Toward Resilient Cities: Using Deep Learning to Downscale Climate Model Projections (Proposals Track)

Muge Komurcu (MIT); Zikri Bayraktar (IEEE)


Climate projections from Earth System Models (ESM) are widely used to assess climate change impacts. These projections, however, are too coarse in spatial and temporal resolution (e.g. 25-50 kms, monthly) to be used in local scale resilience studies. High-resolution (<4 km) climate projections at dense temporal resolution (hourly) from multiple Earth System models under various scenarios are necessary to assess potential future changes in climate variables and perform meaningful and robust climate resilience studies. Running ESMs in high-resolution is computationally too expensive, therefore downscaling methods are applied to ESM projections to produce high-resolution projections. Using a regional climate model to downscale climate projections is preferred but dynamically downscaling several ESM projections to < 4km resolution under different scenarios is currently not feasible. In this study, we propose to use a 60 year dynamically downscaled climate dataset with hourly output for the Northeastern United States to train Deep Learning models and achieve a computationally efficient method of downscaling climate projections. This method will allow for more ESM projections to be downscaled to local scales under more scenarios in an efficient manner and significantly improve robustness of regional resilience studies.