four categories of types of papers or analysis: SSP Development, Scenario Methodology, SSP Applications, SSP Extensions
  • A number of subcategories for SSP Applications and SSP Extensions
  • The particular SSP(s) used, including which SSP elements, SSP-based integrated assessment model (IAM) scenario elements, or SSP extensions were used
  • The particular RCP(s) used, focused on the four RCPs originally defined for 5th Phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5)
  • The particular SSP-RCP combinations used, including concentration pathways from both CMIP5 and CMIP6
  • Citation

    Green, C., D. Carlisle, B. C. O'Neill, B. J. van Ruijven, C. Boyer, and K. Ebi. 2020. Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) Literature Database, Version 1, 2014-2019 (Preliminary Release). Palisades, NY: NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC). Accessed DAY MONTH YEAR.

    The accompanying peer-reviewed publication is:

    O’Neill, B.C., Carter, T.R., Ebi, K. et al. 2020. Achievements and needs for the climate change scenario framework. Nature Climate Change, 10:1074-1084.


    This is a preliminary open data release, pending peer review of the data and associated journal articles. Following the peer review process, data curation will be completed by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) and the data will be disseminated through the SEDAC catalog.