Regional Climate: Current Research
Implementing a High-resolution Mesoscale Weather Model for Regional Climate Change Studies
- Eric Salathé, UW Climate Impacts Group (CIG) (contact person)
- Cliff Mass, UW Department of Atmospheric Sciences
- Patrick Zahn, UW Department of Atmospheric Sciences
- Brian Lamb, Washington State University (WSU)
- Susan O'Neill, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNWRS)
- Alex Guenther, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
The regional scale weather patterns in a warmer climate could be quite different from those experienced in the 20th century. Thus, the local changes in temperature and precipitation may not directly match those predicted for the region by global climate models, which cannot capture the regional scale weather.
By nesting a regional scale weather model, MM5, within a global climate model, we can learn about the interaction between changes in large-scale climate and the local weather. The results of the regional scale model simulations are also essential for simulating the impacts of climate on processes that require more detailed information than is captured by statistical downscaling.
The MM5 regional scale weather forecast model has been extensively applied for weather prediction in the PNW by researchers in the University of Washington’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences. The CIG is collaborating with the Department and supporting a graduate student to implement the MM5 model for downscaling climate simulations. The model will be nested within the NCAR/DOE PCM global climate model and run at 12 km resolution over study regions in the PNW and the upper Midwest.
The CIG is also collaborating with researchers at Washington State University, NCAR, and the USDA Forest Service to apply the results of the regional scale model to simulations of climate change impacts on air quality. This collaboration is funded under an EPA STAR grant.
- Will local weather patterns change in a warmer climate?
- Do global models represent the correct relationship between global warming and precipitation?
- Will there be a change in the frequency of extreme weather events?
- How will climate change affect air quality?