Quantifying uncertainty due to stochastic weather generators in climate change impact studies

2019 - Scientific Reports, 9, 9258
Vesely, F.M., Paleari, L., Movedi, E., Bellocchi, G., Confalonieri, R.


Climate change studies involve complex processes translating coarse climate change projections in locally meaningful terms. We analysed the behaviour of weather generators while downscaling precipitation and air temperature data. With multiple climate indices and alternative weather
generators, we directly quantified the uncertainty associated with using weather generators when site specific downscaling is performed. We extracted the influence of weather generators on climate variability at local scale and the uncertainty that could affect impact assessment. For that, we first designed the downscaling experiments with three weather generators (CLIMAK, LARS-WG, WeaGETS) to interpret future projections. Then we assessed the impacts of estimated changes of precipitation and air temperature for a sample of 15 sites worldwide using a rice yield model and an extended set of climate metrics. We demonstrated that the choice of a weather generator in the downscaling process may have a higher impact on crop yield estimates than the climate scenario adopted. Should they be confirmed, these results would indicate that widely accepted outcomes of climate change studies using this downscaling technique need reconsideration.

Keywords: Climate projection, General Circulation Model, statistical downscaling, stochastic weather generator, crop modelling, WARM
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-45745-4

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