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Dynamical Downscaling with Reinitializations: A Method to Generate Finescale Climate Datasets Suitable for Impact Studies

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  • 1 Danish Meteorological Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, Météo-France, Toulouse, France
  • | 2 Danish Meteorological Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • | 3 Rossby Centre, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Norrköping, Sweden, and Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research–Troposphere Research (IMK-TRO), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
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Abstract

To retain the sequence of events of a regional climate model (RCM) simulation driven by a reanalysis, a method that has not been widely adopted uses an RCM with frequent reinitializations toward its driving field. In this regard, this study highlights the benefits of an RCM simulation with frequent (daily) reinitializations compared to a standard continuous RCM simulation. Both simulations are carried out with the RCM HIRHAM5, driven with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Interim Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) data, over the 12-km-resolution European Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) domain covering the period 1989–2009. The analysis of daily precipitation shows improvements in the sequence of events and the maintenance of the added value from the standard continuous RCM simulation. The validation of the two RCM simulations with observations reveals that the simulation with reinitializations indeed improves the temporal correlation. Furthermore, the RCM simulation with reinitializations has lower systematic errors compared to the continuous simulation, which has a tendency to be too wet. A comparison of the distribution of wet day precipitation intensities shows similar added value in the continuous and reinitialized simulations with higher variability and extremes compared to the driving field ERA-Interim. Overall, the results suggest that the finescale climate dataset of the RCM simulation with reinitializations better suits the needs of impact studies by providing a sequence of events matching closely the observations, while limiting systematic errors and generating reliable added value. Downsides of the method with reinitializations are increased computational costs and the introduction of temporal discontinuities that are similar to those of a reanalysis.

Current affiliation: Centre ESCER, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

Corresponding author address: Philippe Lucas-Picher, Centre ESCER, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal, Stn. Downtown, P.O. Box 8888, Montreal, QC H3C 3P8, Canada. E-mail: plp@sca.uqam.ca

Abstract

To retain the sequence of events of a regional climate model (RCM) simulation driven by a reanalysis, a method that has not been widely adopted uses an RCM with frequent reinitializations toward its driving field. In this regard, this study highlights the benefits of an RCM simulation with frequent (daily) reinitializations compared to a standard continuous RCM simulation. Both simulations are carried out with the RCM HIRHAM5, driven with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Interim Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) data, over the 12-km-resolution European Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) domain covering the period 1989–2009. The analysis of daily precipitation shows improvements in the sequence of events and the maintenance of the added value from the standard continuous RCM simulation. The validation of the two RCM simulations with observations reveals that the simulation with reinitializations indeed improves the temporal correlation. Furthermore, the RCM simulation with reinitializations has lower systematic errors compared to the continuous simulation, which has a tendency to be too wet. A comparison of the distribution of wet day precipitation intensities shows similar added value in the continuous and reinitialized simulations with higher variability and extremes compared to the driving field ERA-Interim. Overall, the results suggest that the finescale climate dataset of the RCM simulation with reinitializations better suits the needs of impact studies by providing a sequence of events matching closely the observations, while limiting systematic errors and generating reliable added value. Downsides of the method with reinitializations are increased computational costs and the introduction of temporal discontinuities that are similar to those of a reanalysis.

Current affiliation: Centre ESCER, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

Corresponding author address: Philippe Lucas-Picher, Centre ESCER, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal, Stn. Downtown, P.O. Box 8888, Montreal, QC H3C 3P8, Canada. E-mail: plp@sca.uqam.ca
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