California Wintertime Precipitation in Regional and Global Climate Models

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In this paper, wintertime precipitation from a variety of observational datasets, regional climate models (RCMs), and general circulation models (GCMs) is averaged over the state of California (CA) and compared. Several averaging methodologies are considered and all are found to give similar values when model grid spacing is less than 3{sup o}. This suggests that CA is a reasonable size for regional intercomparisons using modern GCMs. Results show that reanalysis-forced RCMs tend to significantly overpredict CA precipitation. This appears to be due mainly to overprediction of extreme events; RCM precipitation frequency is generally underpredicted. Overprediction is also reflected in wintertime ... continued below

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PDF-file: 43 pages; size: 0.4 Mbytes

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Caldwell, P M April 27, 2009.

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In this paper, wintertime precipitation from a variety of observational datasets, regional climate models (RCMs), and general circulation models (GCMs) is averaged over the state of California (CA) and compared. Several averaging methodologies are considered and all are found to give similar values when model grid spacing is less than 3{sup o}. This suggests that CA is a reasonable size for regional intercomparisons using modern GCMs. Results show that reanalysis-forced RCMs tend to significantly overpredict CA precipitation. This appears to be due mainly to overprediction of extreme events; RCM precipitation frequency is generally underpredicted. Overprediction is also reflected in wintertime precipitation variability, which tends to be too high for RCMs on both daily and interannual scales. Wintertime precipitation in most (but not all) GCMs is underestimated. This is in contrast to previous studies based on global blended gauge/satellite observations which are shown here to underestimate precipitation relative to higher-resolution gauge-only datasets. Several GCMs provide reasonable daily precipitation distributions, a trait which doesn't seem tied to model resolution. GCM daily and interannual variability is generally underpredicted.

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PDF-file: 43 pages; size: 0.4 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, vol. 49, n/a, October 1, 2010, pp. 2147-2158.; Journal Volume: 49

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  • Report No.: LLNL-JRNL-412673
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1010406
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc834364

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • April 27, 2009

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Nov. 22, 2016, 9:53 p.m.

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Caldwell, P M. California Wintertime Precipitation in Regional and Global Climate Models, article, April 27, 2009; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc834364/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.