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Utility of Daily vs. Monthly Large-scale Climate Data



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Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 12 551 563 2008 www hydrol earth syst sci net 12 551 2008 Author s 2008 This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3 0 License Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Utility of daily vs monthly large scale climate data an intercomparison of two statistical downscaling methods E P Maurer1 and H G Hidalgo2 1 Civil Engineering Department Santa Clara University Santa Clara CA USA Institution of Oceanography Div of Climate Atmospheric Sciences Physical Oceanography La Jolla CA USA 2 Scripps Received 16 August 2007 Published in Hydrol Earth Syst Sci Discuss 12 September 2007 Revised 20 December 2007 Accepted 5 February 2008 Published 13 March 2008 Abstract Downscaling of climate model data is essential to local and regional impact analysis We compare two methods of statistical downscaling to produce continuous gridded time series of precipitation and surface air temperature at a 1 8 degree approximately 140 km2 per grid cell resolution over the western U S We use NCEP NCAR Reanalysis data from 1950 1999 as a surrogate General Circulation Model GCM The two methods included are constructed analogues CA and a bias correction and spatial downscaling BCSD both of which have been shown to be skillful in different settings and BCSD has been used extensively in hydrologic impact analysis Both methods use the coarse scale Reanalysis fields of precipitation and temperature as predictors of the corresponding fine scale fields CA downscales daily large scale data directly and BCSD downscales monthly data with a random resampling technique to generate daily values The methods produce generally comparable skill in producing downscaled gridded fields of precipitation and temperatures at a monthly and seasonal level For daily precipitation both methods exhibit limited skill in reproducing both observed wet and dry extremes and the difference between the methods is not significant reflecting the general low skill in daily precipitation variability



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