Regional Climate: Current Research

High-resolution Regional Climate Scenarios for Impacts Studies



Climate impacts studies require scenarios of climate change at very high spatial resolution and at temporal resolution of daily or hourly time steps. These scenarios are derived from global climate model projections using downscaling methods. To understand uncertainties in future climate projections, a large ensemble of scenarios based on multiple global climate models and multiple future emissions scenarios is required. In this project, we use statistical downscaling and a regional climate model to produce regional climate scenarios to support climate impacts studies.

Recent improvements in the techniques include statistical downscaling to 1/16-degree (approximately 6-km) spatial resolution over the Pacific Northwest. These data are suitable for simulating river flows in very small basins that are important to municipal water supply. Scenarios produced with the regional climate model (dynamical downscaling) are suitable for understanding the impacts of extreme events. Mitchell assisted Seattle City Light in learning how to use downscaled IPCC precipitation estimates.

High-resolution climate scenarios based on statistical downscaling and regional climate simulations were developed in support of the State of Washington Climate Impacts Assessment.


Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Primary Funding

Washington State Legislature (House Bill 1303)

Related Publications

For more publications on climate impacts on PNW climate, please see CIG Publications.

Mote, P.W., and E.P. Salathé. 2009. Future climate in the Pacific Northwest. Chapter 1 in The Washington Climate Change Impacts Assessment: Evaluating Washington's Future in a Changing Climate, Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.