Development and Evaluation of a High Resolution Historical Climate Dataset over California

Improving the spatial (to 2 km) and temporal (to hourly) resolution of historical climate data needed for natural gas sector resilience planning.

The Regents of California, San Diego


La Jolla, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Update

The project's kick-off meeting was held in January 2021. Since then simulations have been run over 5 selected case study areas to consider cloudiness, Santa Ana winds, heat wave(s) and atmospheric rivers. These simulations will be evaluated in the third quarter of 2021 to determine which combinations of runs perform best in the WRF model as compared to historical observations of conditions across seasons, anomalous climate patterns and extreme weather situations. The project team determined that the supercomputing performance of COMET is acceptable and will continue to utilize this supercomputer. This is helpful as outside funding has been acquired making it possible to generate the dynamical weather/climate events beyond California, covering most of the WECC area. This expansion will be beneficial for the state to understand co-occuring extremes and sequences of hazardous events that occur outside of the state but which do impact energy infrastructure the state may rely on.

The Issue

The natural gas sector, other utilities, and numerous other stakeholders in the state need more spatially and temporally detailed historical climate, weather, and hydrological data to assess resilience to present and future climate changes and to conduct operations and planning. Of importance is the makeup of extreme events, which may derive from sequences of occurrences, and can manifest as compound multi-variate hazards. The fine scale data required to fully evaluate and prepare for co-occurring extremes and sequences of hazardous events have not previously been assembled. Sources of historical climate trends must be understood, as this bears on how such trends continue into the future.

Project Innovation

The project is improving the spatial (to 2 km) and temporal (to hourly) resolution of historical climate data needed by the natural gas Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs), along with a broader set of stakeholders in California. This data will provide better information to assess the risk of compound climate events, stress test the California utility and other systems using the historical baseline from which to gauge projected future conditions, and assess the resiliency of the system in the face of long-term trends combined with shorter-term extremes.

Project Benefits

Improvement in spatial and temporal resolution of historical climate data will enable California's natural gas IOUs and other stakeholders to assess compound climate events at scales that are more specific to the California utility and other natural gas systems. This will enable more detailed stress tests that use the historical baseline to gauge projected future conditions. Additionally, resiliency assessment of the systems can be done at improved resolutions (time and space) and details while taking into account the long-term trends combined with the short-term extremes.

Greater Reliability


The project aims to develop datasets with appropriate suites of meteorological and hydrological variables. By providing additional detail of the potential exposure to climate related weather hazards at scales that are relevant to the natural gas system, these datasets will support IOUs in carrying out stress tests on the natural gas system and in developing guidelines and strategies that improve performance and resilience of the system.

Increase Safety


By providing additional detail in time and scale of the potential impacts of climate related hazards on the natural gas system, this project supports IOUs in examining performance of components of the natural gas system infrastructure, leading to strategies to improve performance and safety of the natural gas system.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Dan Cayan



Portland State University


Desert Research Institute


Contact the Team