An Investigation of Summer Precipitation Simulated by the Canadian Regional Climate Model

Yanjun Jiao Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada

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Daniel Caya Ouranos Consortium, Montréal, Québec, Canada

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Abstract

In the present paper, a 5-yr baseline integration for the period 1987–91 was carried out over a Pan-Canadian domain to validate the performance of the third-generation Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM). The CRCM simulated the large-scale circulation over North America well; it also correctly captured the seasonal variability of surface temperature and reproduced the winter precipitation over North America realistically. However, the CRCM systematically overestimated the summer precipitation over the continent when compared with the observed values.

Extensive experiments have been conducted to trace down the sources of error of summer precipitation. Particular attention has been given to the water-vapor-related physical parameterization processes such as the mass flux convection scheme in the CRCM. Experiments involving spectral nudging of the specific humidity toward the values of large-scale driving data enabled the authors to link overestimation with abundant water vapor accumulated in the lower boundary layer resulting from an excessive amount of moisture stored in the soil. A strong boundary layer mixing process from the third generation of the Canadian Atmospheric General Circulation Model was then implemented into the CRCM along with an adjustment to the soil water holding capacity. A final analysis of a 14-month experiment showed that these modifications significantly improved the simulation of summer precipitation over North America without adversely affecting the simulation of winter precipitation.

Corresponding author address: Yanjun Jiao, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal, 550 Sherbrooke West, 19th floor, West Tower, Montréal QC H3A 1B9, Canada. Email: jiao.yanjun@uqam.ca

Abstract

In the present paper, a 5-yr baseline integration for the period 1987–91 was carried out over a Pan-Canadian domain to validate the performance of the third-generation Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM). The CRCM simulated the large-scale circulation over North America well; it also correctly captured the seasonal variability of surface temperature and reproduced the winter precipitation over North America realistically. However, the CRCM systematically overestimated the summer precipitation over the continent when compared with the observed values.

Extensive experiments have been conducted to trace down the sources of error of summer precipitation. Particular attention has been given to the water-vapor-related physical parameterization processes such as the mass flux convection scheme in the CRCM. Experiments involving spectral nudging of the specific humidity toward the values of large-scale driving data enabled the authors to link overestimation with abundant water vapor accumulated in the lower boundary layer resulting from an excessive amount of moisture stored in the soil. A strong boundary layer mixing process from the third generation of the Canadian Atmospheric General Circulation Model was then implemented into the CRCM along with an adjustment to the soil water holding capacity. A final analysis of a 14-month experiment showed that these modifications significantly improved the simulation of summer precipitation over North America without adversely affecting the simulation of winter precipitation.

Corresponding author address: Yanjun Jiao, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal, 550 Sherbrooke West, 19th floor, West Tower, Montréal QC H3A 1B9, Canada. Email: jiao.yanjun@uqam.ca

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