Date: 17 Nov 2007

Regional climate change projections for the Northeast USA

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Abstract

Climate projections at relevant temporal and spatial scales are essential to assess potential future climate change impacts on climatologically diverse regions such as the northeast United States. Here, we show how both statistical and dynamical downscaling methods applied to relatively coarse-scale atmosphere-ocean general circulation model output are able to improve simulation of spatial and temporal variability in temperature and precipitation across the region. We then develop high-resolution projections of future climate change across the northeast USA, using IPCC SRES emission scenarios combined with these downscaling methods. The projections show increases in temperature that are larger at higher latitudes and inland, as well as the potential for changing precipitation patterns, particularly along the coast. While the absolute magnitude of change expected over the coming century depends on the sensitivity of the climate system to human forcing, significantly higher increases in temperature and in winter precipitation are expected under a higher as compared to lower scenario of future emissions from human activities.