Regional climate scenarios key for local climate work

Improved regional climate models are invaluable for regional and local climate information, for planning of climate change measures, and for climate services over the next 20 years. One of the challenges is identifying the information that is most interesting for users. 

”Demands for local climate information are growing rapidly. There is a need to be able to study local climate effects and work on climate adaptation strategies. Extreme effects of climate change, such as local flooding associated with heavy rainfall, are of particular interest,” according to Ralf Döscher, climate researcher at SMHI, with expert knowledge on model development and regional climate modelling.

Further climate-change prediction possible

The science of climate change is constantly developing, and researchers envisage potential to be able to predict future climate change with even greater accuracy, using more high-resolution models.

Ralf Döscher
Ralf Döscher, climate researcher, SMHI Rossby Centre.

”The value of the information generally increases with the degree of detail, and of course the finer the resolution available to us, then the better able we are at predicting weather events, for example heavy rainfall, which can have a significant impact on urban environments. It also enables us to predict with greater accuracy how climate is affected and changed in various ways, depending on local variations in landscape,” says Ralf Döscher.

The regional models are constantly evolving, and one of the challenges is in improving the process descriptions used in the models to convert the global information into regional data. With improved process descriptions, regional climate models become even more advanced.

Climate services that facilitates

CORDEX, an international network for regional climate modelling, provides access to regional climate projections, which are a valuable complement to global climate projections. In the decades to come, downscaling of this type will be the primary source for developing climate services at a regional and local level, and consequently, are highly important.

Through close dialogue with users of the information, researchers can help sift out and interpret the information required. One method is to package the increasingly complex climate information into user-friendly climate services. At the same time as the amount of available information is increasing, climate services are also expanding.