The aim of this paper is to discuss the issues and challenges associated with statistical downscaling of general circulation model (GCM) outputs to hydroclimatic variables at catchment scale and also to discuss potential solutions to address these issues and challenges. Outputs of GCMs (predictors of statistical downscaling models) suffer a considerable degree of uncertainty, mainly due to the lack of theoretical robustness caused by the limited understanding of various physical processes of the atmosphere and the incomplete mathematical representation of those processes in GCMs. The presence of several future GHG emission scenarios with equal likelihood of occurrence leads to scenario uncertainty. Outputs of a downscaling study are dependent on the quality and the length of the record of field observations, as statistical downscaling models are calibrated and validated against these observations of the hydroclimatic variables (predictands of statistical downscaling models). The downscaled results vary from one statistical downscaling technique to another due to different representations of the predictor–predictand relationships. Also different techniques used in selecting the predictors for statistical downscaling models influence the model outputs. Although statistical downscaling faces these issues, it is still considered as a potential method of predicting the catchment scale hydroclimatology from GCM outputs.
Statistical downscaling of general circulation model outputs to catchment scale hydroclimatic variables: issues, challenges and possible solutions
D. A. Sachindra, F. Huang, A. Barton, B. J. C. Perera; Statistical downscaling of general circulation model outputs to catchment scale hydroclimatic variables: issues, challenges and possible solutions. Journal of Water and Climate Change 1 December 2014; 5 (4): 496–525. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wcc.2014.056
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