Constrained dynamical downscaling for assessment of climate impacts

Authors

  • M. Harkey,

    Corresponding author
    1. Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    • Corresponding author: M. Harkey, Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA. (mkharkey@wisc.edu)

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  • T. Holloway

    1. Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
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Abstract

[1] To assess climate change impacts on hydrology, conservation biology, and air quality, impact studies typically require future climate data with spatial resolution high enough to resolve urban-rural gradients, complex topography, and sub-synoptic atmospheric phenomena. We present here an approach to dynamical downscaling using analysis nudging, where the entire domain is constrained to coarser-resolution parent data. Here meteorology from the North American Regional Reanalysis and the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program data archive are used as parent data and downscaled with the Advanced Research version of the Weather Research and Forecasting model to a 12 km × 12 km horizontal resolution over the Eastern U.S. Our results show when analysis nudging is applied to all variables at all levels, mean fractional errors relative to parent data are less than 2% for maximum 2 m temperatures, less than 15% for minimum 2 m temperatures, and less than 18% for10 m wind speeds. However, the skill of representing fields that are not nudged, such as boundary layer height and precipitation, is less clear. Our results indicate that though nudging can be a useful tool for consistent, comparable studies of downscaling climate for regional and local impacts, which variables are nudged and at what levels should be carefully considered based on the climate impact(s) of study.

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