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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: data description paper 02 Apr 2020

Submitted as: data description paper | 02 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

An update of IPCC climate reference regions for subcontinental analysis of climate model data: Definition and aggregated datasets

Maialen Iturbide1, José Manuel Gutiérrez1, Lincoln Muniz Alves2, Joaquín Bedia3, Ezequiel Cimadevilla3, Antonio S. Cofiño3, Ruth Cerezo-Mota4, Alejandro Di Luca5, Sergio Henrique Faria6, Irina Gorodetskaya7, Mathias Hauser8, Sixto Herrera3, Helene T. Hewitt9, Kevin J. Hennessy10, Richard G. Jones9,11, Svitlana Krakovska12,13, Rodrigo Manzanas14, Daniel Marínez-Castro15,16, Gemma Teressa Narisma17, Intan S. Nurhati18, Izidine Pinto19, Sonia I. Seneviratne8, Bart van den Hurk20, and Carolina S. Vera21 Maialen Iturbide et al.
  • 1Grupo de Meteorología, Instituto de Física de Cantabria (CSIC-UC), Santander, Spain
  • 2National Institute for Space Research, Săo José dos Campos, Brazil
  • 3Grupo de Meteorología, Dpto. Metemática Aplicada y C.C., University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain
  • 4Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico City, Mexico
  • 5Climate Change Research Centre and ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  • 6BC3 - Basque Centre for Climate Change, IKERBASQUE - Basque Foundation for Science, Bilbao, Spain
  • 7Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies Department of Physics, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
  • 8Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 9Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 10CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Canberra, Australia
  • 11School of Geography and Environment, University of Oxford, UK
  • 12Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute, Kyiv, Ukraine
  • 13State Institution National Antarctic Scientific Center, Kyiv, Ukraine
  • 14Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), WGI-TSU, Université Paris-Saclay, Paris, France
  • 15Instituto de Meteorología de Cuba, La Habana, Cuba
  • 16Instituto Geofísico del Perú, Lima, Perú
  • 17Manila Observatory, Ateneo de Manila University campus, Quezon City, Philippines
  • 18Research Center for Oceanography. Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 19Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG), University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • 20DELTARES, Delft, The Netherlands
  • 21Departamento de Ciencias de la Atmósfera y los Océanos, FCEyN-UBA, Centro de Investigaciones del Mar y la Atmósfera (CIMA), Instituto Franco Argentino sobre Estudios de Clima y sus Impactos (UMI IFAECI)/CNRS-CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Abstract. Several sets of reference regions have been proposed in the literature for the regional synthesis of observed and model-projected climate change information. A popular example is the set of reference regions introduced in the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Adaptation (SREX) based on a prior coarser selection and then slightly modified for the 5th Assessment Report of the IPCC. This set was developed for reporting sub-continental observed and projected changes over a reduced number (33) of climatologically consistent regions encompassing a representative number of grid boxes (the typical resolution of the 5th Climate Model Intercomparison Projection, CMIP5, climate models was around 2º). These regions have been used as the basis for several popular spatially aggregated datasets, such as the seasonal mean temperature and precipitation in IPCC regions for CMIP5.

Here we present an updated version of the reference regions for the analysis of new observed and simulated datasets (including CMIP6) which offer an opportunity for refinement due to the higher model resolution (around 1º for CMIP6). As a result, the number of regions increased to 43 land plus 12 open ocean, better representing consistent regional climate features. The paper describes the rationale followed for the definition of the new regions and analyses their homogeneity. The regions are defined as polygons and are provided as coordinates and shapefile together with companion R and Python notebooks to illustrate their use in practical problems (trimming data, etc.). We also describe the generation of a new dataset with monthly temperature and precipitation spatially aggregated in the new regions, currently for CMIP5 (for backwards consistency) and CMIP6, to be extended to other datasets in the future (including observations). The use of these reference regions, dataset and code is illustrated through a worked example using scatter diagrams to offer guidance on the likely range of future climate change at the scale of reference regions. The regions, datasets and code (R and Python notebooks) are freely available at the ATLAS GitHub repository;, doi:10.5281/zenodo.3688072 (Iturbide et al., 2020).

Maialen Iturbide et al.

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Maialen Iturbide et al.

Maialen Iturbide et al.


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Latest update: 09 Jul 2020
Short summary
We present an update of the IPCC AR5 WGI climatic reference regions for the regional synthesis of model-projected climate change information (in particular for the new CMIP6 simulations). The new regions increase the climatic consistency and are suitable for model representation. We also present a new dataset of monthly CMIP5/6 spatially aggregated information using the new reference regions and describe a worked-out example on how to use this dataset to inform regional climate change studies.
We present an update of the IPCC AR5 WGI climatic reference regions for the regional synthesis...