Globally downscaled climate projections
for assessing the conservation impacts of
One of Conservation International's goals is to assess the impact of climate change on conservation in terms of preserving biodiversity, promoting ecosystem health, and ensuring human well being. Identifying priority conservation areas with high biodiversity and multiple ecosystem services such as water, carbon, and agriculture is necessary to adopt the appropriate adaptation and mitigation measures in the face of climate change.
Evaluating the potential impact of 21st century climate change on species distributions and ecological processes requires climate scenarios with sufficient spatial resolution to represent the varying effects of climate change across heterogeneous physical, biological, and cultural landscapes. To meet the immediate demand for finer scale future climate projections, Conservation International in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) have developed 10-minute and 2.5-minute resolution, future climate datasets to provide researchers the capacity for high-resolution, global-scale, model ensemble assessments of climate change impact on biological and ecological systems.
We have downscaled temperature and precipitation projections from the World Climate Research Programme's (WCRP's) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) multi-model dataset to 10-minute and 2.5-minute resolutions. We use the change-factor approach to downscale and debias simulations using the observational data from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) for the 10-minute downscales and from Worldclim for the 2.5-minute downscales.