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J. Craig Collier
Guang J. Zhang


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
Kenneth P. Bowman
, and
Gerald R. North


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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