Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The Ongoing Need for High-Resolution Regional Climate Models: Process Understanding and Stakeholder Information

Presentation Date
Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 5:34pm



Regional climate modeling addresses our need to understand and simulate climatic processes and phenomena unresolved in global models. This presentation will highlight examples of current approaches to and innovative uses of regional climate modeling that deepen understanding of the climate system. High-resolution models are generally more skillful in simulating extremes, such as heavy precipitation, strong winds, and severe storms. In addition, research has shown that regional simulation of finescale features such as mountains, coastlines, lakes, irrigation, land use, and urban heat islands can substantially influence a region’s climate and its response to changing forcings. In addition, regional climate simulations explicitly simulating convection are now being performed, providing an opportunity to illuminate new physical behavior that previously was represented by parameterizations with large uncertainties. The deeper understanding of regional climate processes benefits not only climate researchers, but also stakeholders and policymakers who need physically robust, high-resolution climate information to guide societal responses to changing climate.

Regional climate models are thus indispensable tools that can complement global models for understanding physical processes governing regional climate variability and change. Improving this understanding benefits from efforts to coordinate regional climate modeling around the world, as in the Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) program. These advances pose challenges but also new opportunities for coordinating research worldwide that increases our understanding of regional climate-system dynamics. Key scientific questions will continue to require regional climate models.

Funding Program Area(s)