EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Conceptual development and use of downscaled climate model information

Robert Wilby1 and Christian Dawson2
Robert Wilby and Christian Dawson
  • 1Geography and Environment, Loughborough University, UK
  • 2Computer Science, Loughborough University, UK

Statistical and dynamical downscaling techniques are widely applied in the development of local climate change scenarios. This talk traces the conceptual development of downscaling as a decision-support tool for climate risk assessment, resilience and adaptation planning. Four epochs are identified: (1) early exploration of local changes in key climate variables, such as temperature and precipitation extremes; (2) application of downscaled scenarios to climate impacts modelling (such as for agriculture yield or water resource assessments); (3) advent of ensemble-based methods and more sophisticated handling of uncertainty in the downscaling-impacts workflow; and (4) use of downscaled scenarios to stress-test adaptation options under plausible ranges of climate and non-climatic conditions. Each phase is illustrated by and reflected in the development of the Statistical DownScaling Model – Decision Centric (SDSM-DC) over more than two decades. Questions around fitness for purpose and appropriate uses of the tool are explored. The talk concludes by considering: where next for downscaling?

How to cite: Wilby, R. and Dawson, C.: Conceptual development and use of downscaled climate model information, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-3343,, 2023.