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Exploring climate model data

The use of climate model data to assess the stability of Carbon stocks in the Bolivian Amazon


Dynamical downscaling of climate scenarios using the Hadley Centre PRECIS model requires forcing data to run. Downscaled data are used as input for impact models and assessments on biodiversity and carbon stocks.


Delivery of 4D climate data to be used as forcing data for dynamical downscaling of climate scenarios using the Hadley Centre PRECIS model. Data should be in a PRECIS compatible format and should be delivered on hard disks due to volume of the data. Many more researchers / institutes worldwide, most in developing countries, are using PRECIS.


user/climate scientist: Christian Seiler, from Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza (FAN), a nature conservation NGO in Bolivia.

Data needs

  • Needed are 4D forcing data in a format specific to PRECIS. Boundary condition data are supplied on an IDE hard drive of roughly 230GB (or possible a DLT tape). Currently only a selection of GCM runs are available as boundary conditions, mostly from HadAM3, HadCM3, ECHAM4/5, and the re-analyses projects of NCEP and ECMWF. Using forcing data from other GCMs is currently not available due to conversion issues.
  • Needed are 3D data (2D +time) of observed or analysed fields for 20th century for validation and bias-corrections.
  • Typical meteorological variables for climate impact studies include minimum, maximum and mean air temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, windspeed, incoming solar radiation, evapotranspiration and runoff. Variables should be presented as daily values and 30-year monthly means.

Typical course of events

User decides:

  • which experiment she would like data for (i.e. ERA40, control, A2),
  • whether she desires punctual or spatial data,
  • which input parameters she needs for her model,
  • what time resolution the input data should have,
  • what physical unit the data should have,
  • what format the data should be in (e.g. PRECIS and GrADS compatible formats).

Provider then:

  • extracts the requested data from the model output, using Hadley-Centre-specific .pp-scripts,
  • converts the data to desired format
  • passes data to user.

Requested flexibility

  • To deal with the wide range of user’s expectations we provide 30-year monthly mean data of the meteorological variables mentioned above, choosing the grid format of ArcGIS (commonly used by ecologists for mapping). However, experience shows that this is insufficient and ArcGIS inappropriate tool for temporal analysis
  • We therefore want to train users to use GrADS and provide them free access to daily data.

Alternative course of events

Many input models require daily data and information on climatic indices (e.g. consecutive dry days). To reduce the work of the provider we have passed all crude model outputs and installed PRECIS for the user. PRECIS includes a Hadley-centre specific analysis tool for .pp-files (optional output next to NetCDF). This gives the user total freedom on data manipulation and analysis.

References for the Use Case

  • Jones, R.G., Noguer, M., Hassell, D.C., Hudson, D., Wilson, S.S., Jenkins, G.J. and Mitchell, J.F.B. (2004) Generating high resolution climate change scenarios using PRECIS, Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK, 40pp.
  • Christian Seiler (2009) Implementation and validation of a Regional Climate Model for Bolivia. Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza (FAN-Bolivia).


The IS-ENES project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration.