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Downscaling future climate scenarios to fine scales for hydrologic and ecological modeling and analysis

Ecological Processes

By:
,
DOI: 10.1186/2192-1709-1-2

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Abstract

Introduction

Evaluating the environmental impacts of climate change on water resources and biological components of the landscape is an integral part of hydrologic and ecological investigations, and the resultant land and resource management in the twenty-first century. Impacts of both climate and simulated hydrologic parameters on ecological processes are relevant at scales that reflect the heterogeneity and complexity of landscapes. At present, simulations of climate change available from global climate models [GCMs] require downscaling for hydrologic or ecological applications.

Methods

Using statistically downscaled future climate projections developed using constructed analogues, a methodology was developed to further downscale the projections spatially using a gradient-inverse-distance-squared approach for application to hydrologic modeling at 270-m spatial resolution.

Results

This paper illustrates a methodology to downscale and bias-correct national GCMs to subkilometer scales that are applicable to fine-scale environmental processes. Four scenarios were chosen to bracket the range of future emissions put forth by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Fine-scale applications of downscaled datasets of ecological and hydrologic correlations to variation in climate are illustrated.

Conclusions

The methodology, which includes a sequence of rigorous analyses and calculations, is intended to reduce the addition of uncertainty to the climate data as a result of the downscaling while providing the fine-scale climate information necessary for ecological analyses. It results in new but consistent data sets for the US at 4 km, the southwest US at 270 m, and California at 90 m and illustrates the utility of fine-scale downscaling to analyses of ecological processes influenced by topographic complexity.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Downscaling future climate scenarios to fine scales for hydrologic and ecological modeling and analysis
Series title:
Ecological Processes
DOI:
10.1186/2192-1709-1-2
Volume
1
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Publisher:
Springer
Publisher location:
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contributing office(s):
California Water Science Center
Description:
15 p.; Article 2
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Ecological Processes
Number of Pages:
15