We test a strategy for downscaling seasonal mean temperature for many locations within a region, based on principal component analysis (PCA), and assess potential benefits of this strategy which include an enhancement of the signal-to-noise ratio, more efficient computations, and reduced sensitivity to the choice of predictor domain. These conditions are tested in some case studies for parts of Europe (northern and central) and northern China. Results show that the downscaled results were not highly sensitive to whether a PCA-basis or a more traditional strategy was used. However, the results based on a PCA were associated with marginally and systematically higher correlation scores as well as lower root-mean-squared errors. The results were also consistent with the notion that PCA emphasises the large-scale dependency in the station data and an enhancement of the signal-to-noise ratio. Furthermore, the computations were more efficient when the predictands were represented in terms of principal components.
Keywords: empirical–statistical downscaling, temperature, principal component analysis