Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 124, Issue 1–2, pp 281–289 | Cite as

A combined dynamical and statistical downscaling technique to reduce biases in climate projections: an example for winter precipitation and snowpack in the western United States

  • R. LiEmail author
  • S.-Y. Wang
  • R. R. Gillies
Original Paper


Large biases associated with climate projections are problematic when it comes to their regional application in the assessment of water resources and ecosystems. Here, we demonstrate a method that can reduce systematic biases in regional climate projections. The global and regional climate models employed to demonstrate the technique are the Community Climate System Model (CCSM) and the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The method first utilized a statistical regression technique and a global reanalysis dataset to correct biases in the CCSM-simulated variables (e.g., temperature, geopotential height, specific humidity, and winds) that are subsequently used to drive the WRF model. The WRF simulations were conducted for the western United States and were driven with (a) global reanalysis, (b) original CCSM, and (c) bias-corrected CCSM data. The bias-corrected CCSM data led to a more realistic regional climate simulation of precipitation and associated atmospheric dynamics, as well as snow water equivalent (SWE), in comparison to the original CCSM-driven WRF simulation. Since most climate applications rely on existing global model output as the forcing data (i.e., they cannot re-run or change the global model), which often contain large biases, this method provides an effective and economical tool to reduce biases in regional climate downscaling simulations of water resource variables.


Root Mean Square Deviation Snow Water Equivalent Dynamical Downscaling Community Climate System Model Ageostrophic Wind 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to acknowledge our funding from Bureau of Reclamation (project No: R11AC81456 and R13AC80039) in support of this research. We thank the reviewers and editor for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Utah Climate CenterUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plants, Soils, and ClimateUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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