Main content area

Assessment of climate change impact over California using dynamical downscaling with a bias correction technique: method validation and analyses of summertime results

Zhao, Zhan, Di, Pingkuan, Chen, Shu-hua, Avise, Jeremy, Kaduwela, Ajith, DaMassa, John
Climate dynamics 2020 v.54 no.7-8 pp. 3705-3728
air, climate, climate change, coasts, drought, heat, humidity, mixing, mixing ratio, mountains, simulation models, summer, surface temperature, water vapor, weather research and forecasting model, wind, winter, Central Valley of California
This study explores climate-change influences on future air pollution-relevant meteorological variables (e.g., temperature, wind, humidity, boundary layer heights) and atmospheric phenomena (e.g., heat wave, marine air penetration, droughts) over California by the 2050s. The Community Earth System Model simulation results from Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 under an emission scenario that most closely aligns with California’s climate change goals were bias-corrected with respect to North American Regional Reanalysis data to reduce biases in both the climatological mean and inter-annual variations. The bias-corrected ~ 1° × 1° meteorological fields were dynamically downscaled to a resolution of 4 km × 4 km over California using the Weather Research and Forecasting model. This study focuses on summertime results, while the analysis of wintertime results will be presented in a separate paper. Our downscaled results projected a future increase of approximately 1 K in summer mean surface temperature over California under this single future climate realization. The temperature increase is larger in the nighttime than in the daytime. Water vapor mixing ratio is also projected to increase over California and off the coast. There are discernable decreases in boundary layer heights over the mountain ranges surrounding the central valley of California, while increases in boundary layer heights are observed over other regions in California. The number and duration of heat wave events are projected to increase substantially over the most populated parts of the State. The occurrence of marine air penetration events over the northern California is also projected to increase in the future.