Pulquério, M., Garrett, P., Santos, F.D. & Cruz, M.J. (2015) On using a generalized linear model to downscale daily precipitation for the center of Portugal: an analysis of trends and extremes.Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 120, 147-158. DOI:10.1007/s00704-014-1156-5 (IF2015 2,433; Q2 Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences)
Portugal is on a climate change hot spot region, where precipitation is expected to decrease with important impacts regarding future water availability. As one of the European countries affected more by droughts in the last decades, it is important to assess how future precipitation regimes will change in order to study its impacts on water resources. Due to the coarse scale of global circulation models, it is often needed to downscale climate variables to the regional or local scale using statistical and/or dynamical techniques. In this study, we tested the use of a generalized linear model, as implemented in the program GLIMCLIM, to downscale precipitation for the center of Portugal where the Tagus basin is located. An analysis of the method performance is done as well as an evaluation of future precipitation trends and extremes for the twenty-first century. Additionally, we perform the first analysis of the evolution of droughts in climate change scenarios by the Standardized Precipitation Index in the study area. Results show that GLIMCLIM is able to capture the precipitation's interannual variation and seasonality correctly. However, summer precipitation is considerably overestimated. Additionally, precipitation extremes are in general well recovered, but high daily rainfall may be overestimated, and dry spell lengths are not correctly recovered by the model. Downscaled projections show a reduction in precipitation between 19 and 28 % at the end of the century. Results indicate that precipitation extremes will decrease and the magnitude of droughts can increase up to three times in relation to the 1961-1990 period which can have strong ecological, social, and economic impacts.