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NASA supercomputer generates closer look at future climate conditions in U.S.

10 September 2013

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Global models of the climate system are now the foundation for many important climate studies, but they typically show climate changes at very large geographic scales on the order of 100 to 250 kilometres. Some data sets have scaled that down to about 10 kilometres, but even these make it difficult to analyse climate change impacts on a local or regional scale.

Using previously published large-scale climate model projections, a team of scientists from NASA, the Climate Analytics Group, Palo Alto, Calif., a non-profit that provides climate data services, and California State University, Monterey Bay, has released monthly climate projections for the coterminous United States at a scale of one half mile (800 metres), or approximately the size of a neighbourhood. To generate these high-resolution climate projections, researchers used an innovative scientific collaboration platform called the NASA Earth Exchange (NEX), at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

These climate projections provide a view of future U.S. temperature and precipitation patterns based on four different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, spanning the period from 1950 to 2099. The new downscaled climate projections were statistically derived from the results of the latest climate scenarios produced by an ensemble of global climate models for the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change 5th Assessment Report (IPCC AR5) and historical surface observations.

Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)