Open Access from Environmetrics: Spatio-temporal downscaling emulator for regional climate models

Every week, we select a recently published Open Access article to feature. This week’s article is from Environmetrics and shows how to use a downscaling emulator for Regional climate models using varying coefficients. 

The article’s abstract is given below, with the full article available to read here. 

Barboza, L. A.Chou Chen, S. W.Alfaro Córdoba, M.Alfaro, E. J., & Hidalgo, H. G. (2023). Spatio-temporal downscaling emulator for regional climate modelsEnvironmetrics, e2815.

Regional climate models (RCM) describe the mesoscale global atmospheric and oceanic dynamics and serve as dynamical downscaling models. In other words, RCMs use atmospheric and oceanic climate output from general circulation models (GCM) to develop a higher resolution climate output. They are computationally demanding and, depending on the application, require several orders of magnitude of compute time more than statistical climate downscaling. In this article, we describe how to use a spatio-temporal statistical model with varying coefficients (VC), as a downscaling emulator for a RCM using VC. In order to estimate the proposed model, two options are compared: INLA, and varycoef. We set up a simulation to compare the performance of both methods for building a statistical downscaling emulator for RCM, and then show that the emulator works properly for NARCCAP data. The results show that the model is able to estimate non-stationary marginal effects, which means that the downscaling output can vary over space. Furthermore, the model has flexibility to estimate the mean of any variable in space and time, and has good prediction results. INLA was the fastest method for all the cases, and the approximation with best accuracy to estimate the different parameters from the model and the posterior distribution of the response variable.

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