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Introduction to Climate Change & Concept of Downscaling Approaches

Course Name: 
Climate Change Downscaling Approaches and Applications - Course 1 (2015)
  • General idea of Atmospheric Science
  • Introduction to Science of Climate Change, Climate Variability and Climate Change, Observed Climate Changes
  • Concept and Evolution of Climate Models, Projection of Future Climate Change and Uncertainties
  • Introduction to Downscaling Methods and its Advantages and Limitations
  • IPCC Assessment Report 5


These lectures provide information relating to 1) Concept of “Climate Change” with number of examples on past trends in atmospheric as well as surface parameters; 2) Need of projection of “Climate Change” with different future scenarios; 3) Projection by “Global Climate Model” for future global climate; 4) Need for downscaling for specific regions for risk assessment and adaptation. It concludes with introduction to dynamical and statistical downscaling with advantages and limitations.


Climate variability and climate change are the key issues in respect of global warming and future sustainable developments. In these lectures, an attempt will be made to cover all the basics as well as conceptions on science of climate change in the view of trends in atmospheric and surface parameters such as temperature, rainfall, sea-level, snow cover etc. in past years. Also projection of the “near future” and “far future” of global climate by climate models and its uncertainty will be discussed. As we know there is a substantial gap for studying the regional climate as global climate models are in very coarse resolutions. Therefore for regional assessment of climate change, impact studies and adaptation strategies there is a need to apply downscaling approaches. The two important down scaling approaches: “Dynamical” and “Statistical” will be addressed with their merits and limitations in the context of application for location specific vulnerability, risk assessment and adaptation strategies.

Outline of the Lectures

First Lecture

Basic concept on earths Atmosphere Weather and climate
Principles of weather and climate
Type of forces in the atmosphere

Global energy budget Hydrological cycle Atmospheric general circulation Variability in atmosphere

  •   Introduction to climate system and climate variability Climate system and its component
    Definition of climate variability
    Indices of climate variability

    Trends in climate variability indices

  •   Introduction to climate change Science of climate change

    Difference between climate change and climate variability Factors affecting climate change
    Natural Forcing
    Anthropogenic Forcing

  •   Evidence of climate change (Observational aspects) Global mean temperature
    Precipitation trend
    Ocean response(sea surface temperature, sea level) Cryosphere (glaciers, sea ice)

  •   Consequences of observed changes (Extreme weather events) Heavy precipitation
    Tropical cyclone
    Sea water inundation

    Flood, Drought etc.

    Second Lecture

  •   Concept and Evolution of Climate models Need of climate models Introduction
    Types of climate models
    Progressive development

    Reliability and limitations
    Projection of future climate and Uncertainties Glimpse of previous IPCC assessment
    Future projection of various climate parameters Projected changes in extreme weather events Uncertainties in future projections

  •   Introduction to downscaling methods
    Need of downscaling
    Different downscaling approaches
    Brief idea on various downscaling methodologies
    Few experimental results on future projection using downscaling techniques Merits and limitations

IPCC assessment with special reference on AR5 New aspects covered in AR5
Probable completion dates of AR5 programme Different new scenarios

Need of new scenario

Learning Outcomes

From these lectures participants should be able to improve their understanding the science of climate variability and climate change. Also they will feel the importance of downscaling for understanding the regional climate change and direction for use of GCM products in a regional impacts assessment and adaptation studies.

On completion of the lectures course the participants should be able to demonstrate:

  1. Knowledge of fundamental concepts relating to atmospheric processes, weather systems and climate.

  2. Deeper understanding of the nature and causes of climate variability and climate change.

  3. The ability to apply their understanding of the science of past and future climate change to complex problems in the science (e.g. attributing the causes of climate change; rates of change; scenario development).

  4. Understanding of the evolution and the performance of global climate models for simulating the climate.

  5. Detailed description of statistical and dynamical downscaling also to be delivered in the lectures will help to understand local aspects of climate changes from global prospective.


Tropical Climatology by G R McGreger and S. Nieuwolt(1998).

Climate dynamics of the tropics by S. Hastenrath (1987).

IPCC 2007, Climate Change. 2007. The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, edited by S. Solomon et al., Cambridge Univ. Press, New York, pp. 996

From AR4 to AR5: new Scenarios in the IPCC Process edited by Gian-Kasper Plattner & Thomas Stocker (2011)


Quantification of the contributions of anthropogenic and natural forcing Global to regional aspects of Extreme weather events
Uncertainties associated with climate variables i.e. uncertainties in forcing such as aerosols.

UC Mohanty

Professor Indian Institute of Technology Bhubaneswar

Prof. U. C. Mohanty has made outstanding contribution in the field of tropical meteorology, in particular, Asian summer monsoon dynamics, tropical cyclone, numerical weather prediction and regional climate modeling.