Paradigm Shift in Downscaling Climate Model Projections: Building Models and Tools to Advance Climate Change Research in Cold Regions

Principal Investigator: Simon Papalexiou (University of Saskatchewan)

Co-Investigators: John Pomeroy (University of Saskatchewan), Martyn Clark (University of Saskatchewan), Francesco Serinaldi (Newcastle University), Emilio Porcu (Trinity College Dublin)

Project Overview

Global warming is causing unprecedented changes in cold regions that will further accelerate leading to severe environmental and socioeconomic stress. Climate models aim to predict hydroclimatic changes and help assess their impacts. Model projections, however, to reliably describe regional climates must be adjusted (bias correction) and downscaled—their spatial and temporal resolution is too coarse (~100 km2, 1 day) for real-world applications and finer resolutions are typically needed (e.g., ~4 km2, 1 hour). Regional climate models (RCMs) can produce fine resolution simulations but are computationally too expensive; only a single run is available for Western Canada, covering just 15 future years (2085-2100), and referring just to one emission scenario.

There is a pressing need for fine-resolution climate projections for Canada. The new generation of climate models (CMIP6) simulations are now available and may improve predictions and impact assessments for Canada. This project will evaluate the CMIP6 simulations for Canadian regions, bias correct, and downscale them using a transformative approach. The outcome of this proposal is expected to support GWF researchers and core teams to progress their research agenda by providing reliable and easy-to-use bias corrected and downscaled CMIP6 projections.