Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) in Monsoon Asia

The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) has established a major project called Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX), aimed at promoting regional climate science and applications based on the utilisation of the output of global climate models.  Downscaling techniques, including both dynamical and statistical approaches, are used to extend the value of global climate models by providing high-resolution climate information that can be utilised by the vulnerability, impact and adaptation (VIA) community for the assessment of the impacts of climate change and variability on human systems and natural ecosystems.

The science of downscaling has evolved with the continuing improvements in global climate models, but there are uncertainties (including the inherent uncertainties associated with the chaotic nature of the climate system) in both the global model output and in the downscaled projections of regional climate.  In establishing CORDEX, the WCRP recognised the need to promote close interaction between the climate modelling-downscaling communities and the VIA communities in order to ensure that downscaled climate information is utilised appropriately.  This two-way process involves the climate communities better understanding the requirements for the application of climate information and the VIA community recognising the strengths and weaknesses of the data provided through downscaling.

Recognising the regional nature of downscaling and VIA applications, the CORDEX program has identified a number of distinct regions across the globe, in which focused downscaling and associated applications can be carried out.  Across monsoon Asia, there are CORDEX regions for South Asia, East Asia and South East Asia.  Coordinated activities are being carried out in each region to achieve the aims of CORDEX.

While the development of activities in each sub-region of monsoon Asia is appropriate and effective, it is clear that there are commonalities across the region in features of climate, ecology, and human activity that suggest that, while the modelling and specific downscaling are best carried out for each sub-region, the analysis and application of downscaling can be conducted collaboratively across the region.  The proposed project therefore aims to build on those commonalities and to bring together the downscaling and VIA communities of monsoon Asia.

The project will involve three workshops, each with about 25 participants.  While most participants for each workshop will come from the local sub-region, key representatives of the communities in the other two sub-regions will also participate.  The workshops will be focused on the assessment and application of downscaling, and will cover state-of-the-art climate downscaling research, training and capacity building.  Participants will be involved in the formulation of key science and VIA questions to be considered at the workshops.

Planning for each workshop will be carried out by the project organising group (M. Manton, Australia; R. Krishnan, India; Won Tae Kwon, Korea; J. Evans, Australia; Shuyu Wang, China; Mandira Shrestha, Nepal) with support from Ailikun at the MAIRS IPO and representatives of the local host institution.  M. Rixen from the WCRP JPS will be kept in contact with the organising group, and will be involved in the continuing coordination and assessment of the project.

The participants in the three workshops will come from a  range of backgrounds, covering modelling, downscaling and the applications of downscaled output. While most participants will be from the region of the workshop location, scientists from all the monsoon Asia regions of CORDEX will be involved in recognition of the common issues associated with the use of model output across monsoon Asia. The main aim is to promote collaboration among the different groups of expertise so that model output is tailored to the needs for the application community and that the users of model output are aware of the capabilities and limitations of models and downscaling methods. We expect about half the participants to come from the modelling and downscaling community and half to come from the applications community. In order to promote the aims of the overall program, it is anticipated that some key program managers will also participate in the workshops. Thus, on the basis of CVs, participants will be selected to ensure that there is an appropriate balance of expertise across the topical sectors for the region. It will also be important to ensure that there is an appropriate gender balance and that all participants are well motivated to work collaboratively and to share their expertise and experience. It is expected that financial support will be the limiting factor on the number of participants.

With three-day workshops, it will be possible to include key experts and to allow adequate time for discussion and exchanges.  The specific format for each workshop will account for local issues, but each workshop will allow for the presentation and discussion of current research, the identification of key issues in both downscaling and its application in each sub-region, and the consideration of future activities that are needed to resolve the key issues.  Where appropriate, examples of the assessment and application of local downscaled datasets will be discussed.  A report will be prepared from each workshop, together with an overall regional report at the conclusion of the third workshop.  Opportunities for publications in the scientific literature will be sought from each workshop.

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