Demonstration of a geostatistical approach to physically consistent downscaling of climate modeling simulations

Sanjeev Kumar Jha, Gregoire Mariethoz, Jason P. Evans, Matthew McCabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


A downscaling approach based on multiple-point geostatistics (MPS) is presented. The key concept underlying MPS is to sample spatial patterns from within training images, which can then be used in characterizing the relationship between different variables across multiple scales. The approach is used here to downscale climate variables including skin surface temperature (TSK), soil moisture (SMOIS), and latent heat flux (LH). The performance of the approach is assessed by applying it to data derived from a regional climate model of the Murray-Darling basin in southeast Australia, using model outputs at two spatial resolutions of 50 and 10 km. The data used in this study cover the period from 1985 to 2006, with 1985 to 2005 used for generating the training images that define the relationships of the variables across the different spatial scales. Subsequently, the spatial distributions for the variables in the year 2006 are determined at 10 km resolution using the 50 km resolution data as input. The MPS geostatistical downscaling approach reproduces the spatial distribution of TSK, SMOIS, and LH at 10 km resolution with the correct spatial patterns over different seasons, while providing uncertainty estimates through the use of multiple realizations. The technique has the potential to not only bridge issues of spatial resolution in regional and global climate model simulations but also in feature sharpening in remote sensing applications through image fusion, filling gaps in spatial data, evaluating downscaled variables with available remote sensing images, and aggregating/disaggregating hydrological and groundwater variables for catchment studies.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-259
Number of pages15
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 24 2013

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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