In LUCAS, for the first time an ensemble of regional climate models (RCMs) is used in coordinated experiments which include land use change forcings. A new generation of RCMs is included in the model ensemble, which couple regional atmosphere interactively with further components of the regional earth system, such as terrestrial biosphere and hydrosphere. The overall objective of LUCAS is to identify robust biophysical impacts of land use changes on climate across regional to local spatial scales and at various time scales from extreme events to multi-decadal trends:

Key science questions:

  • How sensitive are the regional climate models to LUC and how is this interrelated to land-atmosphere coupling in different regions among the suite of models?
  • How large is the relative contribution of LUC compared to other forcings in theto detection ofed past and potential future climate trends ?
  • How do land use practices modulate climate variability? Can local LUC reduce or amplify extreme climate conditions?
  • What is the effect of spatial resolution on the magnitude and robustness of LUC-induced climate changes?
  • What errors do we make on the downscaled climate change if we ignore LUC? This is especially important for subsequent impact studies.