Uncertainty in regional climate modelling: A review

Foley, A. M.
October 2010
Progress in Physical Geography;Oct2010, Vol. 34 Issue 5, p647
Academic Journal
For geographers engaged in activities such as environmental planning and natural resource management, regional climate models are becoming increasingly important as a source of information about the possible impacts of future climate change. However, in order to make informed adaptation decisions, the uncertainties associated with their output must be recognized and taken into account. In this paper, the cascade of uncertainty from emissions scenario to global model to regional climate model is explored. The initial part of the discussion focuses on uncertainties associated with human action, such as emissions of greenhouse gases, and the climate system's response to increased greenhouse gas forcing, which includes climate sensitivity and feedbacks. In the second part of the discussion, uncertainties associated with climate modelling are explored with emphasis on the implications for regional scale analysis. Such uncertainties include parameterizations and resolutions, initial and boundary conditions inherited from the driving global model, intermodel variability and issues surrounding the validation or verification of models. The paper concludes with a critique of approaches employed to quantify or cater for uncertainties highlighting the strengths and limitations of such approaches.


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