Statistical downscaling in the tropics can be sensitive to reanalysis choice: A case study for precipitation in the Philippines
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AuthorGarcía Manzanas, Rodrigo; Brands, Swen Franz; San Martín Segura, Daniel; Lucero, Anthony Joseph; Limbo, Carlo A.; Gutiérrez Llorente, José Manuel
This work shows that local-scale climate projections obtained by means of statistical downscaling are sensitive to the choice of reanalysis used for calibration. To this aim, a generalized linear model (GLM) approach is applied to downscale daily precipitation in the Philippines. First, the GLMs are trained and tested separately with two distinct reanalyses (ERA-Interim and JRA-25) using a cross-validation scheme over the period 1981–2000. When the observed and downscaled time series are compared, the attained performance is found to be sensitive to the reanalysis considered if climate change signal–bearing variables (temperature and/or specific humidity) are included in the predictor field. Moreover, performance differences are shown to be in correspondence with the disagreement found between the raw predictors from the two reanalyses. Second, the regression coefficients calibrated either with ERA-Interim or JRA-25 are subsequently applied to the output of a global climate model (MPI-ECHAM5) in order to assess the sensitivity of local-scale climate change projections (up to 2100) to reanalysis choice. In this case, the differences detected in present climate conditions are considerably amplified, leading to “delta-change” estimates differing by up to 35% (on average for the entire country) depending on the reanalysis used for calibration. Therefore, reanalysis choice is an important contributor to the uncertainty of local-scale climate change projections and, consequently, should be treated with as much care as other better-known sources of uncertainty (e.g., the choice of the GCM and/or downscaling method). Implications of the results for the entire tropics, as well as for the model output statistics downscaling approach are also briefly discussed.