Project Description

(A) Module CLIMATE

The CLIMATE module will provide high resolution climate data at 12km resolution (hourly for precipitation, 3-hourly for many other variables) from the Canadian Regional Climate Model version 5 (CRCM5; Martynov et al. 2013, Separovic et al. 2013) over two limited-area domains:
  • Central Europe

  • North-Eastern North America

CRCM5 topography [in meters] from a computational domain of 380x380 grid points centered on Bavaria (left) and Québec (right). The red box indicates the free domain (340x340 pixels), and the green domain (280x280) is used for analysis.
The CRCM5 is driven by 50 members of the Canadian Earth System Model (CanESM2; Fyfe et al. 2017) in the following way (Leduc et al.2016):
The CanESM2-LE (large ensemble) is run at a resolution of 2.8 degrees according to the following setup:
  • 1850 control: CMIP5 “piControl” simulation (1000 yrs)

  • 1850-1950: 5 CMIP5 “historical” simulations employing CMIP5 forcings

  • 1950-2005: 50 additional CMIP5 historical ensemble members launched in 1950. Employing a small random perturbation, 10 new CMIP5 historical simulations are launched from each of the original 5 historical simulations in 1950.

  • 2006-2100: 50 CMIP5 future simulations following the representative concentration pathway RCP8.5

For the historical period (1850–1950), each of the five members takes its initial 1850 year at 50-year intervals from a preindustrial control simulation that has reached equilibrium. With a constant 284.7 ppm atmospheric CO2 concentration, this equilibrated control simulation has a stationary climate. Observed emissions (in CO2 and non-CO2 GHGs, aerosols and land cover) are used during the historical period up to 2005 with observed explosive volcanoes and solar cycle forcings. For the 2006-2100 period, each member is a continuation of each of the five historical simulations employing the future RCP 8.5 scenario of forcings.  These future simulations employ a solar cycle forcing comprised of a repetition of roughly the last observed solar cycle prior to 2006 but no explosive volcanic forcing. This generates 50 equally likely runs of 150 years (1950-2100), resulting in an artificial timeline of 50×150=7500 years of modelled climate over the domains. This enables the project partners to catch rare events in the data – and by this to investigate extreme events and natural variability with probabilistic approaches. Additionally, process understanding may increase with this large ensemble dataset as well.

A first overview of the most important basic results of the climate projections is given in Leduc et al. (2019).

Short-term climate change projections (2020–39 vs 2000–19) for mean December precipitation from the ensemble members 1–24 over the (top four rows) EU and (bottom four rows) NNA domains (from Leduc et al. 2019).

Furthermore, a newly developed climatological reference dataset of high temporal (1-3h) and spatial (500m) resolution is derived from station data for the Bavarian domain. The new methodology makes use of the method of fragments (MOF) to disaggregate daily to subdaily datasets and is further described in the award winning poster by Wood /Willkofer et al (2016).

This is a video showing the downscaling effect from the GCM to the RCM scale:


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The CRCM5 was developed by the ESCER centre of Universite du Quebec a Montreal (UQAM; in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada. We acknowledge Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis for executing and making available the CanESM2 Large Ensemble simulations used in this study, and the Canadian Sea Ice and Snow Evolution Network for proposing the simulations.
Computations with the CRCM5 for the ClimEx project were made on the SuperMUC supercomputer at Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. The operation of this supercomputer is funded via the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS) by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Bavarian State Ministry of Education, Science and the Arts.
This work was financed within the ClimEx project by the Bavarian State Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection.


  • Leduc M, Mailhot A, Frigon A, Martel J-L, Ludwig R, Brietzke GB, Giguére M, Brissette F, Turcotte R, Braun M, Scinocca J (2019) ClimEx project: a 50-member ensemble of climate change projections at 12-km resolution over Europe and northeastern North America with the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM5). Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. doi: 10.1175/JAMC-D-18-0021.1
  • Leduc, M, M Giguère, R Ludwig, A Frigon, M Braun, J Schmid, L Sushama, J Scinocca, GB Brietzke, H Komischke. 2016. The ClimEx Project: Dynamical downscaling of a GCM large ensemble at very high resolution for Bavaria and Quebec. International Conference on Regional Climate-CORDEX, Stockholm, 17-20 May 2016. Poster.
  • Martynov A, R Laprise, L Sushama, K Winger, L Separovic, B Dugas. 2013. Reanalysis-driven climate simulation over CORDEX North America domain using the Canadian Regional Climate Model, version 5: model performance evaluation. Clim Dyn 41:2973-3005. DOI 10.1007/s00382-013-1778-9.
  • Separovic L, A Alexandru, R Laprise, A Martynov, L Sushama, K Winger, K Tete, M Valin. 2013. Present climate and climate change over North America as simulated by the fifth-generation Canadian regional climate model. Clim Dyn 41:3167-3201. DOI 10.1007/s00382-013-1737-5.
  • Fyfe, J.C., C. Derksen, L. Mudryk, G.M. Flato, B.D. Sante3, N.C. Swart, N.P. Molotch, X. Zhang, H. Wan, V.K. Arora, J. Scinocca, Y. Jiao, 2017: Large near-term projected snowpack loss over the western United States. Nature Communications, 8:14996. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14996.