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Future Climate and Hydrology from Twenty Localized Constructed Analog (LOCA) Scenarios and the Basin Characterization Model (BCMv8)

April 12, 2024

This data release contains monthly 270-meter resolution Basin Characterization Model (BCMv8) climate and hydrologic variables for Localized Constructed Analog (LOCA; Pierce et al., 2014)-downscaled Global Climate Models (GCMs) for Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 (medium-low emissions) and 8.5 (high emissions) for hydrologic California. The 20 future climate scenarios consist of ten GCMs with RCP 4.5 and 8.5 each: ACCESS 1.0, CanESM2, CCSM4, CESM1-BGC, CMCC-CMS, CNRM-CM5, GFDL-CM3, HadGEM2-CC, HadGEM2-ES, and MIROC5. The LOCA climate scenarios span water years 1950 to 2099 with greenhouse-gas forcings beginning in 2006. The LOCA downscaling method has been shown to produce better estimates of extreme events and reduces the common downscaling problem of too many low-precipitation days (Pierce et al., 2014). Ten GCMs were selected from the full ensemble of models from the fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project from the World Climate Research Programme (CMIP5) based on GCM historical performance to address specific needs for California water-resource planning (California Department of Water Resources Climate Change Technical Advisory Group, 2015). The 10 GCMs with RCP 4.5 and 8.5 each were statistically downscaled using the LOCA method (Pierce et al., 2014) from 2-degree (approximately 222-kilometer; km) quadrangles to 6-km resolution. Next, the scenarios were spatially downscaled from 6 km to 270 meters (Flint and Flint, 2012) and run through the BCMv8 using the same model parameters and input files as the historical BCM model (BCMv8; Flint et al., 2021).
Downscaled gridded climate variables include precipitation (ppt), minimum temperature (tmn), maximum temperature (tmx), and potential evapotranspiration (pet). Gridded hydrologic variables include actual evapotranspiration (aet), climatic water deficit (cwd), snowpack (pck), recharge (rch), runoff (run), and soil storage (str). The units for temperature variables are degrees Celsius, and all other variables are in millimeters per month. Monthly variables from water years 1951 to 2099 are summarized into water year files (for example, water year 1951 includes October 1950 - September 1951) and 30-year average summaries from 1951 to 2099. Raster grids are in the NAD83 California Teale Albers, (meters) projection in an open format ascii text file (*.asc).
This data release includes a child item for each GCM. Each GCM child item contains two RCP (4.5 & 8.5) child items. Each RCP child item contains 4 child items:
1. 30-year summaries (Water year files averaged for selected 30-year periods, zipped by variable)
2. Monthly BCM hydrology variables (monthly BCM hydrology variables zipped by decade)
3. Monthly climate variables (monthly climate variables zipped by decade)
4. Water year summaries (monthly files summed (aet, cwd, pck, rch, run, str, pet, and ppt) or averaged (tmn and tmx) by water year, zipped by variable)
References cited:
California Department of Water Resources Climate Change Technical Advisory Group, 2015, Perspectives and guidance for climate change analysis: Sacramento, Calif., California Department of Water Resources Technical Information Record, 142 p.
Flint, L.E., Flint, A.L., and Stern, M.A., 2021, The Basin Characterization Model - A monthly regional water balance software package (BCMv8) data release and model archive for hydrologic California (ver. 3.0, June 2023): U.S. Geological Survey data release,
Flint, L.E., and Flint, A.L., 2012, Downscaling future climate scenarios to fine scales for hydrologic and ecological modeling and analysis: Ecological Processes, v. 1, no. 2, 15 p.,
Pierce, D.W., Cayan, D.R. and Thrasher, B.L., 2014. Statistical downscaling using localized constructed analogs (LOCA). Journal of hydrometeorology, 15(6), pp.2558-2585.

Publication Year 2024
Title Future Climate and Hydrology from Twenty Localized Constructed Analog (LOCA) Scenarios and the Basin Characterization Model (BCMv8)
DOI 10.5066/P9K23J25
Authors Michelle A Stern, Lorriane Flint, Alan L. Flint, Whitney A Seymour
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Sacramento Projects Office (USGS California Water Science Center)