The North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program
(NARCCAP) is an international program to produce high resolution
climate change simulations in order to investigate uncertainties in
regional scale projections of future climate and generate climate
change scenarios for use in impacts research.
NARCCAP modelers are running a set of regional climate models
(RCMs) driven by a set of atmosphere-ocean general circulation models
(AOGCMs) over a domain covering the conterminous United States and
most of Canada.
The AOGCMs have been forced with the SRES
A2 emissions scenario for the 21st century. Simulations with
these models were also produced for the current (historical)
period. The RCMs are nested within the AOGCMs for the current period
1971-2000 and for the future period 2041-2070. As a preliminary step
to evaluate the performance of the RCMs over North America, the RCMS
are driven with NCEP
Reanalysis II data for the period 1979-2004. All the RCMs are run
at a spatial resolution of 50 km.
— AOGCM Characteristics
— RCM/GCM combinations.
NARCCAP also includes two timeslice
experiments at 50 km resolution using the GFDL atmospheric model
(AM2.1) and the NCAR CCSM atmospheric model (CAM3). In a timeslice
experiment, the atmospheric component of an AOGCM is run using
observed sea surface temperatures and sea ice boundaries for the
historical run, and those same observations combined with
perturbations from the future AOGCM for the scenario run. Omitting
the coupled ocean model saves considerable computation and allows the
atmospheric model to be run at higher resolution.
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We envision three main types of NARCCAP users:
- Those who want to perform analyses on the NARCCAP output (e.g.,
for a particular subdomain).
- Those who want to use the results as climate scenarios for
performing impacts studies (e.g. on agriculture, water
- Those who want to use the results for performing further
downscaling experiments, either via higher resolution RCM
simulations or statistical downscaling.