Brief Report on
The Third Workshop of the Southeast Asia Regional Climate Downscaling
June 1-2, 2015
Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

The third workshop of the Southeast Asia Regional Climate Downscaling / CORDEX Southeast Asia (SEACLID/CORDEX-SEA) Project was held from 1-2 June 2015 in Manila, jointly hosted by the Manila Observatory (MO) and the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) with the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), World Climate Research Program (WCRP) and the National University of Malaysia (UKM) as co-organizers. The workshop was attended by 36 participants (11 local and 25 foreign) from countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Australia, Germany, and Hong Kong, with representatives from APN and the International Project Office for CORDEX (IPOC).

Funding for the participants was provided by APN, while other participants who also attended the regional climate modeling (RCM) workshop held last 25-29 May 2015 received travel funding from the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP). MO and ADMU also provided counterpart support for the workshop.

In the opening ceremony, Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin SJ, President of ADMU, and Ms. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Executive Director of MO welcomed the participants and expressed strong support for the SEACLID/CORDEX Southeast Asia project. Dr. Eleanor O’Rourke, Director of CORDEX International Project Office (IPO), SMHI, Sweden, in her welcoming remarks praised CORDEX Southeast Asia for the progress made. Then, Dr. Linda Stevenson of APN delivered her keynote address on the APN’s research and capacity development, including projects and plans for the future.

On the first day, the first session of the workshop started with an introduction on IPOC and its role in supporting CORDEX Southeast Asia, followed by updates on the regional climate downscaling activities of SEACLID/CORDEX Southeast Asia. This was then followed by a discussion on model performance and related issues, e.g. further work may need to be done to address the biases in the existing runs.

The second day of the workshop had three sessions. Session 2 highlighted studies on the CORDEX-SEA domain by colleagues outside the Southeast Asian Region. This was followed by two sessions of open discussion on issues concerning the project (data sharing and analysis, data dissemination through ESGF, scientific and policy relevant publications), and the plan for the next 1.5 years and beyond.

The following are key findings and conclusions of the workshop:

1. Prof. Fredolin Tangang, the coordinator of SEACLID/CORDEX Southeast Asia reported that the Sensitivity Experiment to select the best physics options for RgeCM4 has been completed and production runs have been started and progressing well. Most participating centers, including those from outside the region, have completed their baseline runs. Some countries completed at least one RCP projection.

2. Issues related to model physics may not have been addressed adequately because of the need to produce model results on time. However, there are certainly important scientific questions need to be addressed, which would require coordination in the group to avoid overlapping in the investigation of these questions. It was agreed that to request participating centers to carry out additional experiments to investigate various scientific questions in addition to the production runs. SEACLID/CORDEX Southeast Asia has been tasked to coordinate this effort. One such question is the effectiveness of the new CLM land surface scheme. The idea of having to address some of these questions is attractive as it could contribute to scientific papers to meet the targeted publications of SEACLID/CORDEX Southeast Asia.

3. CORDEX requires simulated data to be archived under the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF). The variables and time steps of data to be stored will follow CORDEX and ESGF format convention. Thailand has offered to be the primary ESGF node for CORDEX Southeast Asia while Malaysia will serve as a secondary node. Thailand and Malaysia would liaise with CORDEX IPO and other CORDEX domain in Asia in terms of ESGF training and implementation.

4. Prior to publishing the downscaled data into ESGF node, the data need to be quality control to ensure ESGF compliance. The issue of who would perform the ESGF data quality checking was not adequately discussed but the indication was data quality control is the responsibility of the center that runs the model. This implies that a center that runs a particular model would be required to carry out the ESGF data quality control prior to uploading the data into the CORDEX Southeast Asia ESGF node. However, this is still open for discussion in next workshops.

5. Once the production runs have been completed, analysis would need to be carried out to investigate the model performance, biases and also create model ensembles of various variables. Members have two options of either analyzing all relevant variables of the model they run or upload all the downscaled data to the node and then download all data for analysis of a particular variable. The second option was implemented for the sensitivity experiment and it worked well. However, given the large amount of data from the production runs, uploading and downloading all data can be an issue. How to analyze the data, to understand model performances and biases and how to package this information along with the data is still open for discussion.

6. There is an agreement that tasks associated with the main project will be prioritized but bias correction should be done in case some of the users request bias corrected information. However, the issue on bias correction can be discussed another time.

7. Writing a number of scientific papers has always been the main target output of CORDEX Southeast Asia. In addition, there was a proposal to publish a book with information on climate and projections for the region, useful for all sectors of society. Points for consideration include targeted readers, funding, and publishing in each country’s national language to raise stakeholder awareness and aid in information dissemination. Since scientists are not as apt for writing general populace-aimed publications, there is a need to have a partner in engaging the community and disseminating information. This issue is still open for discussion.

8. There is a requirement to enhance end-user interaction in terms of what data products are available, how to obtain and use them and what are the limitations of these products. It may be required that each country have its own end user connections, which can be discussed further at the next CORDEX meeting.

9. There was an agreement to provide opportunities for young scientists, particularly from Cambodia and Lao PDR, to be exposed on how science is progressing. Young scientists from these two countries will be invited to future workshops. Opportunity will also be explored if scientists from these two countries could involve in the analysis and validation of model outputs over regions of their countries.

10. As highlighted in Item 2, while carrying out the production runs, members may be able to investigate some key scientific questions. Members identified some topics that can be investigated in the next 1.5 years include the roles of aerosols, land cover change and sensitivity tests of model parameters to determine which captures best the climate change observed in Southeast Asia.

11. Members were also enlightened to the upcoming CORDEX Flagship Pilot Studies. Since funding would always be a limiting factor, small pilot regions may be selected for the CORDEX Flagship Pilot Studies, which can be expanded as additional funding becomes available. There should be a primary scientific question that would move and facilitate the selection of pilot project that requires internal discussion in the future.

12. A statistical downscaling project with a dynamical downscaling component can also be explored.

13. Members agreed that steps would be taken to perpare funding application for the second phase of SEACLID/CORDEX Southeast Asia. A number of possible funding sources have been mentioned including APN, Horizon 2020 etc.