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Regional Climate Model (RCM)

A regional climate model (RCM) is a climate model of higher spatial resolution than a Global climate model (GCM). An RCM can sitwithin a global model to provide more detailed simulations for a particular location. HadRM3 is the RCM used for the UKCP09 scenarios.

In detail

Local climate change is influenced significantly by local topographical features, such as mountains. GCMs are not able to account for these local topographies as they use a relatively coarse spatial resolution. RCMs have a comparatively higher resolution (approximately 25 km) and are influenced by a smaller scale of topographical features. It is much more computationally intensive to run an RCM so they are usually run over a limited area. In the case of UKCP09 the RCM covers Europe.

HadRM3 has been used in UKCP09 to produce 11 runs of regional climate projections with the medium Emissions scenarios (A1B), with data saved on a daily time scale. These 11 runs were used to downscale the larger ensemble of GCM runs.

Find out more


  • More details about the climate models used in UKCP09 are given in  in the UKCP09 Climate Change Projections report. A commentary about the strengths and weaknesses of climate models is given in .
  • The 11-member RCM data is available to users. It is described in the Reports & guidance section and in  of the UKCP09 Climate Change Projections report.
  • IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Working Group 1 report The Physical Science Basis, Chapter 10
  • FAQ:
  • The 11-member RCM dataset is available on the BADC website.