Wisconsin’s geographical setting gives rise to a rich set of climatic conditions that help shape our state’s environmental, social and economic resources. In the coming decades, we can anticipate that these influences on state resources will be affected in both expected and unexpected ways as our climate changes. The Climate Working Group brings together climate experts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to understand and assess Wisconsin's past, present, and future climate.
The climate scientists in the Climate Working Group are assessing the current and future state of Wisconsin's climate as well as previous climate changes using a blend of station observations, other existing data sources, regional climate models, and Global Circulation Model (GCM) projections from the IPCC. Understanding how global climate changes will manifest on a regional scale, and in specific variables that are relevant to specific impacts, is essential for assessing how these changes will affect Wisconsin’s environment and economy. This assessment requires not only expertise in climate science, but also close interaction with impacts scientists (to ensure that variables are relevant to a particular impact system) and policy analysts and policy makers (to ensure that information is useful for advising the decision-making process). This interaction is a defining characteristic of WICCI, and is a central theme in the Climate Working Group that will continue broaden the scope of discussions.
Goals & Objectives
The Climate Working Group is developing a regional-scale, daily dataset of historical and future projections of total precipitation, and maximum and minimum temperature for the time period 1950-2099 at an 8-km spatial resolution across Wisconsin. An analysis of both changes in the mean climate as well as extremes will take place for standard climate variables. The group will interact with impact scientists, policy analysts, and policy makers to estimate changes in a suite of variables that are needed for climate impacts assessment.
The products of the Climate Working Group are crucial to all other working groups and are needed to form a better understanding of climate change impacts in Wisconsin. Global climate model output from the IPCC is generally provided at a spatial scale that is too coarse to be useful to state and local policy makers. Therefore, the Climate Working Group will interact with other standing WICCI working group researchers to provide support and guidance on how to properly interpret previous and current climate data, the downscaled and de-biased GCM projections of 21st century climate, and other relevant climate information that is provided in pursuit of each Working Group’s scientific goals.