Robock et al., 1993 Robock, Alan, Richard P. Turco, Mark A. Harwell, Thomas P. Ackerman, Rigoberto Andressen, Hsin-shih Chang and M. V. K. Sivakumar, 1993: Use of general circulation model output in the creation of climate change scenarios for impact analysis. Climatic Change, 23, 293-335.


Many scientific studies warn of a rapid global climate change during the next century. These changes are understood with much less certainty on a regional scale than on a global scale, but effects on ecosystems and society will occur at local and regional scales. Consequently, in order to study the true impacts of climate change, regional scenarios of future climate are needed. One of the most important sources of information for creating scenarios is the output from general circulation models (GCMs) of the climate system. However, current state-of-the-art GCMs are unable to simulate accurately even the current seasonal cycle of climate on a regional basis. Thus the simple technique of adding the difference between 2xCO2 and 1xCO2 GCM simulations to current climatic time series cannot produce scenarios with appropriate spatial and temporal details without corrections for model deficiencies.

In this study a technique is developed to allow the information from GCM simulations to be used, while accommodating for the deficiencies. GCM output is combined with knowledge of the regional climate to produce scenarios of the equilibrium climate response to a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration for three case study regions, China, Sub-Saharan Africa and Venezuela, for use in biological effects models. By combining the general climate change calculated with several GCMs with the observed patterns of interannual climate variability, reasonable scenarios of temperature and precipitation variations can be created. Generalizations of this procedure to other regions of the world are discussed.

Prepared by Alan Robock ( ) - Last updated on April 2, 1999