IPCC’s Twentieth-Century Climate Simulations: Varied Representations of North American Hydroclimate Variability

Alfredo Ruiz-Barradas Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland

Search for other papers by Alfredo Ruiz-Barradas in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
and
Sumant Nigam Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland

Search for other papers by Sumant Nigam in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

The annual cycle of precipitation and the interannual variability of the North American hydroclimate during summer months are analyzed in coupled simulations of the twentieth-century climate. The state-of-the-art general circulation models, participating in the Fourth Assessment Report for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), included in the present study are the U.S. Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3), the Parallel Climate Model (PCM), the Goddard Institute for Space Studies model version EH (GISS-EH), and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Coupled Model version 2.1 (GFDL-CM2.1); the Met Office’s Third Hadley Centre Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere GCM (UKMO-HadCM3); and the Japanese Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate version 3.2 [MIROC3.2(hires)]. Datasets with proven high quality such as NCEP’s North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR), and the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) U.S.–Mexico precipitation analysis are used as targets for simulations.

Climatological precipitation is not easily simulated. While models capture winter precipitation very well over the U.S. northwest, they encounter failure over the U.S. southeast in the same season. Summer precipitation over the central United States and Mexico is also a great challenge for models, particularly the timing. In general the UKMO-HadCM3 is closest to the observations.

The models’ potential in simulating interannual hydroclimate variability over North America during the warm season is varied and limited to the central United States. Models like PCM, and in particular UKMO-HadCM3, exhibit reasonably well the observed distribution and relative importance of remote and local contributions to precipitation variability over the region (i.e., convergence of remote moisture fluxes dominate over local evapotranspiration). However, in models like CCSM3 and GFDL-CM2.1 local contributions dominate over remote ones, in contrast with warm-season observations. In the other extreme are models like GISS-EH and MIROC3.2(hires) that prioritize the remote influence of moisture fluxes and neglect the local influence of land surface processes to the regional precipitation variability.

Corresponding author address: Alfredo Ruiz-Barradas, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, 3405 Computer and Space Sciences Bldg., College Park, MD 20742-2425. Email: alfredo@atmos.umd.edu

Abstract

The annual cycle of precipitation and the interannual variability of the North American hydroclimate during summer months are analyzed in coupled simulations of the twentieth-century climate. The state-of-the-art general circulation models, participating in the Fourth Assessment Report for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), included in the present study are the U.S. Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3), the Parallel Climate Model (PCM), the Goddard Institute for Space Studies model version EH (GISS-EH), and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Coupled Model version 2.1 (GFDL-CM2.1); the Met Office’s Third Hadley Centre Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere GCM (UKMO-HadCM3); and the Japanese Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate version 3.2 [MIROC3.2(hires)]. Datasets with proven high quality such as NCEP’s North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR), and the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) U.S.–Mexico precipitation analysis are used as targets for simulations.

Climatological precipitation is not easily simulated. While models capture winter precipitation very well over the U.S. northwest, they encounter failure over the U.S. southeast in the same season. Summer precipitation over the central United States and Mexico is also a great challenge for models, particularly the timing. In general the UKMO-HadCM3 is closest to the observations.

The models’ potential in simulating interannual hydroclimate variability over North America during the warm season is varied and limited to the central United States. Models like PCM, and in particular UKMO-HadCM3, exhibit reasonably well the observed distribution and relative importance of remote and local contributions to precipitation variability over the region (i.e., convergence of remote moisture fluxes dominate over local evapotranspiration). However, in models like CCSM3 and GFDL-CM2.1 local contributions dominate over remote ones, in contrast with warm-season observations. In the other extreme are models like GISS-EH and MIROC3.2(hires) that prioritize the remote influence of moisture fluxes and neglect the local influence of land surface processes to the regional precipitation variability.

Corresponding author address: Alfredo Ruiz-Barradas, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, 3405 Computer and Space Sciences Bldg., College Park, MD 20742-2425. Email: alfredo@atmos.umd.edu

Save
  • Delworth, T. L., Coauthors 2006: GFDL’s CM2 global coupled climate models. Part I: Formulation and simulation characteristics. J. Climate, 19:643674.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gordon, C., C. Cooper, C. A. Senior, H. Banks, J. M. Gregory, T. C. Johns, J. F. B. Mitchell, and R. A. Wood, 2000: The simulation of SST, sea ice extents and ocean heat transports in a version of the Hadley Centre coupled model without flux adjustments. Climate Dyn., 16:147168.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hasumi, H. and S. Emori, Eds. 2004: K-1 coupled GCM (MIROC) description. K-1 Tech. Rep. 1, 39 pp. [Available online at http://www.ccsr.u-tokyo.ac.jp/kyosei/hasumi/MIROC/tech-repo.pdf.].

  • Kalnay, E., Coauthors 1996: The NCEP/NCAR 40-Year Reanalysis Project. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 77:437471.

  • Koster, R., Coauthors 2004: Regions of strong coupling between soil moisture and precipitation. Science, 305:11381140.

  • Koster, R., Coauthors 2006: GLACE: The Global Land–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment. Part I: Overview. J. Hydrometeor., 7:590610.

  • Meehl, G. A., W. M. Washington, C. Ammann, J. M. Arblaster, T. M. L. Wigley, and C. Tebaldi, 2004: Combinations of natural and anthropogenic forcings and twentieth-century climate. J. Climate, 17:37213727.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mesinger, F., Coauthors 2004: NCEP North American regional reanalysis. Preprints, 15th Symp. on Global Change and Climate Variations, Seattle, WA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., CD-ROM, P1.1.

  • Mitchell, K., Coauthors 2004: NCEP completes 25-year North American Reanalysis: Precipitation assimilation and land surface are two hallmarks. GEWEX Newsletter, No. 14, International GEWEX Project Office, 9–12.

  • Nigam, S. and A. Ruiz-Barradas, 2006: Seasonal hydroclimate variability over North America in global and regional reanalyses and AMIP simulations: Varied representation. J. Climate, 19:815837.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pope, V. D., M. L. Gallani, P. R. Rowntree, and R. A. Stratton, 2000: The impact of new physical parametrizations in the Hadley Centre climate model–HadAM3. Climate Dyn., 16:123146.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ruiz-Barradas, A. and S. Nigam, 2005: Warm-season precipitation variability over the U.S. Great Plains in observations, NCEP and ERA-40 reanalyses, and NCAR and NASA atmospheric simulations. J. Climate, 18:18081830.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ruiz-Barradas, A. and S. Nigam, 2006: Great Plains hydroclimate variability: The view from North American regional reanalysis. J. Climate, 19:30043010.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schmidt, G. A., Coauthors 2006: Present-day atmospheric simulations using GISS ModelE: Comparison to in situ, satellite, and reanalysis data. J. Climate, 19:153192.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wu, W. and R. E. Dickinson, 2005: Warm-season rainfall variability over the U.S. Great Plains and its correlation with evapotranspiration in a climate simulation. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32.L17402, doi:10.1029/2005GL023422.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 408 286 13
PDF Downloads 77 31 4