- Related Research Areas
- Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems, Climate Variability & Change, Weather
The wxTopo ("Weather Topography") System
Climate is a key driver of many environmental processes. In turn, historical and future representations of weather and climate variables form one of the most important set of inputs to environmental models and nature resource management. Global circulation models, however, simulate atmospheric dynamics at relatively coarse spatial scales from tens to hundreds of kilometers. In consequence, there is a significant disparity between the scales of atmospheric models and the ecosystem, landscape, and regional scales at which species experience their environment and management decisions are made. This disparity is particularly true in many areas of the western United States where complex terrain drives rapid changes in temperature and precipitation. Since climate-related variables form the foundation of environmental monitoring, there is a high demand for geospatial climate datasets that realistically represent climate variability at relevant management scales.
In this context, the wxTopo system is currently being developed as an open source platform for generating a spatial-temporal climate/weather dataset for the contigous Unite States (1948-present; 30-arcsec resolution). Similar to systems like PRISM and Daymet, wxTopo uses an empirical-statistical approach to interpolate weather station observations across a continous grid. However, wxTopo additionally incorporates reanalysis and remote sensing data to better inform the spatial interpolations. Additionally, wxTopo focuses on quantifying uncertainty (i.e.-quantified confidence intervals) at each grid cell. Once the initial developmet of wxTopo is complete, its code base will and data inputs will be open source and easily modifiable and improved by other researchers.
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