458 Model Independence in Downscaled Climate Projections: a Case Study in the Southeast United States

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Geneva M. E. Gray, NC State University, Raleigh, NC; and R. P. Boyles

Downscaled climate projections are used to deduce how the climate will change in future decades at local and regional scales. It is important to use multiple models to characterize part of the future uncertainty given the impact on adaptation decision making. This is traditionally employed through an equally-weighted ensemble of multiple GCMs downscaled using one technique. Newer practices include several downscaling techniques in an effort to increase the ensemble's representation of future uncertainty. However, this practice may be adding statistically dependent models to the ensemble. Previous research has shown a dependence problem in the GCM ensemble in multiple generations, but has not been shown with the downscaled ensemble. In this case study, seven downscaled climate projections on the daily time scale are considered: CLAREnCE10, SERAP, BCCA (CMIP5 and CMIP3 versions), Hostetler, CCR, and MACA-LIVNEH. These data represent 83 ensemble members, 44 GCMs, and two generations of GCMs. Baseline periods are compared against the University of Idaho’s METDATA gridded observation dataset. Hierarchical agglomerative clustering is applied to the correlated errors to determine dependent clusters. Redundant GCMs across different downscaling techniques show the most dependence, while smaller dependence signals are detected within downscaling datasets and across generations of GCMs. These results indicate that using additional downscaled projections to increase the ensemble size must be done with care to avoid redundant GCMs and the process of downscaling may increase the dependence of those downscaled GCMs. Climate model generation does not appear dissimilar enough to be treated as two separate statistical populations for ensemble building at the local and regional scales.
- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner