SERAP: Comprehensive Web-based Climate Change Projections: Downscaled Maps and Data

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A team of USGS and academic researchers developed a comprehensive web-based dataset of high-resolution (or ‘downscaled’) climate change projections, enabling scientists and decision-makers to better assess climate related ecosystem impacts. The research team implemented a three-part plan to provide high resolution climate data for the impact modeling community. First, a database was developed o...

A team of USGS and academic researchers developed a comprehensive web-based dataset of high-resolution (or ‘downscaled’) climate change projections, enabling scientists and decision-makers to better assess climate related ecosystem impacts. The research team implemented a three-part plan to provide high resolution climate data for the impact modeling community. First, a database was developed of up-to-date and state-of-the-art downscaled climate projections for the U.S., using a range of plausible future greenhouse gas emission scenarios. Second, a series of workshops were held to solicit input about climate-related data needs and to discuss best practices for accessing and using downscaled climate projections. Finally, downscaled projections are now being made available as an enterprise-level web-based source. Users are able to freely access the data via an interactive, easily manageable interface, in formats which are familiar to ecosystem and impact modelers. The work enables impact assessments to be based on the same common data set, allowing researchers and resource managers to compare results and projections across regions and ecosystems.

 

Additionally, a research team also developed the core climatic datasets necessary to project regional ecosystem impacts resulting from 21st century climate change. They adhered to an approach that carefully assessed and propagated model uncertainty, downscaled climate projections to the scale of important ecosystem processes, and focused on the most impact-relevant climatic variables. They worked on addressing three questions: (1) What is the magnitude and direction of climate change expected in the U.S. Southeast over the next 100 years? (2) How do the projected changes in climate relate to those parameters that most affect ecosystem processes specific to the Southeast? and (3) What is the level of uncertainty associated these projections?