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Downscaling Global Climate Models to Provide Better Risk Analysis and Adaptation Planning
Panel Discussion with Speakers

Monday, August 24
11:15–11:55 AM PT | 2:15–2:55 PM ET

About the Session

Downscaling is the general name for a procedure to take information known at large scales to make predictions at local scales. The two main approaches to downscaling climate information are dynamical and statistical. Dynamical downscaling requires running high-resolution climate models on a regional sub-domain, using observational data or lower-resolution climate model output as a boundary condition.  These models use physical principles to reproduce local climates, but are computationally intensive.  Statistical downscaling is a two-step process consisting of i) the development of statistical relationships between local climate variables (e.g., surface air temperature and precipitation) and large-scale predictors (e.g., pressure fields), and ii) the application of such relationships to the output of global climate model experiments to simulate local climate characteristics in the future.California through collaborative efforts of the California Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR), the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) completed a statistical downscaling for the State in a process called Localized Constructed Analogs (LOCA).  Most climate models have relatively coarse spatial resolution. A single grid-cell of a global climate model can cover the distance from San Francisco to Sacramento.  There is a lot of variation between San Francisco and Sacramento that impacts the localized climate conditions including topography and distance from the ocean which effect surface air temperatures, precipitation levels and type of precipitation. If you want to know how temperatures or precipitation might change on finer spatial scales, you need to downscale the climate model output.  The localized constructed analogs (LOCA) method is a statistical scheme that produces downscaled estimates suitable for hydrological simulations using a multi-scale spatial matching scheme to pick appropriate analog days from observations.This panel presentation will provide an overview of the LOCA downscaled climate modeling system used in California in the development of the Cal-Adapt Tools.  Cal-Adapt is a web based GIS toolset that provides city and county planning departments throughout California local climate change forecasts (2050 and 2100) for their jurisdictional boundaries to use in determining climate risks and developing adaptation plans. The panel will then provide an overview of the Adaptation Planning Guide soon to be published by  OPR to assist local governments in developing climate risk analysis and adaption plans within General Plan Safety Elements.  Finally, the panel will show how the City of Corona California used the Cal-Adapt toolkit to develop climate risks for their community, and develop an adaption plan that included refinements for emergency responses to wildfire and severe weather events, potable water supply planning, and community health issues


  • Climate Change

About the Speakers

Michael Hendrix

Michael Hendrix
AEP Climate Change Committee

Michael Hendrix is one of the California's leading climate change and air quality scientists.  Mr. Hendrix is the current Chairperson for the AEP Climate Change Committee.  In that capacity, he provides leadership within AEP on the issue of climate change and analysis of GHG emissions. AEP specifically recognized that his commitment to balancing the need for industrial, commercial and residential development projects in California with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution is evident through his dedication to emissions reduction that significantly reduce air pollution and GHG emissions generated by the expansion of these markets.


Tammy Seal

Tammy is a member of the AEP Climate Change Committee focused on climate risks and adaptation. She manages PlaceWorks Climate Change Services Team and is an expert in sustainability, climate action planning, climate risk assessments, and adaptation planning.


Robert Kay
More information to come!

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