Evaluating Downscaled Climate Models for Projecting Future Changes in the Southeast

Ryan P. Boyles, Ph.D., Adrienne Wootten, NC State University

Project Completion: September 2013. This project has now been completed.
Implements Science Plan Theme: 1

Overview

Climate change is likely to have many effects on natural ecosystems in the Southeast U.S. While there is information available to conservation managers and ecologists from the global climate models (GCMs), this information is at too coarse a resolution for use in vulnerability assessments and decision making. To better assess how climate change could affect multiple sectors, including ecosystems, climatologists have created several downscaled climate projections that contain information from GCMs translated to regional or local scales. There are a number of techniques that can be used to create downscaled climate projections, and the number of available downscaled climate projections present challenges to users deciding what to use in their applications. The goals of this project were to assess the needs to ecologists in the Southeast U.S. for downscaled climate projections, synthesize the information available, and evaluate a selection of downscaled climate projections based upon the needs of the ecological community in the Southeast. The report produced is a guide which enables the SE CSC to address an important strategic goal of providing scientific information and guidance that will enable resource managers and others in the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives to make science-based climate change adaptation decisions.