Downscaling climate projections for application to biodiversity research
Bindoff, NL and Lee, G and Harris, R and Grose, MR, Downscaling climate projections for application to biodiversity research, AMOS 2012, 31 January - 3 February 2012, University of New South Wales, Sydney, pp. unknown. (2012) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]
Climate model projections are a useful tool for understanding some likely effects of an enhanced greenhouse effect, and generating plausible scenarios of climate change into the future. However, the coarse scale of global climate models (GCMs) means that they do not produce the regional detail desired by applied studies at the regional scale. Also, since climate model projections are essentially hypothetical scenarios with large ranges and uncertainties, care must be taken in applying them in detailed applied analysis of complex systems, as is required in research into biodiversity.
Downscaling GCM model simulations to the regional scale is a useful first step in the analysis of biodiversity with climate change. In this study we use a set of six dynamically downscaled GCM projections created using the regional climate model Conformal Cubic Atmospheric Model (CCAM) by the Climate Futures for Tasmania project. These simulations are at 0.1 ° lat/lon resolution, and produce output that is usable at the sub-daily scale.
Here we outline a framework and preliminary examples of applying these model outputs to the broad spectrum of fields associated with biodiversity in the midlands region of Tasmania. This work requires an approach featuring multiple scales and a flow from quantitative research into qualitative research. This project provides climate change projections into a research hub comprising a cascade of applied research fields from terrestrial bioregionalisation, freshwater ecology, wildlife distributions, fire ecology and into economic, social and institutional research. The approach taken is of locally-relevant scenarios, where the physical climate change scenario is one part of a set of future impact scenarios that are account for the spectrum of issues at the study site, and also accounting for the wider regional context. A range of quantitative tools is used to fully realize the effect of a climate change scenario of a change in climate on the biophysical environment. Some of these analyses require going to an even finer spatial scale and adapting or integrating climate projections with the established tools used for this purpose. Quantitative and qualitative outputs from climate projections and also biophysical analysis are then fed into analysis of the economic, social and institutional research. In this way, the full value of regional climate projection scenarios is more fully realized into impact research.
Non Refereed Conference Paper
biodiversity, climate change, adaptation, downscaling, regional climate model