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A Finer Picture Will Help Prepare for Climate Extremes


Global climate model representation of California elevations (left) compared to LOCA


The California Energy Commission, as part of a collaboration of university, government and private sector researchers has debuted a next-generation tool to examine how a changing climate will impact local regions from northern Mexico to southern Canada.

The tool is a modeling dataset produced by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. The researchers developed a new climate “downscaling” method for global climate models known as localized constructed analogs (LOCA). Global climate model pixels can be a hundred miles across, which is too coarse to study local impacts of climate change. LOCA downscaling estimates finer-scale climate details by using a new high-resolution historical observation dataset.

The finer view has been used for California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, the latest in a series of California state climate studies undertaken since 2006. The assessment relies on regionally specific climate projections to understand climate change impacts across the state. The Fourth Assessment, to be completed in 2018, will investigate implications of potential climate change on several sectors including energy, health, wildfire, water and other natural resources in California.

The datasets are available for public use. The LOCA data sets are used on the Energy Commission’s Cal-adapt website where one can explore projected changes in temperature and precipitation in a specific area over the coming century.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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