1.6 The Spatial Scale of Climate Scenarios for Adaptation Planning: What do we really need?

Monday, 18 July 2011: 11:45 AM
Salon A (Asheville Renaissance)
Linda O. Mearns, NCAR, Boulder, CO

Considerable attention has been directed toward the need for higher and higher spatial resolution information about future climate for developing adaptation plans for many sectors such as water resources, ecosystems, and human health. Yet, actual adaptation plans developed so far in the US have not made use of much high resolution information developed though dynamical or statistical downscaling. Mostly, very simple downscaling (e.g., the delta method, or spatial disaggregation) has been used. Is this a result of the lack of such information or rather, a recognition that this 'need' is not necessarily as important in adaptation planning as has been touted by some? The talk will explore this issue through examples of climate information used in impacts and adaptation work. A brief overview of the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP), wherein multiple global climate models are used to drive multiple regional models over North America, will also be presented as well as a discussion of how this program may help to determine where and when dynamically downscaled information truly adds value to adaptation studies.
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