, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 397-414

USE OF A STOCHASTIC WEATHER GENERATOR IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CLIMATE CHANGE SCENARIOS

Abstract

Climate change scenarios with a high spatial and temporal resolution are required in the evaluation of the effects of climate change on agricultural potential and agricultural risk. Such scenarios should reproduce changes in mean weather characteristics as well as incorporate the changes in climate variability indicated by the global climate model (GCM) used. Recent work on the sensitivity of crop models and climatic extremes has clearly demonstrated that changes in variability can have more profound effects on crop yield and on the probability of extreme weather events than simple changes in the mean values. The construction of climate change scenarios based on spatial regression downscaling and on the use of a local stochastic weather generator is described. Regression downscaling translated the coarse resolution GCM grid-box predictions of climate change to site-specific values. These values were then used to perturb the parameters of the stochastic weather generator in order to simulate site-specific daily weather data. This approach permits the incorporation of changes in the mean and variability of climate in a consistent and computationally inexpensive way. The stochastic weather generator used in this study, LARS-WG, has been validated across Europe and has been shown to perform well in the simulation of different weather statistics, including those climatic extremes relevant to agriculture. The importance of downscaling and the incorporation of climate variability are demonstrated at two European sites where climate change scenarios were constructed using the UK Met. Office high resolution GCM equilibrium and transient experiments.