Similarities within a multi-model ensemble: functional data analysis framework
Despite the abundance of available global climate model (GCM) and regional climate model (RCM) outputs, their use for evaluation of past and future climate change is often complicated by substantial differences between individual simulations and the resulting uncertainties. In this study, we present a methodological framework for the analysis of multi-model ensembles based on a functional data analysis approach. A set of two metrics that generalize the concept of similarity based on the behavior of entire simulated climatic time series, encompassing both past and future periods, is introduced. To our knowledge, our method is the first to quantitatively assess similarities between model simulations based on the temporal evolution of simulated values. To evaluate mutual distances of the time series, we used two semimetrics based on Euclidean distances between the simulated trajectories and based on differences in their first derivatives. Further, we introduce an innovative way of visualizing climate model similarities based on a network spatialization algorithm. Using the layout graphs, the data are ordered on a two-dimensional plane which enables an unambiguous interpretation of the results. The method is demonstrated using two illustrative cases of air temperature over the British Isles (BI) and precipitation in central Europe, simulated by an ensemble of EURO-CORDEX RCMs and their driving GCMs over the 1971–2098 period. In addition to the sample results, interpretational aspects of the applied methodology and its possible extensions are also discussed.