News & AnalysisGlobal Change

Forecasting Regional Climate Change Flunks Its First Test

Science  08 Feb 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6120, pp. 638
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6120.638

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Summary

The strengthening greenhouse is warming the world, but what about your backyard, or at least your region? It's hard to say, climate researchers concede. Modelers have sharpened their tools enough to project declining grape yields in a warmer, drier California wine country and to forecast that the Mediterranean region will be getting drier in coming decades. But just how reliable such localized projections might be remains unclear. Now, a group of global, rather than regional, modelers has tested a widely used regional model by simulating climate change, not just static past climate. Preliminary results show that the model improved little if at all on the fuzzy view of future climate provided by a globe-spanning model.