Evaluation of a Regional Climate Modeling Effort for the Western United States Using a Superensemble from Weather@home Public Deposited


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  • Simulations from a regional climate model (RCM) as part of a superensemble experiment were compared with observations of surface meteorological variables over the western United States. The RCM is the Hadley Centre Regional Climate Model, version 3, with improved physics parameterizations (HadRM3P) run at 25-km resolution and nested within the Hadley Centre Atmosphere Model, version 3 (HadAM3P). Overall, the means of seasonal temperature were well represented in the simulations; 95% of grid points were within 2.7°, 2.4°, and 3.6°C of observations in winter, spring, and summer, respectively. The model was too warm over most of the domain in summer except central California and southern Nevada. HadRM3P produced more extreme temperatures than observed. The overall magnitude and spatial pattern of precipitation were well characterized, though HadRM3P exaggerated the orographic enhancement along the coastal mountains, Cascade Range, and Sierra Nevada. HadRM3P produced warm/dry northwest, cool/wet southwest U.S. patterns associated with El Niño. However, there were notable differences, including the locations of the transition from warm (dry) to cool (wet) in the anomaly fields when compared with observations, though there was disagreement among observations. HadRM3P simulated the observed spatial pattern of mean annual temperature more faithfully than any of the RCM–GCM pairings in the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP). Errors in mean annual precipitation from HadRM3P fell within the range of errors of the NARCCAP models. Last, this paper provided examples of the size of an ensemble required to detect changes at the local level and demonstrated the effect of parameter perturbation on regional precipitation.
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  • Li, S., Mote, P. W., Rupp, D. E., Vickers, D., Mera, R., & Allen, M. (2015). Evaluation of a Regional Climate Modeling Effort for the Western United States Using a Superensemble from Weather@ home. Journal of Climate, 28(19), 7470-7488. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00808.1
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  • 28
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  • 19
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  • This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Award 2011-68002-30191. Funding for this work was provided to Sihan Li through a Department of the Interior Northwest Climate Science Center graduate fellowship.
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