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Research Projects - Climate Change (Track 1)

Climate Modeling

Climate varies across a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. The Climate Change Modeling objective is to enhance Nevada’s capability for modeling regional climate change and its effects on landscapes and ecosystems, including downscaling GCM (Global Climate Model) output.

Developing Climate Modeling will provide an infrastructure to model climate change at a regional and sub-regional scale, and assess its effects on ecosystems and resources to evaluate the effects of different future climate scenarios and adaptation strategies.

Climatic processes relevant to the complex mountainous terrain of Nevada will be better understood and modeled to become input for hydrologic, ecosystem, and wildfire models. The results will provide guidance on expected uncertainties and errors in climate predictions. These will be used to develop methods of statistical and dynamical downscaling of global climate forecasts to regional and local scales including use of principles of artificial intelligence.

Annual Report Highlights

Understanding Regional Projections of Climate Change Scenarios

climate modeling

Snow Water Equivalent as a function of daily mean surface temperature and precipitation projections for different CMIP3 GCM output and downscaled using statistically-based and dynamically-based downscaling approaches.  

Outcome:  Nevada Climate Modeling efforts are focused on the implementation and development of fine-scale datasets (“downscaling”), based on Global Climate Modeling products at spatial scales relevant to regional and local impact studies.  Further efforts include contrasting and evaluating our products against observed data and other nationwide downscaling initiatives to quantify and understand uncertainty in climate change projections.

Impact: The synthesis and interpretation of these results will increase understanding and provide information of value to decision-makers.  Our emphasis has been to create the framework and to explore and explain future climate change signals in Nevada and the U.S. southwest intermountain region.

Explanation: Despite using the same Global Climate Models, downscaling these data with different dynamically-based approaches can create substantial differences (see figure); which can also happen if using different downscaling approaches (e.g., statistically-based), or different Global Climate Models (e.g., CNRM, CCSM3, and GFDL).  Recognizing and understanding these differences as part of the uncertainty evaluation process is crucial for climate change tendency and attribution assessment.

Authors: John F. Mejia, KC King, and Darko Koracin, Desert Research Institute-Reno and Nevada USGS, Carson City, Nevada


This work was supported by NSF Cooperative Agreement EPS-­‐0814372 to the Nevada System of Higher Education.

2010 Highlights

2009 Highlights


Climate Modeling


Dynamical and Statistical Regional Climate Modeling

ERTAB Mtg_Koracin

Local Land Use Scenario Formulation Using IPCC SRES Climate

Regional Climate Modeling Methodological and Experimental D

Scaling Impact of Hydrologic Processes on the Integrated Res