Making regional climate model outputs for Hawaiʻi more accessible to a diverse user community

The Hawaiian Islands are both biologically and ecologically diverse. To better manage and understand this diverse landscape, detailed and reliable projections of future changes in climate are needed by Hawai‘i resource managers, such as land managers, conservation organizations, and decision makers. Global climate models (or “general circulation models”) produce projections at regional or global scales, which are of limited value for managers of small island resources. Currently, large scale projections are commonly “downscaled” to forecast future climate variations and conditions at the local scale. However, dynamical downscaling models produce huge output datasets that are often difficult to access and use due to their sheer size and the technical details of data formatting, reducing the utility of these data for those who most need this information. It is vital for the proper management of the Hawaiian Islands that more detailed information about possible future climate conditions be made accessible so that resource managers may better understand what changes might occur over geographically limited areas and in specific environmentally and socially important locations.

The objective of this project is to make downscaled climate model outputs for Hawaiʻi more accessible to users, including resource managers and decision makers. The project team plans to develop and apply computer code to extract, re-format, and re-project model data, and make them publicly available. Researchers will also share the computer code and guidance documentation to enable others to access the data from similar downscaled data sets.

Map of the Hawaiian Island chain is colored in bands, illustrating the strong variability of temperatures around and across the islands
Strong topographic gradients in the Hawaiian Islands mean that temperatures vary in great detail across the state, making it critical that climate projections be available at high-resolution for managers planning for the future. (Map: Climate of Hawaiʻi interactive maps)




Tom Giambelluca
Professor of Geography, UH Mānoa


Oliver Elison Timm
Research Assoc. Professor of Atmospheric and Environmental Science, University of Albany