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Spatial and temporal characteristics of summer precipitation over Central Europe in a suite of high-resolution climate models
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology . Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology . Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology . Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Sweden.
University of Leeds, National Centre for Atmospheric Science, United Kingdom.
2016 (English)In: Journal of Climate, ISSN 0894-8755, E-ISSN 1520-0442, Vol. 29, no 10, p. 3501-3518Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

High-impact, localized intense rainfall episodes represent a major socio-economic problem for societies worldwide, and at the same time these events are notoriously difficult to simulate properly in climate models. Here, the authors investigate how horizontal resolution and model formulation influence this issue by applying the HARMONIE regional climate model (HCLIM) with three different setups; two using convection parameterization at 15 and 6.25 km horizontal resolution (the latter within the “grey-zone” scale), with lateral boundary conditions provided by ERA-Interim reanalysis and integrated over a pan-European domain, and one with explicit convection at 2 km resolution (HCLIM2) over the Alpine region driven by the 15 km model. Seven summer seasons were sampled and validated against two high-resolution observational data sets. All HCLIM versions underestimate the number of dry days and hours by 20-40%, and overestimate precipitation over the Alpine ridge. Also, only modest added value were found of “grey-zone” resolution. However, the single most important outcome is the substantial added value in HCLIM2 compared to the coarser model versions at sub-daily time scales. It better captures the local-to-regional spatial patterns of precipitation reflecting a more realistic representation of the local and meso-scale dynamics. Further, the duration and spatial frequency of precipitation events, as well as extremes, are closer to observations. These characteristics are key ingredients in heavy rainfall events and associated flash floods, and the outstanding results using HCLIM in convection-permitting setting are convincing and encourage further use of the model to study changes in such events in changing climates.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 29, no 10, p. 3501-3518
Keywords [en]
Regional climate modeling, high-resolution, precipitation, extremes, statistical analysis
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128380DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0463.1ISI: 000375950400002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-128380DiVA, id: diva2:914602
Funder
Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental ResearchAvailable from: 2016-03-24 Created: 2016-03-24 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. On the representation of precipitation in high-resolution regional climate models
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On the representation of precipitation in high-resolution regional climate models
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Weather and climate models applied with sufficiently fine mesh grids to enable a large part of atmospheric deep convection to be explicitly resolved have shown a significantly improved representation of local, short-duration and intense precipitation events compared to coarser scale models. In this thesis, two studies are presented aimed at exploring the dependence of horizontal resolution and of parameterization of convection on the simulation of precipitation. The first examined the ability of HARMONIE Climate (HCLIM) regional climate model to reproduce the recent climate in Europe with two different horizontal resolutions, 15 and 6.25 km. The latter is part of the ”grey-zone” resolution interval corresponding to approximately 3-10 km. Particular focus has been given to rainfall and its spatial and temporal variability and other characteristics, for example intensity distributions. The model configuration with the higher resolution is much better at simulating days of large accumulated precipitation amounts, most evident when the comparison is made against high-resolution observations. Otherwise, the two simulations show similar skill, including the representation of the spatial structure of individual rainfall areas of primarily convective origin. The results suggest a ”scale-awareness” in HCLIM, which supports a central feature of the model’s description of deep convection as it is designed to operate independently of the horizontal resolution. In the second study, summer season precipitation over the Alps region, as simulated by HCLIM at different resolutions, is investigated. Similar model configurations as in the previous study were used, but in addition a simulation at the ”convection-permitting” 2 km resolution has been made over Central Europe. The latter considerably increases the realism compared to the former regarding the distribution and intensities of precipitation, as well as other important characteristics including the duration of rain spells, particularly on sub-daily time scales and for extreme events. The simulations with cumulus parameterization active underestimate short-duration heavy rainfall, and rainspells with low peak intensities are too persistent. Furthermore, even though the 6.25 km simulation generally reduces the biases seen in the 15 km run, definitive conclusions of the benefit of ”grey-zone” resolution is difficult to establish in context of the increased requirement of computer resources for the higher-resolution simulation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Meteorology, 2016. p. 30
Keywords
Regional climate modeling, high-resolution, convection parameterization, precipitation, extremes, statistical analysis
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography; Meteorology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128382 (URN)
Presentation
2016-04-11, C609, Arrhenius Laboratory, 6th Floor, Svante Arrhenius Väg 16C, Stockholm, 11:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-04-19 Created: 2016-03-24 Last updated: 2016-04-19Bibliographically approved

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