Climate Dynamics

, Volume 49, Issue 7–8, pp 2261–2278 | Cite as

An efficient statistical approach to multi-site downscaling of daily precipitation series in the context of climate change

  • Malika Khalili
  • Van Thanh Van Nguyen


Global Climate Models (GCMs) have been extensively used in many climate change impact studies. However, the coarser resolution of these GCM outputs is not adequate to assess the potential effects of climate change on local scale. Downscaling techniques have thus been proposed to resolve this problem either by dynamical or statistical approaches. The statistical downscaling (SD) methods are widely privileged because of their simplicity of implementation and use. However, many of them ignore the observed spatial dependence between different locations, which significantly affects the impact study results. An improved multi-site SD approach is thus presented in this paper to downscaling of daily precipitation at many sites concurrently. This approach is based on a combination of multiple regression models for rainfall occurrences and amounts and the Singular Value Decomposition technique, which models the stochastic components of these regression models to preserve accurately the space–time statistical properties of the daily precipitation. Furthermore, this method was able to describe adequately the intermittency property of the precipitation processes. The proposed approach has been assessed using 10 rain gauges located in the southwest region of Quebec and southeast region of Ontario in Canada, and climate predictors from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Centre for Atmospheric Research re-analysis data set. The results have indicated the ability of the proposed approach to reproduce accurately multiple observed statistical properties of the precipitation occurrences and amounts, the at-site temporal persistence, the spatial dependence between sites and the temporal variability and spatial intermittency of the precipitation processes.


Climate change Statistical downscaling Regression models Precipitation Single value decomposition Multi-site stochastic simulation 



The authors acknowledge the Data Access Integration (DAI, see Team for providing the data. The DAI data download gateway is made possible through collaboration among the Global Environmental and Climate Change Centre (GEC3), the Adaptation and Impacts Research Division (AIRD) of Environment Canada, and the Drought Research Initiative (DRI). Also, the authors acknowledge the financial support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Special Research Opportunity Program) for the project entitled “Probabilistic assessment of regional changes in climate variability and extremes”, and the “Fond Québécois de Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies”.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil Engineering and Applied MechanicsMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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