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Compendium on methods and tools to evaluate impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change

Statistical DownScaling Model (SDSM)

SDSM is a user-friendly software package designed to implement statistical downscaling methods to produce high-resolution monthly climate information from coarse-resolution climate model (GCM) simulations.

The software also uses weather generator methods to produce multiple realizations (ensembles) of synthetic daily weather sequences.

Appropriate Use SDSM can be used whenever impact assessments require small-scale climate scenarios, provided quality observational data and daily GCM outputs for large-scale climate variables are available.
Scope All locations
Key Output Site-specific daily scenarios for maximum and minimum temperatures, precipitation, humidity. SDSM also produces a range of statistical parameters such as variances, frequencies of extremes, spell lengths.
Key Input Quality observed daily data for both local-scale and large-scale climate variables to calibrate and validate the statistical model(s). Daily GCM outputs for large-scale variables for future climate to drive the model(s). The current version (4.2) contains observed data libraries for use in model calibration, and GCM data for making future projections.
Ease of Use The user-friendly software is largely self explanatory. It comes with comprehensive instructions for use.
Training Required Requires little training for those familiar with climate science but it requires expert knowledge and reiterated efforts to establish realistic and accurate statistical relationships.
Training Available There are currently no plans for any training courses
Computer Requirements SDSM 4.2 has been tested on the following minimum specifications: PC Windows 98/NT/2000/XP (it may also work on Windows 95 but has not been tested on this OS); Memory - 5 MB RAM, 48 MB ROM; Processor - 133 MHz; Coding language - Visual Basic 6.0.  Note: for older machines SDSM may work but may crash or take longer to perform certain analyses when large data sets are processed.
Documentation Numerous publications in the scientific literature. User’s manual at pdf-icon

Widely applied in many regions and over a range of climate impact sectors. See References (below) for examples of applications.

Contacts for Framework, Documentation, Technical Assistance

New users can register and download the software package at

Cost Free

Please see for a full list of SDSM references.