Water Stewardship Information Sources

Citation High Resolution PRISM Climatology. Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium.
Organization PCIC
URL https://pacificclimate.org/data/high-resolution-prism-climatology
Abstract/Description or Keywords The High-Resolution Climatology page provides access to gridded, 30 arc-second (roughly 800 metre) temperature and precipitation climatologies for the 1971-2000 normal period for land-surface areas of British Columbia. The gridded climatologies were derived from station data interpolated using the Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM). The user interface features an interactive map of the province that allows users to zoom, pan and select their region of interest using a rectangular selection tool. In order to download the high-resolution climatologies, users are required to log-in to the page using an OpenID (link is external) account. See below for a brief description, notes on citation, references and the terms of use.

Access and download High-Resolution Climatologies.

British Columbia has very large spatial variability in its climate, owing to its topography and a mixture of coastal and continental influences. Station-based climatologies are useful for describing conditions in a specific, small area, but the detailed spatial patterns of climate cannot be directly described using stations alone. To calculate the climatology of the province at a high spatial resolution, an interpolation procedure that accounts for the effects of topography is needed. To meet this challenge, the PRISM climate group at Oregon State University (link is external) has developed PRISM.

PRISM has been tested and verified throughout the United States and has been applied widely across the globe. PCIC, in concert with PICS and the BC Government, has obtained a license to apply PRISM in British Columbia and, over the past three years has developed the expertise to apply PRISM. The first stage of this project is the creation of a new, high resolution PRISM climatology for the 1971-2000 climate-normal period. Subsequent work will include updating to the latest climate normal period (1981-2010) climatology and the production of a timeseries of monthly average temperature and precipitation fields for BC, from at least 1971 to present.

The climatologies presented here are based on information from thousands of temperature and precipitation observation sites in British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta, Alaska, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. The temperature climatologies were supplemented by upper atmosphere temperature climatologies derived from the National Center for Environmental Prediction’s North American Regional Reanalysis (Mesinger et al., 2006; emc.ncep.noaa.gov/mmb/rreanl/ (link is external)). Precipitation climatologies were improved using data from snow observing networks in British Columbia (link is external) and the United States (link is external). Further information about high-elevation precipitation was obtained by analyzing the glacier inventory for British Columbia developed by the University of Northern British Columbia (Bolch et al., 2010). A subsequent report will detail the creation of these climatologies and explain how these data were applied.
Information Type data, mapping
Regional Watershed Province
Sub-watershed if known
Aquifer #
Project status ongoing
Contact Name PCIC
Contact Email https://pacificclimate.org/contact-us