The Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research has developed a regional climate model that can be run on a PC and can be applied easily to any area of the globe to generate detailed climate-change predictions. The intention is to make this modelling system, PRECIS (Providing Regional Climates for Impacts Studies), freely available to groups of developing countries so that they can develop climate-change scenarios at national centres of expertise. As part of this activity, they can use local data to assess model performance in their region, and hence confidence in predictions.
Regional climate models have a much higher resolution than global climate models and, as a result, provide climate information with finer detail, including generally more realistic, local extreme events. Thus regional climate models have the potential to produce substantially improved assessments of a country's vulnerability to climate change and how it can adapt.
The quality of regional predictions is limited by the uncertainties in the global models that drive them. PRECIS will be supplied to users together with a training course which will explain not only the uses and advantages of the model, but also its limitations. They will be encouraged to use PRECIS as one of a number of tools for the development of scenarios, including global models.
The PRECIS regional climate model is already being used to generate scenarios for India, China and southern Africa.
Meteorological Office, Hadley Centre, Bracknell, UK, 16 pp.