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Development of a set of downscaled climatic projections

Research activities related to the development of future climate scenarios include:

Climate scenarios

(a) Regional-scale projections of the future climate variability over the next few decades, at high-spatial (11 km) and temporal (6 hours) resolution.

(b) Numerical simulations of the meteo-climatic conditions for specific mountain sites/areas at very high spatial (1 km) and temporal (3 hours) resolution.

(c) Development and implementation of statistical and stochastic downscaling methods to produce high-resolution climate scenarios for the Italian territory with a spatial resolution of 1 km and temporal resolution of 6 hour-to-daily.

Impacts on water resources and ecosystems

Development and implementation of the following set of models:

(d) models that simulate the response pattern of Alpine glaciers (Minimal Glacier Models, Flowline models, empirical models): fluctuations of the glacier terminus and glaciers mass balance at the annual resolution;

(e) deterministic snowpack models able to describe the main thermodynamic processes occurring in the snow layer, applied to specific sampling key sites;

(f) models of surface hydrology using semi-distributed approaches in specific sampling sites (rainfall-runoff models)

(g) models that simulate the response of underground aquifers to forcings in specific sampling sites (deterministic models and semi-empirical regional-scale models, in collaboration with water management companies well-established in the territory);

(h) empirical models simulating the response of mountain animal biodiversity to climate and environmental changes;

(i) empirical models for simulating the population dynamics of specific animal species (keystone e flagship);

(l) deterministic models of water and carbon fluxes between soil, vegetation and atmosphere in specific Alpine grassland sites and mountain forests;

(m) deterministic and process models describing the dynamics of high-altitude mountain lake ecosystems and able to describe the trophic web;

(n) Models describing the distribution of sampling species in mountain areas in Italy

 

Climate downscaling of future scenarios

The goal of this activity is the development of a set of downscaled climatic projections for the whole Italian territory, using an ensemble of methods which include global and regional climate models, high-resolution non-hydrostatic models, statistical downscaling techniques and stochastic rainfall downscaling. The validated downscaled scenarios will be made available, together with the appropriate technical documentation, on the NextData portals. The high-resolution, downscaled climatic information will become an open-access national database of forcing conditions for climate impact studies (water resources, risk assessment, ecosystems, air quality).

Dynamical downscaling

Dynamical downscaling is implemented by nesting a higher-resolution regional climate model in a global reanalysis or in the output of a global climate model providing lateral bpundary conditions. Several regional simulations for different areas of the world have been made available in the framework of the NextData project and they can be retrieved from the NextData archives. Many of these simulations are also available from international archives such as CORDEX.

Stochastic downscaling

Stochastic downscaling techniques allow to create large ensembles of high-resolution precipitation scenarios and may require little or no calibration.

The RainFARM technique 
has been recently further developed by ISAC-CNR for application to climate scenarios and has been validated with observation in north-western Italy.

web-based downscaling tool using RainFARM is available.

Bias correction

ISAC-CNR has completed a study to compare different bias-correction methods, applied to outputs (precipitation and temperature) from the regional climate model RegCM4 ICTP, in the Greater Alpine Region.

The results are summarized in this report: Regional climate projections and bias correction methods over the Greater Alpine Region (pdf)

The data are available (in netcdf format) on the ISAC-CNR THREDDS server.