Improving Regional Climate Projections

Regional-scale climate projections are in increasing demand. Decisionmakers need high-resolution projections that incorporate meteorological and hydrologic extremes to inform impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability assessments. These projections are contingent on many local and global variables, however—from land and water use to global climate trends. With many climate models and few standards for assessing their credibility, the generation of regional climate projections that are salient and actionable is a challenge.

Sara C. Pryor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Rebecca J. Barthelmie, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, are contributing to a multi-institutional effort to develop credible, understandable, and actionable climate projections for particular regions. Researchers are assessing methods of downscaling global projections to regional scales and gauging the credibility of specific predictions; developing metrics and processes to evaluate uncertainty in climate models and to improve fundamental understandings of the climate system; and advancing understanding of the atmosphere-water-energy-land interface, connections between global and regional dynamics, and implications for energy supply. A cornerstone of the project is the development of scientifically relevant scenarios, called storylines, that draw on past events to explain dynamics that may affect a particular region in the future. These scenarios will make climate data meaningful for decisionmakers across sectors and will provide context for stakeholder engagement and scientific exploration.

The project includes researchers from the University of California, Davis, Stonybrook University, Iowa State University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the University of California, Los Angeles, Penn State University, the Climate Readiness Institute, Utah State University, Berkeley Lab, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Cornell Researchers

Funding Received

$708 Thousand spanning 3 years