Downscaling Climate Projections to Understand Future Temperature and Precipitation Patterns in the Southeast

Phil Mote, Oregon State University; and John Abatzoglou, University of Idaho

Project Completion: October 2014. This project has now been completed.
Implements Science Theme: 1
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This project generated a series of freely available datasets that provide projections of climate change at appropriate spatial scales that can directly address specific management questions. These climate change projections are the result of “downscaling” output from global climate models (GCMs) of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), which formed the basis of many conclusions in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report 5 (AR5). The datasets include projections of climate variables in addition to daily temperature and precipitation such as surface winds, humidity, and solar radiation that are needed in hydrologic and ecological modeling. Two products, one at a 4-km resolution, the other at a 6-km resolution, cover the continental United States have been completed.

Moreover, an evaluation was done of how well the GCMs reproduce the historical climate of the Southeast and surrounding region. This evaluation can be used as one source of information when a user is faced with selecting a small number of climate projections from the larger set of available projections for an impacts assessment. Collectively, the guidance on the credibility of GCMs over the southeastern US and the downscaled datasets provide necessary information and data to develop strategies for coping with climate change.