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  • Author or Editor: J. F. González-Rouco x
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J. F. González-Rouco, H. Heyen, E. Zorita, and F. Valero

Abstract

The lowest spatial scale at which current climate models are considered to be skillful is on the order of 1000 km because of resolution and computer capabilities. The estimation of the regional changes caused by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols therefore is problematic. Here a statistical downscaling scheme is used to study the relationship between large-scale sea level pressure and regional precipitation in southwestern Europe, both in observed data and in outputs from a general circulation model (GCM) forced with increasing levels of greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosols. The results indicate that the GCM does reproduce the main aspects of the large- to local-scale coupled variability. Furthermore, these large- to local-scale relationships remain stable in the scenario simulations. The GCM runs predict increases of advection of oceanic air masses to the Iberian Peninsula that will produce a slight decrease of precipitation amounts in the north coast and the opposite effect in the rest of the territory, with values that could reach 10 mm decade−1 in the south. In the homogenized historical records, the obtained pattern of change is very similar. These results support estimations of future regional trends simulated by the GCM under future emission scenarios.

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Sloan Coats, Jason E. Smerdon, Richard Seager, Benjamin I. Cook, and J. F. González-Rouco

Abstract

Simulated hydroclimate variability in millennium-length forced transient and control simulations from the ECHAM and the global Hamburg Ocean Primitive Equation (ECHO-G) coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model (AOGCM) is analyzed and compared to 1000 years of reconstructed Palmer drought severity index (PDSI) variability from the North American Drought Atlas (NADA). The ability of the model to simulate megadroughts in the North American southwest is evaluated. (NASW: 25°–42.5°N, 125°–105°W). Megadroughts in the ECHO-G AOGCM are found to be similar in duration and magnitude to those estimated from the NADA. The droughts in the forced simulation are not, however, temporally synchronous with those in the paleoclimate record, nor are there significant differences between the drought features simulated in the forced and control runs. These results indicate that model-simulated megadroughts can result from internal variability of the modeled climate system rather than as a response to changes in exogenous forcings. Although the ECHO-G AOGCM is capable of simulating megadroughts through persistent La Niña–like conditions in the tropical Pacific, other mechanisms can produce similarly extreme NASW moisture anomalies in the model. In particular, the lack of low-frequency coherence between NASW soil moisture and simulated modes of climate variability like the El Niño–Southern Oscillation, Pacific decadal oscillation, and Atlantic multidecadal oscillation during identified drought periods suggests that stochastic atmospheric variability can contribute significantly to the occurrence of simulated megadroughts in the NASW. These findings indicate that either an expanded paradigm is needed to understand multidecadal hydroclimate variability in the NASW or AOGCMs may incorrectly simulate the strength and/or dynamics of the connection between NASW hydroclimate variability and the tropical Pacific.

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P. A. Jiménez, E. García-Bustamante, J. F. González-Rouco, F. Valero, J. P. Montávez, and J. Navarro

Abstract

Daily wind variability in the Comunidad Foral de Navarra in northern Spain was studied using wind observations at 35 locations to derive subregions with homogeneous temporal variability. Two different methodologies based on principal component analysis were used to regionalize: 1) cluster analysis and 2) the rotation of the selected principal components. Both methodologies produce similar results and lead to regions that are in general agreement with the topographic features of the terrain. The meridional wind variability is similar in all subregions, whereas zonal wind variability is responsible for differences between them. The spectral analysis of wind variability within each subregion reveals a dominant annual cycle and the varying presence of higher-frequency contributions in the subregions. The valley subregions tend to present more variability at high frequencies than do higher-altitude sites. Last, the influence of large-scale dynamics on regional wind variability is explored by studying connections between wind in each subregion and sea level pressure fields. The results of this work contribute to the characterization of wind variability in a complex terrain region and constitute a framework for the validation of mesoscale model wind simulations over the region.

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