Regional climate modelling

Developing models and techniques to produce regional climate information for climate change impacts and adaptation assessments, often with a focus on, and collaboration in, developing country regions.

The primary tool used in this work is the regional climate model, a higher resolution limited area version of a global atmospheric model. It simulates high-resolution climate skilfully through its improved resolution of a regional physiography and atmospheric motions.

Work is undertaken to assess and continually improve the quality of this tool, and understand how it is best applied to derive information on regional and high-resolution climate (change) relevant to assessing climate (change) threats and opportunities.

Software systems have also been developed, and are continually updated, to allow the regional climate models to be run on low-cost computers and their data easily processed and analysed. This system, known as PRECIS (Providing REgional Climates for Impacts Studies), along with relevant training materials, documentation and support and outreach activities supports wide-spread application of the models.

Key aims

  • To develop high quality globally applicable regional climate models (RCMs).

  • To understand and demonstrate how to apply RCMs to derive regional climate information.

  • To demonstrate the quality of RCMs and their applicability for studying extreme events and projected changes in these.

  • To develop, evaluate and use systems to sample uncertainties in large scale and downscaled climate variability, and change using available global and regional climate model ensembles.

  • To make the RCMs technically and computationally easy to apply to any region, and provide the necessary training and support to enable their application by developing country scientists.

  • To understand and demonstrate, in collaboration with impacts researchers and climate scenario developers, the applicability of RCMs to produce regional climate

    (change) information.

Current projects

  • Developing an ensemble RCM downscaling version of PRECIS and research into its applicability for developing regional climate scenarios.

  • Assessing projected changes in high-resolution climate extremes and applying these collaboratively to gain experience in their use for impacts modelling.

  • Developing an RCM based on HadGEM3 and applying it in the CORDEX downscaling of CMIP5 GCMs for Africa.

  • Applying PRECIS to develop and use regional climate scenarios in China, SE Asia, Arabia and with other developing country collaborators.

Last updated: 10 January 2011

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