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CR 76:253-268 (2018)  -  DOI:

Robustness of high-resolution regional climate projections for Greenland: a method for uncertainty distillation

Martin Olesen1,*, Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen1,2,3, Eigil Kaas2, Fredrik Boberg1

1Danish Meteorological Institute, Lyngbyvej 100, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
2Niels Bohr Institute, Juliane Maries Vej 30, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
3NORCE Norwegian Research Centre, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Jahnebakken 5, 5007 Bergen, Norway
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Managing adaptation to climate changes in Greenland will depend, to a large degree, on high-resolution climate simulations and associated uncertainty estimates. A single high-resolution climate simulation is generally insufficient to quantify the uncertainty of a given scenario projection. For Greenland, this becomes a critical issue because of a lack of high-resolution climate experiments for this region. Therefore, we introduce and test a new method to solve this uncertainty assessment problem. Using the regional climate model (RCM) HIRHAM5 over Greenland in combination with an ensemble of RCM simulations from a different geographical setting, (i.e. EURO-CORDEX), we investigate to what extent the uncertainty of projected climate change at high resolution can be evaluated from corresponding temperature spreads in a wider set of global climate models (GCMs), that is, CMIP5. The study is based on a set of time-slice simulations downscaled with HIRHAM5 at 5.5 km resolution for the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios for Greenland with boundary information from the GCM EC-Earth. Our proposed uncertainty assessment method establishes a foundation on which high-resolution and relatively costly regional climate projections can be assessed as well as when using only a single RCM without the presence of analogous downscaling experiments with other RCMs and GCMs, and instead relying on existing information from CMIP5. Thus, the uncertainty of a wide range of climate indices that scales with temperature can be evaluated and quantified through the inter-model temperature spread within CMIP5.

KEY WORDS: Greenland · Climate change · Climate indices · Uncertainty quantification · Climate adaptation

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Cite this article as: Olesen M, Christensen JH, Kaas E, Boberg F (2018) Robustness of high-resolution regional climate projections for Greenland: a method for uncertainty distillation. Clim Res 76:253-268.

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