A program to generate high-resolution climate data for climate change studies and applications in British Columbia and western North America
ClimateBC and Climate WNA utilize historical weather station data and global circulation model regional predictions to project future seasonal and annual climate variables in BC and western North America. The programs extract and downscale PRISM (Daly et al. 2002) monthly data (2.5 x 2.5 arcmin) for the reference period (1961-1990), and calculate seasonal and annual climate variables for specific locations based on latitude, longitude and elevation (optional). The programs also downscale and integrates historical (1901-2011) (ver 3.1, Mitchell and Jones 2005 for 1901-2009) and future climate data sets (2020s, 2050s and 2080s) generated by various global circulation models. The output includes both directly calculated and derived climate variables. There are 21 annual, 48 seasonal and 144 monthly climate variables. Methodologies are described in Wang et al. (2006, 2012).
The programs use a combination of bilinear interpolation and elevation adjustment to downscale the baseline climate data (1961-1990 normals) into scale-free point data. Partial derivative elevation adjustment functions, developed individually for each monthly temperature variable, are applied to bilinearly interpolated baseline data. For precipitation variables, only bilinear interpolation is applied for the downscaling. For historical and future climate data, the downscaling is achieved through a delta approach by adding anomalies of historical years or future periods to the scale-free baseline data generated at run-time by the program. With this approach, the errors associated with the baseline data in the historical and future climate data are substantially reduced (Wang et al. 2012). The effect of the downscaling is illustrated below:
Both programs are freely available in a stand-alone desktop version or Google Map based web-version. The desktop versions are more robust, allowing users to generate and view data for more than one location at a time, which can be done using input coordinate files for a period or a time series. The web-based versions are designed for periodic users or those with program installation restrictions on their computers.
The web-based version of Climate BC also serves as an interactive platform to visualize (and download) spatial climate data over top of ecosystem classification and forest tree species bioclimate envelopes for British Columbia.
“ClimateBC; modeling climates in BC forest ecosystems“, Forest Genetics Council Annual Report 2011-2012 (see page 14 in the PDF report).
“Climate-based seed transfer“, Forest Genetics Council Annual Report 2012-2013 (see page 15 in the PDF report).
Funding: NSERC Strategic Grant, BIOCAP Canada Foundation, FIA through Forest Genetics Council of BC, NSERC Industry Chair, Future Forest Ecosystems Scientific Council of British Columbia
ClimateBC version 5.04 (version history) was released on November 29, 2014. The version 5 (released in Feb., 2014) was a major update from the previous version (version 4.72). The new features include: 1) new PRISM baseline data at a higher spatial resolution; 2) improved downscaling algorithms; 3) new version of historical climate data (1901-2012); 4) recently released IPCC AR5 GCM projections; and 5) monthly solar radiation data added. A summary of evaluation of ClimateBC v500 is available to download.
To install this program, download the “ClimateBC_v504.zip” file (175MB), extract or unzip all contents (700MB) to a local folder on your machine, and double click on the executable file “ClimateBC_v5.04.exe”. If the program will not run, install this executable library file and try again. If you are not able to install the library file, you can run a reduced version of ClimateBC (same functionality but without a progress bar) “ClimateBC_v5.04_npb.exe”. Information on climate variables and further instructions can be found in the help file.
ClimateBC spatial data source:
Spatial climate datasets for BC generated using ClimateBC for the reference normal period 1961-1990 and the future periods 2011-2040, 2041-2070 and 2071-2100 can be downloaded here. The spatial datasets are in ArcGIS raster format at the spatial resolution of 800 x 800 meter, and include three RCPs and three GCMs from the IPCC Fifth Assessment (AR5).
ClimateWNA version 4.85 (version history) has incorporated CRU version 3.21 for historical years (1901-2012) and IPCC AR5 GCMs for future periods (2020s, 2050s and 2080s) and years (2011-2100). There are 35 climate change scenarios for periods and three for individual years from IPCC AR5. This program can be downloaded here (“ClimateWNA_v485.zip” (99MB)). The program will take 500MB of disk space.
To install and run, just unzip all contents to a local folder on your machine and double click on the executable file “ClimateWNA_v4.85.exe”. The programs should run on Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP/Vista/7 without an installation on most systems. However, if the program will not run, install this executable library file and try again. If you are not able to install the library file, you can run a reduced version of ClimateWNA (same functionality but without a progress bar) “ClimateWNA_v4.85_npb.exe” included in the package. Information on climate variables and further instructions can be found in the help file. The program can run on Linux, Unix and Mac systems with the free software Wine or MacPorts/Wine.
Link to the web-based version of ClimateWNA.