The Diurnal Cycle of Precipitation According to Multiple Decades of Global Satellite Observations, Three CMIP6 Models, and the ECMWF Reanalysis

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  • 1 Earth Observation Science Group, Department of Physics and Astronomy, and National Centre for Earth Observation, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
  • 2 Earth Observation Science Group, Department of Physics and Astronomy, and National Centre for Earth Observation, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom; DIATI, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy
  • 3 Department of Meteorology and National Centre for Earth Observation, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
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Abstract

NASA Precipitation Measurement Mission observations are used to evaluate the diurnal cycle of precipitation from three CMIP6 models (NCAR-CESM2, CNRM-CM6-1, CNRM-ESM2-1) and the ERA5 reanalysis. NASA’s global-gridded IMERG product, which combines spaceborne microwave radiometer, infrared sensor and ground-based gauge measurements, provides high spatio-temporal resolution (0.1°, half-hourly) estimates that are suitable for evaluating the diurnal cycle in models, as determined against the CONUS ground-based radar network. IMERG estimates are coarsened to the spatial and hourly resolution of the state-of-the-art CMIP6 and ERA5 products, and their diurnal cycles are compared across multiple decades of June-July-August in the 60°N–S domain (IMERG and ERA5: 2000–2019; NCAR and CNRM: 1979–2008). Low precipitation regions (and weak amplitude regions when analyzing the diurnal phase) are excluded from analyses in order to assess only robust diurnal signals. Observations identify greater diurnal amplitudes over land (26–134% of the precipitation mean; 5th–95th percentile) than over ocean (14–66%). ERA5, NCAR and CNRM underestimate amplitudes over ocean, whilst ERA5 overestimates over land. IMERG observes a distinct diurnal cycle only in certain regions, with precipitation peaking broadly between 14–21 LST over land (21–6 LST over mountainous and varying-terrain regions) and 0–12 LST over ocean. The simulated diurnal cycle is unrealistically early compared with observations, particularly over land (NCAR-CESM2-AMIP: –1 hour; ERA5: –2 hours; CNRM-CM6-1-AMIP: –4 hours on average) with nocturnal maxima not well represented over mountainous regions. Furthermore, ERA5’s representation of the diurnal cycle is too simplified, with less interannual variability in the time of maximum compared to observations over many regions.

Corresponding author: Daniel Watters, dcw17@leicester.ac.ukCorresponding author: Alessandro Battaglia, ab474@leicester.ac.uk

Abstract

NASA Precipitation Measurement Mission observations are used to evaluate the diurnal cycle of precipitation from three CMIP6 models (NCAR-CESM2, CNRM-CM6-1, CNRM-ESM2-1) and the ERA5 reanalysis. NASA’s global-gridded IMERG product, which combines spaceborne microwave radiometer, infrared sensor and ground-based gauge measurements, provides high spatio-temporal resolution (0.1°, half-hourly) estimates that are suitable for evaluating the diurnal cycle in models, as determined against the CONUS ground-based radar network. IMERG estimates are coarsened to the spatial and hourly resolution of the state-of-the-art CMIP6 and ERA5 products, and their diurnal cycles are compared across multiple decades of June-July-August in the 60°N–S domain (IMERG and ERA5: 2000–2019; NCAR and CNRM: 1979–2008). Low precipitation regions (and weak amplitude regions when analyzing the diurnal phase) are excluded from analyses in order to assess only robust diurnal signals. Observations identify greater diurnal amplitudes over land (26–134% of the precipitation mean; 5th–95th percentile) than over ocean (14–66%). ERA5, NCAR and CNRM underestimate amplitudes over ocean, whilst ERA5 overestimates over land. IMERG observes a distinct diurnal cycle only in certain regions, with precipitation peaking broadly between 14–21 LST over land (21–6 LST over mountainous and varying-terrain regions) and 0–12 LST over ocean. The simulated diurnal cycle is unrealistically early compared with observations, particularly over land (NCAR-CESM2-AMIP: –1 hour; ERA5: –2 hours; CNRM-CM6-1-AMIP: –4 hours on average) with nocturnal maxima not well represented over mountainous regions. Furthermore, ERA5’s representation of the diurnal cycle is too simplified, with less interannual variability in the time of maximum compared to observations over many regions.

Corresponding author: Daniel Watters, dcw17@leicester.ac.ukCorresponding author: Alessandro Battaglia, ab474@leicester.ac.uk
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