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Building capability to provide information with sufficient regional/national detail to aid decision making

'Nesting' a RCM within a GCM enables analysis of climate variability and change at high resolution

Downscaling: Providing predictions at the geographical scales required for decision making using PRECIS, and developing in-country capability.

A Regional Climate Model (RCM) has been developed in parallel to the global model, using the same Africa focus. In collaboration with the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC), Nairobi, the RCM has been configured using a Greater Horn of Africa domain and 25km horizontal resolution and implemented on the ICPAC computing cluster. The collaboration included scoping the potential of the RCM as real-time operational tool to add detail to the ICPAC-coordinated seasonal forecasts for the Greater Horn of Africa region. Key findings included:

  • The technical feasibility of operating the ICPAC installation of the RCM for real-time seasonal forecast downscaling was successfully demonstrated, including boundary data transfer from the Met Office, and ICPAC staff were trained in its operation.
  • At a regional workshop delivered with ICPAC there was consensus that the RCM downscaling showed encouraging potential to assist in providing useful input to seasonal forecasts generated at Regional Climate Outlook Forums (RCOFs), both in terms of greater geographical detail and more user-relevant products (e.g. mean wet day intensity as an indicator of flooding risk);
  • Further collaborative research with ICPAC is needed to expand the number of case study years examined so far in the collaboration and to streamline necessary data transfers to support a sustainable RCM downscaling facility.

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