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Contribución Española al desarrollo del Atlas del IPCC-AR6: Desarrollo y problemas científicos

micin-aei-atlas_en.png Project type: National project
Funding institution: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación / Agencia Estatal de Investigación
Code: PID2019-111481RB-I00
Period: October 2020 - September 2023
Status: In progress


The IPCC is preparing a new product (the Interactive online Atlas) as part of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) with the objective of innovating new mechanisms to deliver the assessment of regional climate information to stakeholders in a flexible and comprehensive way (all previous reports included only printed material). Key features of the Interactive Atlas will include maps and time series of historical and projected climate changes combining multiple sources of data from modelling inter-comparison initiatives (mainly CMIP6 and CORDEX), as well as observations,/reanalyses, underpinning findings of the underlying report chapters (e.g. the role of observational uncertainty). The Interactive Atlas will allow for a flexible spatial and temporal analysis of the results (e.g. flexibility in the selection of seasons, reference regions, baselines and future periods –or warming levels–), focusing not only on mean (precipitation and temperature) changes, but also on specific sectoral climate indices and hazards (e.g. ETCCDI extreme indices) assessed in the underlying chapters. This poses several technical and scientific challenges, from data management (accessing, postprocessing and consolidating the huge amount of information from different sources) to new research on trend-preserving bias adjustment techniques suitable to produce plausible regional climate projections for climate indices and hazards from both global and regional projections. The
development of the Interactive Atlas is coordinated by the research team proposing this project (led by José Manuel Gutiérrez, who is a Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC-AR6 Atlas chapter).

The present project has the main objective of supporting the Spanish contribution to this (unfunded) high impact and visibility Atlas initiative focusing on both the technical and scientific challenges. The main deliverable of the project will be the development, hosting and maintenance/updating of the IPCC-AR6 Interactive Atlas which is estimated to have thousands of visits per day. Therefore, the activities of the present project are aligned with the timeline of the IPCC AR6, including the development of the Interactive Atlas (by mid 2021), and the maintenance and extension of the Interactive Atlas to consolidate this product during the three following years, until the start of the next IPCC cycle. Besides this IPCC contributing developments, the present project will capitalize these activities to develop new sectoral impact studies in a number of sectors where the group has previous experience and ongoing collaborations: health, biodiversity, and fire risk. The objective there is to use the new strategic datasets (CMIP6 and CORDEX) to update previous findings in the light of the new scenario data (using either time-slices or warming levels, when appropriate).

The research on trend-preserving bias adjustment techniques (which will be the scope for a PhD Thesis in this project) is an important and timely topic since there are a number of techniques available, with different properties (preserving only changes in the mean or in quantiles), more or less suitable for extremes, but none of them has shown to be superior to the others and, moreover, all are problematic for multivariate (e.g. multisite) implementations. In this Project we will test the use of machine learning (in particular convolutional neural networks) to this problem due to the adequacy of these models for spatiotemporal problems.