Climate Dynamics

, Volume 52, Issue 5–6, pp 3455–3470 | Cite as

Future projections of temperature changes in Ottawa, Canada through stepwise clustered downscaling of multiple GCMs under RCPs

  • Yuanyuan Zhai
  • Gordon HuangEmail author
  • Xiuquan Wang
  • Xiong Zhou
  • Chen Lu
  • Zoe Li


As the capital city of Canada, Ottawa has been experiencing significant impacts of global climate change. How to adapt to future climate change is one of the biggest concerns in the city’s built and natural systems. It thus requires a comprehensive understanding of possible changes in the local climate of Ottawa, which can hardly be reflected in the coarse outputs of Global Climate Models (GCMs). Therefore, a stepwise clustered downscaling (SCD) model is employed in this study to help investigate the plausible changes in daily maximum, minimum, and mean temperatures in Ottawa. Outputs from multiple GCMs under the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) are used as inputs to drive the SCD model in order to develop downscaled climate projections. The performance of SCD model is evaluated by comparing the model simulations to the observations (R2 > 0.87) over the historical periods. Future temperature projections and their likely temporal trends throughout this century are analyzed in detail to explore the regional variations of global warming in Ottawa, thus to provide scientific basis for developing appropriate adaptation strategies at different management levels. The results suggest that the City of Ottawa is likely to expect significant increasing trends in temperatures (i.e., 0.18–0.38 °C per decade in maximum temperature, 0.16–0.31 °C per decade in minimum temperature, and 0.17–0.34 °C per decade in mean temperature under RCP4.5; 0.46–0.54 °C per decade in maximum temperature, 0.37–0.45 °C per decade in minimum temperature, and 0.42–0.50 °C per decade in mean temperature under RCP8.5) throughout this century.


Stepwise clustered downscaling Temperature Ottawa Multiple GCMs Climate change Impact studies 



This research was supported by the National Key Research and Development Plan (2016YFA0601502, 2016YFC0502800), the Natural Sciences Foundation (51520105013, 51679087), the 111 Program (B14008) and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada.


  1. Adger WN, Barnett J, Brown K, Marshall N, O’brien K (2013) Cultural dimensions of climate change impacts and adaptation. Nat Clim Change 3:112–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ayar PV, Vrac M, Bastin S, Carreau J, Deque M, Gallardo C (2016) Intercomparison of statistical and dynamical downscaling models under the EURO- and MED-CORDEX initiative framework: present climate evaluations. Clim Dyn 46:1301–1329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Briner JP, McKay NP, Axford Y, Bennike O, Bradley RS, de Vernal A, Fisher D, Francus P, Fréchette B, Gajewski K (2016) Holocene climate change in Arctic Canada and Greenland. Quatern Sci Rev 147:340–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Calzadilla A, Rehdanz K, Betts R, Falloon P, Wiltshire A, Tol RS (2013) Climate change impacts on global agriculture. Clim Change 120:357–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cherry JE, Knapp C, Trainor S, Ray AJ, Tedesche M, Walker S (2017) Planning for climate change impacts on hydropower in the Far North. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 21:133–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. City of Ottawa (2014) Air quality and climate change management plan (AQCCMP). Accessed 10 Apr 2017
  7. Delworth TL, Zeng F (2014) Regional rainfall decline in Australia attributed to anthropogenic greenhouse gases and ozone levels. Nat Geosci 7:583–587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Deser C, Knutti R, Solomon S, Phillips AS (2012a) Communication of the role of natural variability in future North American climate. Nat Clim Change 2:775–779CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Deser C, Phillips A, Bourdette V, Teng HY (2012b) Uncertainty in climate change projections: the role of internal variability. Clim Dyn 38 (3–4):527–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Duhan D, Pandey A (2015) Statistical downscaling of temperature using three techniques in the Tons River basin in Central India. Theor Appl Climatol 121(3–4):605–622CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fan L, Chen D, Fu C, Yan Z (2013) Statistical downscaling of summer temperature extremes in northern China. Adv Atmos Sci 30:1085CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fan YR, Huang W, Huang GH, Li Z, Li YP, Wang XQ, Cheng GH, Jin L (2015) A stepwise-cluster forecasting approach for monthly streamflows based on climate teleconnections. Stoch Environ Res Risk Assess 29:1557–1569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fan YR, Huang GH, Li YP, Wang XQ, Li Z (2016) Probabilistic prediction for monthly streamflow through coupling stepwise cluster analysis and quantile regression methods. Water Resour Manag 30:5313–5331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Government of Canada (2015) Past weather and climate. Accessed 2 Dec 2017
  15. Government of Ontario (2016) Ontario’s five-year climate change action plan 2016–2020. Accessed 2 Dec 2017
  16. Grimm NB, Groffman P, Staudinger M, Tallis H (2016) Climate change impacts on ecosystems and ecosystem services in the United States: process and prospects for sustained assessment. Clim Change 135:97–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hawkins E, Sutton R (2009) The Potential to Narrow Uncertainty in Regional Climate Predictions. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 90(8):1095–1108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hawkins E, Sutton R (2011) The potential to narrow uncertainty in projections of regional precipitation change. Clim Dyn 37:407–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Huang GH (1992) A stepwise cluster-analysis method for predicting air-quality in an urban-environment. Atmos Environ B Urb 26:349–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Huang GH, Huang YF, Wang GQ, Xiao HN (2006) Development of a forecasting system for supporting remediation design and process control based on NAPL-biodegradation simulation and stepwise-cluster analysis. Water Resour Res 42:6Google Scholar
  21. IPCC (2014) Climate change 2014: synthesis report. Contribution of working groups I, II and III to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. IPCC, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  22. Jeong DI, Sushama L, Diro GT, Khaliq MN, Beltrami H, Caya D (2016) Projected changes to high temperature events for Canada based on a regional climate model ensemble. Clim Dyn 46:3163–3180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Justice C, White SM, McCullough DA, Graves DS, Blanchard MR (2017) Can stream and riparian restoration offset climate change impacts to salmon populations? J Environ Manag 188:212–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kalnay E, Kanamitsu M, Kistler R, Collins W, Deaven D, Gandin L, Iredell M, Saha S, White G, Woollen J (1996) The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 77:437–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kendall M (1970) Rank correlation methods, 4th edn. Griffin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  26. Kløve B, Ala-Aho P, Bertrand G, Gurdak JJ, Kupfersberger H, Kværner J, Muotka T, Mykrä H, Preda E, Rossi P (2014) Climate change impacts on groundwater and dependent ecosystems. J Hydrol 518:250–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lemmen DS, Warren FJ (2004) Climate change impacts and adaptation: a Canadian perspectiveGoogle Scholar
  28. Li YP, Huang GH, Huang YH, Zhou HD (2009) A multistage fuzzy-stochastic programming model for supporting sustainable water-resources allocation and management. Environ Modell Softw 24(7):786–797CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Li Z, Huang GH, Han JC, Wang XQ, Fan YR, Cheng GH, Zhang H, Huang WD (2015) Development of a stepwise-clustered hydrological inference model. J Hydrol Eng 20:04015008CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mann HB (1945) Nonparametric tests against trend. Econom J Econom Soc 13:245–259Google Scholar
  31. Martin G, Ballamingie P (2016) Climate change and the residential development industry in Ottawa, Canada. Accessed 10 Apr 2017
  32. Mohareb AK, Warith MA, Diaz R (2008) Modelling greenhouse gas emissions for municipal solid waste management strategies in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Resour Conserv Recy 52:1241–1251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mtongori HI, Stordal F, Benestad RE (2016) Evaluation of empirical statistical downscaling models’ skill in predicting Tanzanian rainfall and their application in providing future downscaled scenarios. J Clim 29:3231–3252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nalley D, Adamowski J, Khalil B, Ozga-Zielinski B (2013) Trend detection in surface air temperature in Ontario and Quebec, Canada during 1967–2006 using the discrete wavelet transform. Atmos Res 132:375–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. NCEP (2016) NCEP North American regional reanalysis: NARR. Accessed 10 Apr 2017
  36. OCCIAR (2012) Information package: a citizen panel workshop on climate change. Ottawa, Ontario. Accessed 10 Apr 2017
  37. Onyutha C, Tabari H, Rutkowska A, Nyeko-Ogiramoi P, Willems P (2016) Comparison of different statistical downscaling methods for climate change rainfall projections over the Lake Victoria basin considering CMIP3 and CMIP5. J Hydro-environ Res 12:31–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pecl GT, Araújo MB, Bell JD, Blanchard J, Bonebrake TC, Chen I-C, Clark TD, Colwell RK, Danielsen F, Evengård B (2017) Biodiversity redistribution under climate change: impacts on ecosystems and human well-being. Science 355:eaai9214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pierce DW, Das T, Cayan DR, Maurer EP, Miller NL, Bao Y, Kanamitsu M, Yoshimura K, Snyder MA, Sloan LC (2013) Probabilistic estimates of future changes in California temperature and precipitation using statistical and dynamical downscaling. Clim Dyn 40:839–856CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Qin XS, Huang GH, Chakma A (2007) A stepwise-inference-based optimization system for supporting remediation of petroleum-contaminated sites. Water Air Soil Pollut 185:349–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Quintana-Segui P, Peral C, Turco M, Llasat MC, Martin E (2016) Meteorological analysis systems in North-East Spain: validation of SAFRAN and SPAN. J Environ Inform 27:116–130Google Scholar
  42. Rao CR (1952) Advanced statistical methods in biometric research. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  43. Razavi T, Switzman H, Arain A, Coulibaly P (2016) Regional climate change trends and uncertainty analysis using extreme indices: a case study of Hamilton, Canada. Clim Risk Manag 13:43–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Riahi K, Rao S, Krey V, Cho CH, Chirkov V, Fischer G, Kindermann G, Nakicenovic N, Rafaj P (2011) RCP 8.5—a scenario of comparatively high greenhouse gas emissions. Clim Change 109:33–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rosenzweig C, Elliott J, Deryng D, Ruane AC, Müller C, Arneth A, Boote KJ, Folberth C, Glotter M, Khabarov N (2014) Assessing agricultural risks of climate change in the 21st century in a global gridded crop model intercomparison. Proc Natl Acad Sci 111:3268–3273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sachindra DA, Huang F, Barton AF, Perera BJC (2014) Multi-model ensemble approach for statistically downscaling general circulation model outputs to precipitation. Q J R Meteorol Soc 140(681):1161–1178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Santos JA, Costa R, Fraga H (2017) Climate change impacts on thermal growing conditions of main fruit species in Portugal. Clim Change 140:273–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sen PK (1968) Estimates of regression coefficient based on Kendalls tau. J Am Stat Assoc 63:1379–1389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Statistics Canada (2017) Ottawa, CV [Census subdivision], Ontario and Ontario [Province] (table). Census Profile. 2016 Census. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98–316-X2016001. Ottawa. Accessed 28 May 2018
  50. Su BD, Huang JL, Gemmer M, Jian DN, Tao H, Jiang T, Zhao CY (2016) Statistical downscaling of CMIP5 multi-model ensemble for projected changes of climate in the Indus River Basin. Atmos Res 178:138–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sun W, Huang GH, Zeng GM, Qin XS, Sun XL (2009) A stepwise-cluster microbial biomass inference model in food waste composting. Waste Manage 29:2956–2968CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sun F, Hall A, Schwartz M, Walton DB, Berg N (2016) Twenty-first-century snowfall and snowpack changes over the Southern California Mountains. J Clim 29:91–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tebaldi C, Smith RL, Nychka D, Mearns LO (2005) Quantifying uncertainty in projections of regional climate change: a Bayesian approach to the analysis of multimodel ensembles. J Clim 18(10):1524–1540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Teutschbein C, Wetterhall F, Seibert J (2011) Evaluation of different downscaling techniques for hydrological climate-change impact studies at the catchment scale. Clim Dyn 37:2087–2105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Thomson AM, Calvin KV, Smith SJ, Kyle GP, Volke A, Patel P, Delgado-Arias S, Bond-Lamberty B, Wise MA, Clarke LE, Edmonds JA (2011) RCP4.5: a pathway for stabilization of radiative forcing by 2100. Clim Change 109:77–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Trzaska S, Schnarr E (2014) A review of downscaling methods for climate change projections. United States Agency for International Development by Tetra Tech ARD, pp 1–56Google Scholar
  57. Vikhamar-Schuler D, Isaksen K, Haugen JE, Tømmervik H, Luks B, Schuler TV, Bjerke JW (2016) Changes in winter warming events in the Nordic Arctic Region. J Clim 29:6223–6244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wang S, Huang GH, He L (2012) Development of a clusterwise-linear-regression-based forecasting system for characterizing DNAPL dissolution behaviors in porous media. Sci Total Environ 433:141–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wang XQ, Huang GH, Lin QG, Nie XH, Cheng GH, Fan YR, Li Z, Yao Y, Suo MQ (2013) A stepwise cluster analysis approach for downscaled climate projection—a Canadian case study. Environ Modell Softw 49:141–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wang XQ, Huang GH, Lin QG, Liu JL (2014) High-resolution probabilistic projections of temperature changes over Ontario, Canada. J Clim 27(14):5259–5284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wang XQ, Huang GH, Lin QG, Nie XH, Liu JL (2015a) High-resolution temperature and precipitation projections over Ontario, Canada: a coupled dynamical–statistical approach. Q J R Meteorol Soc 141:1137–1146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wang XQ, Huang GH, Zhao S, Guo JH (2015b) An open-source software package for multivariate modeling and clustering: applications to air quality management. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22:14220–14233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wang XQ, Huang GH, Liu JL, Li Z, Zhao S (2015c) Ensemble projections of regional climatic changes over Ontario, Canada. J Clim 28(18):7327–7346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wang XQ, Huang GH, Liu JL (2016a) Observed regional climatic changes over Ontario, Canada, in response to global warming. Meteorol Appl 23(1):140–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wang B, Liu DL, Macadam I, Alexander LV, Abramowitz G, Yu Q (2016b) Multi-model ensemble projections of future extreme temperature change using a statistical downscaling method in south eastern Australia. Clim Change 138:85–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wang L, Huang G, Wang X, Zhu H (2018) Risk-based electric power system planning for climate change mitigation through multi-stage joint-probabilistic left-hand-side chance-constrained fractional programming: a Canadian case study. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 82:1056–1067CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Way RG, Viau AE (2015) Natural and forced air temperature variability in the Labrador region of Canada during the past century. Theor Appl Climatol 121:413–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wheeler T, Von Braun J (2013) Climate change impacts on global food security. Science 341:508–513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Wilby RL, Wigley T (1997) Downscaling general circulation model output: a review of methods and limitations. Progress Phys Geogr 21:530–548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wilby R, Charles S, Zorita E, Timbal B, Whetton P, Mearns L (2004) Guidelines for use of climate scenarios developed from statistical downscaling methods. Supporting material of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, available from the DDC of IPCC TGCIA 27Google Scholar
  71. Wilks SS (1962) Mathematical statistics. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  72. Yang T, Hao XB, Shao QX, Xu CY, Zhao CY, Chen X, Wang WG (2012) Multi-model ensemble projections in temperature and precipitation extremes of the Tibetan Plateau in the 21st century. Glob Planet Chang 80–81:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Yang X, Tian Z, Sun L, Chen B, Tubiello FN, Xu Y (2017) The impacts of increased heat stress events on wheat yield under climate change in China. Clim Change 140:605–620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Zhai YY, Huang GH, Zhou Y, Zhou X (2016) A factorial dual-interval programming approach for planning municipal waste management systems. J Environ Eng 142:04016033CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Zhang X, Vincent LA, Hogg W, Niitsoo A (2000) Temperature and precipitation trends in Canada during the 20th century. Atmos Ocean 38:395–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Zhou X, Huang G, Wang X, Cheng G (2017a) Dynamically-downscaled temperature and precipitation changes over Saskatchewan using the PRECIS model. Clim Dyn 50:1–14Google Scholar
  77. Zhou X, Huang GH, Wang XQ, Fan YR, Cheng GH (2017b) A coupled dynamical-copula downscaling approach for temperature projections over the Canadian Prairies. Clim Dyn. Google Scholar
  78. Zhou X, Huang GH, Baetz BW, Wang XQ, Cheng GH (2018a) PRECIS-projected increases in temperature and precipitation over Canada. Q J R Meteorol Soc 144(711):588–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Zhou X, Huang GH, Wang XQ, Cheng GH (2018b) Future changes in precipitation extremes over Canada: driving factors and inherent mechanism. J Geophys Res Atmos 123(11):5783–5803CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Zhuang XW, Li YP, Huang GH, Wang XQ (2016) A hybrid factorial stepwise-cluster analysis method for streamflow simulation—a case study in northwestern China. Hydrol Sci J 61:2775–2788CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuanyuan Zhai
    • 1
  • Gordon Huang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiuquan Wang
    • 2
  • Xiong Zhou
    • 1
  • Chen Lu
    • 1
  • Zoe Li
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainable CommunitiesUniversity of ReginaReginaCanada
  2. 2.School of Climate Change and AdaptationUniversity of Prince Edward IslandCharlottetownCanada
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

Personalised recommendations