Selecting climate simulations for impact studies based on multivariate patterns of climate change

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Mendlik, Thomas, and Andreas Gobiet
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In climate change impact research it is crucial to carefully select the meteorological input for impact models. We present a method for model selection that enables the user to shrink the ensemble to a few representative members, conserving the model spread and accounting for model similarity. This is done in three steps: First, using principal component analysis for a multitude of meteorological parameters, to find common patterns of climate change within the multi-model ensemble. Second, detecting model similarities with regard to these multivariate patterns using cluster analysis. And third, sampling models from each cluster, to generate a subset of representative simulations. We present an application based on the ENSEMBLES regional multi-model ensemble with the aim to provide input for a variety of climate impact studies. We find that the two most dominant patterns of climate change relate to temperature and humidity patterns. The ensemble can be reduced from 25 to 5 simulations while still maintaining its essential characteristics. Having such a representative subset of simulations reduces computational costs for climate impact modeling and enhances the quality of the ensemble at the same time, as it prevents double-counting of dependent simulations that would lead to biased statistics.


Mendlik, Thomas, and Andreas Gobiet. 2015. “Selecting Climate Simulations for Impact Studies Based on Multivariate Patterns of Climate Change.” Climatic Change 135 (3-4): 381–93. doi:10.1007/s10584-015-1582-0.