Climate science is more likely to be used when it is at the appropriate geographic and temporal scale for local decision-makers. Numerous techniques for downscaling global climate models (GCMs) have come into use, and there has been a recent proliferation of available downscaled climate datasets. Scientists and decision-makers often want to use downscaled climate projections – information from global climate models that is translated to regional or local scales – to inform their decisions regarding conservation, resource management, and other key environmental issues. Downscaled climate projections vary in, among other things: the techniques used to create them, the GCMs used in the downscaling, the climate variables produced, and their spatial and temporal resolution. Resources on this page provide guidance and tools for choosing appropriate climate projections as well as portals for downloading selected datasets.
Downscaled Climate Projections for the Southeast: Evaluation and Use for Ecological Applications
This fact sheet by the SE CSC summarizes information and provides examples from Wootten et al, 2014, a comprehensive assessment of six widely used downscaled climate projections for the southeastern United States and highlights best practices for use of downscaled datasets for ecological modeling and decision-making.
Downscaled Climate Projections for the Southeast United States – Evaluation and Use for Ecological Applications
This comprehensive 2014 U.S. Geological Survey report by A. Wootten, K. Smith, R. Boyles, A. Terando, L. Stefanova, V. Misra, T. Smith, D. Blodgett, and F. Semazzi, evaluates six widely-used downscaled datasets that cover the southeastern United States and recommends best practices for use of downscaled datasets for ecological modeling and decision-making. The report is the product of a project funded by the Southeast Climate Science Center. View the project page
An Evaluation of 20th Century Climate for the Southeastern United States as Simulated by Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) Global Climate Models
This USGS report by D. Rupp compares downscaled climate variables from 41 CMIP5 global climate models with 20th century observations in the Southeast and ranks model performance. The report is the product of a project funded by the Southeast Climate Science Center. View the project page
Results of a detailed evaluation and comparison of six widely-used downscaled datasets are presented graphically in the Downscaled Climate Projections Accuracy Viewer. The interactive viewer displays maps of analysis results for each downscaled climate projection for the following statistics: Temp Average Bias, Standard Deviation Difference of Temperature, Precipitation Bias, Standard Deviation Difference of Precipitation.
This gallery of visualization tools provides visualization of data products from Multivariate Adaptive Constructed Analogs (MACA) downscaled projections from 20 global climate models (GCMs) of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), for historical GCM forcings (1950-2005) and future Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios (2006-2100). Customized data selection allows visualization and retrieval of projections for the Southeast, as well as other regions of the coterminous USA.
This visualization tool was developed as part of the Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation, and Adaptation Project (PINEMAP). Historical observed and projected changes in several temperature, precipitation, and drought indices for 20-year future time periods are visualized for user-defined locations in the southeastern US.
Visualize maps and graphs of historical and projected climate trends for several temperature and precipitation variables for any city, zip code, or county in the contiguous United States. The portal also allows users to explore additional data layers to see how climate change will impact topics such as ecosystems, water resources, transportation, coastal areas, and tribal nations.
Capitalizing on the results of a detailed evaluation and comparison of six widely-used downscaled datasets, the Downscaled Climate Projections Search Tool is an interactive tool that enables a user to choose appropriate downscaled climate projection dataset(s) for a specific application, based on criteria selected and the accuracy of the dataset during a historical period. Results for additional downscaled datasets will be added as they become available.
Multivariate Adaptive Constructed Analogs (MACA) method was used to downscale the model output from 20 global climate models (GCMs) of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) for historical GCM forcings (1950-2005) and future Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios (2006-2100) from the native resolution of the GCMs to either 4-km or ~6-km. This provides access to data portals and links to general information about the MACA project.
This suite of data tools allows a user to download downscaled datasets from the CMIP5 MACA downscaling project that are customized for the Southeast or other specific locations in the contiguous US.
This US Geological Survey website provides access to numerous climate datasets such as downscaled climate projections and other large data products that summarize or predict climate and land use conditions for particular areas of interest.