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Earth System Science Data The Data Publishing Journal
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
25 Aug 2016
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD). A final paper in ESSD is not foreseen.
Dynamical Downscaling Data for Studying Climatic Impacts on Hydrology, Permafrost, and Ecosystems in Arctic Alaska
Lei Cai1, Vladimir A. Alexeev1, Christopher D. Arp2, Benjamin M. Jones3, Anna Liljedahl2, and Anne Gädeke2 1International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 930 Koyukuk Dr. Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
2Water and Environment Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 306 Tanana Loop Rd., Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
3United States Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, 4210 University Dr. Anchorage, AK 99508-4626, USA
Abstract. Climatic changes are most pronounced in northern high latitude regions. Yet, there is a paucity of observational data, both spatially and temporally, such that regional-scale dynamics are not fully captured, limiting our ability to make reliable projections. In this study, a group of dynamical downscaling products were created for the period 1950 to 2100 to better understand climate change and its impacts on hydrology, permafrost, and ecosystems at a resolution suitable for northern Alaska. An ERA-interim reanalysis dataset and the Community Earth System Model (CESM) served as the forcing mechanisms in this dynamical downscaling framework, and the Weather Research & Forecast (WRF) model, embedded with an optimization for the Arctic (Polar WRF), served as the Regional Climate Model (RCM). This downscaled output consists of multiple climatic variables (precipitation, temperature, wind speed, dew point temperature, and surface air pressure) for a 10 km grid spacing at three-hour intervals. The modeling products were evaluated and calibrated using a bias-correction approach. The ERA-interim forced WRF (ERA-WRF) produced reasonable climatic variables as a result, yielding a more closely correlated temperature field than precipitation field when long-term monthly climatology was compared with its forcing and observational data. A linear scaling method then further corrected the bias, based on ERA-interim monthly climatology, and bias-corrected ERA-WRF fields were applied as a reference for calibration of both the historical and the projected CESM forced WRF (CESM-WRF) products. Biases, such as, a cold temperature bias during summer and a warm temperature bias during winter as well as a wet bias for annual precipitation that CESM holds over northern Alaska persisted in CESM-WRF runs. The linear scaling of CESM-WRF eventually produced high-resolution downscaling products for the Alaskan North Slope for hydrological and ecological research, together with the calibrated ERA-WRF run, and its capability extends far beyond that. Other climatic research has been proposed, including exploration of historical and projected climatic extreme events and their possible connections to low-frequency sea-atmospheric oscillations, as well as near-surface permafrost degradation and ice regime shifts of lakes. These dynamically downscaled, bias corrected climatic datasets provide improved spatial and temporal resolution data necessary for ongoing modeling efforts in northern Alaska focused on reconstructing and projecting hydrologic changes, ecosystem processes and responses, and permafrost thermal regimes. The dynamical downscaling methods presented in this study can also be used to create more suitable model input datasets for other sub-regions of the Arctic. Supplementary data are available at
Citation: Cai, L., Alexeev, V. A., Arp, C. D., Jones, B. M., Liljedahl, A., and Gädeke, A.: Dynamical Downscaling Data for Studying Climatic Impacts on Hydrology, Permafrost, and Ecosystems in Arctic Alaska, Earth Syst. Sci. Data Discuss.,, 2016.
Lei Cai et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version      Supplement - Supplement
RC1: 'Review: Cai et al. Downscaling', Anonymous Referee #1, 01 Oct 2016 Printer-friendly Version 
RC2: 'Review', Anonymous Referee #2, 01 Nov 2016 Printer-friendly Version 
Lei Cai et al.

Data sets

High-resolution dynamical downscaling products for the North Slope of Alaska and surrounding areas, links to model result files Cai, Lei; Alexeev, Vladimir A; Arp, Chistopher D; Jones, Benjamin M; Liljedahl, Anna; Gädeke, Anne
Lei Cai et al.


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Short summary
This study produced a high-resolution dynamical downscaling data set for the Alaskan North Slope and surrounding areas. It helps to resolve the problem of the sparse observation over this region, where routinely and accurately measuring climatic variables is extremely difficult. This data set boosts up multiple research projects that explore the various climatic impacts over the Alaskan North Slope of the past and the future.
This study produced a high-resolution dynamical downscaling data set for the Alaskan North Slope...