Publications Published in Progress in Physcial Geography
Downscaling general circulation model output: a review of methods and limitations . Wilby, R.L.; Wigley, Tom M. L..
Progress in Physcial Geography:
General circulation models (GCMs) suggest that rising concentrations of greenhouse gases may have significant consequences for the global climate. What is less clear is the extent to which local (subgrid) scale meteorological processes will be affected. So-called 'downscaling' techniques have subsequently emerged as a means of bridging the gap between what climate modellers are currently able to provide and what impact assessors require. This article reviews the present generation of downscaling tools under four main headings: regression methods; weather pattern (circulation)-based approaches; stochastic weather generators; and limited-area climate models. The penultimate section summarizes the results of an international experiment to intercompare several precipitation models used for downscaling. It shows that circulation-based precipitation characteristics, but are able to capture only part of the daily precipitation variability changes associated with model-derived changes in climate. The final section examines a number of ongoing challenges to the future development of climate downscaling.