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E. C. Massoud
H. Lee
P. B. Gibson
P. Loikith
, and
D. E. Waliser


This study utilizes Bayesian model averaging (BMA) as a framework to constrain the spread of uncertainty in climate projections of precipitation over the contiguous United States (CONUS). We use a subset of historical model simulations and future model projections (RCP8.5) from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5). We evaluate the representation of five precipitation summary metrics in the historical simulations using observations from the NASA Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellites. The summary metrics include mean, annual and interannual variability, and maximum and minimum extremes of precipitation. The estimated model average produced with BMA is shown to have higher accuracy in simulating mean rainfall than the ensemble mean (RMSE of 0.49 for BMA versus 0.65 for ensemble mean), and a more constrained spread of uncertainty with roughly a third of the total uncertainty than is produced with the multimodel ensemble. The results show that, by the end of the century, the mean daily rainfall is projected to increase for most of the East Coast and the Northwest, may decrease in the southern United States, and with little change expected for the Southwest. For extremes, the wettest year on record is projected to become wetter for the majority of CONUS and the driest year to become drier. We show that BMA offers a framework to more accurately estimate and to constrain the spread of uncertainties of future climate, such as precipitation changes over CONUS.

Open access