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  • Author or Editor: J. Craig Collier x
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J. Craig Collier
and
Guang J. Zhang

Abstract

Two 9-yr runs of the NCAR Community Climate Model version 3 (CCM3) are compared in their simulations of the North American summer monsoon. In a control simulation, the Zhang–McFarlane deep convection scheme is used. For an experimental simulation, the following modifications to the scheme are implemented. The closure is based on the large-scale forcing of virtual temperature, and a relative humidity threshold on convective parcels lifted from the boundary layer is applied. The sensitivity to these modifications for simulating the North American monsoon is investigated. Model validation relies on hourly precipitation rates from surface gauges over the United States, hourly precipitation rates derived from the combination of microwave and radar measurements from NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite over Mexico, and CAPE values as calculated from temperature, specific humidity, and pressure fields from the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis. Results show that the experimental run improves the timing of the monsoon onset and peak in the regions of core monsoon influence considered here, though it increases a negative bias in the peak monsoon intensity in one region of northern Mexico. Sensitivity of the diurnal cycle of precipitation to modifications in the convective scheme is highly geographically dependent. Using a combination of gauge-based rainfall rates and reanalysis-based CAPE, it is found that improvements in the simulated diurnal cycle are confined to a convective regime in which the diurnal evolution of precipitation is observed to lag that of CAPE. For another regime, in which CAPE is observed to be approximately in phase with precipitation, model phase biases increase nearly everywhere. Some of the increased phase biases in the latter regime are primarily because of application of the relative humidity threshold.

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J. Craig Collier
and
Guang J. Zhang

Abstract

Simulation of the North American monsoon system by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Atmosphere Model (CAM3) is evaluated in its sensitivity to increasing horizontal resolution. For two resolutions, T42 and T85, rainfall is compared to Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite-derived and surface gauge-based rainfall rates over the United States and northern Mexico as well as rainfall accumulations in gauges of the North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) Enhanced Rain Gauge Network (NERN) in the Sierra Madre Occidental. Simulated upper-tropospheric mass and wind fields are compared to those from NCEP–NCAR reanalyses. The comparison presented herein demonstrates that tropospheric motions associated with the North American monsoon system are sensitive to increasing the horizontal resolution of the model. An increase in resolution from T42 to T85 results in changes to a region of large-scale midtropospheric descent found north and east of the monsoon anticyclone. Relative to its simulation at T42, this region extends farther south and west at T85. Additionally, at T85, the subsidence is stronger. Consistent with the differences in large-scale descent, the T85 simulation of CAM3 is anomalously dry over Texas and northeastern Mexico during the peak monsoon months. Meanwhile, the geographic distribution of rainfall over the Sierra Madre Occidental region of Mexico is more satisfactorily simulated at T85 than at T42 for July and August. Moisture import into this region is greater at T85 than at T42 during these months. A focused study of the Sierra Madre Occidental region in particular shows that, in the regional-average sense, the timing of the peak of the monsoon is relatively insensitive to the horizontal resolution of the model, while a phase bias in the diurnal cycle of monsoon season precipitation is somewhat reduced in the higher-resolution run. At both resolutions, CAM3 poorly simulates the month-to-month evolution of monsoon rainfall over extreme northwestern Mexico and Arizona, though biases are considerably improved at T85.

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J. Craig Collier
,
Kenneth P. Bowman
, and
Gerald R. North

Abstract

This study evaluates the simulation of tropical precipitation by the Community Climate Model, version 3, (CCM3) developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Monthly mean precipitation rates from an ensemble of CCM3 simulations are compared to those computed from observations of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite over a 44-month period. On regional and subregional scales, the comparison fares well over much of the Eastern Hemisphere south of 10°S and over South America. However, model– satellite differences are large in portions of Central America and the Caribbean, the southern tropical Atlantic, the northern Indian Ocean, and the western equatorial and southern tropical Pacific. Since precipitation in the Tropics is the primary source of latent energy to the general circulation, such large model–satellite differences imply large differences in the amount of latent energy released. Differences tend to be seasonally dependent north of 10°N, where model wet biases occur in realistic wet seasons or model-generated artificial wet seasons. South of 10°N, the model wet biases exist throughout the year or have no recognizable pattern.

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