This study investigates the possibilities and limitations of using Regional Climate Model (RCM) output for the simulation of alpine permafrost scenarios. It focuses on the general problem of scale mismatch between RCMs and impact models and, in particular, the special challenges that arise when driving an impact model in topographically complex high-mountain environments with the output of an RCM. Two approaches are introduced that take into account the special difficulties in such areas, and thus enable the use of RCM for alpine permafrost scenario modelling. Intended as an initial example, they are applied at the area of Corvatsch (Upper Engadine, Switzerland) in order to demonstrate and discuss the application of the two approaches, rather than to provide an assessment of future changes in permafrost occurrence.
There are still many uncertainties and inaccuracies inherent in climate and impact models, which increase when driving one model with the output of the other. Nevertheless, our study shows that the use of RCMs offers new and promising perspectives for the simulation of high-mountain permafrost scenarios.