Argonne National Laboratory

Hydrological Processes in Regional Climate Model Simulations of the Central United States Flood of June-July 1993

TitleHydrological Processes in Regional Climate Model Simulations of the Central United States Flood of June-July 1993
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsAnderson, CJ, Arritt, RW, Takle, ES, Pan, Z, Gutowski, Jr., WJ, Otieno, FO, da Silva, R, Caya, D, Chen, S-C, Christensen, JH, Gaertner, MA, Gallardo, C, Giorgi, F, Hong, S-Y, Jones, C, Juang, H-MH, Katzfey, JJ, Lapenta, WM, Laprise, R, Larson, JW, Liston, GE, McGregor, JL, Pielke, Sr., RA, Roads, JO, Taylor, JA
Series TitleHydrometeor
Date Published04/2002
Other NumbersANL/CGC-012-0402

<p>Regional climate model (RCM) simulations of hydroclimate for the central U.S. are sensitive to RCM design, yet comparison of RCM results under common experimental conditions is rare. Thus, the degree of and sources for inter-model variability are not well known. We have compared 60-d simulations of 1993 June-July from thirteen RCM simulations to each other and observations. Boundary data and initial conditions were supplied by the Project to Intercompare Regional Climate Simulations (PIRCS) experiment 1b. We have examined water vapor conservation and precipitation characteristics in each RCM for a 100x100 subregion of the Upper Mississippi River Basin (UMRB), containing the region of maximum 60-d accumulated precipitation in all RCMs and station reports. Results showed that gross features of hydroclimate were well simulated in all RCMs. Specifically, the RCMs produced positive precipitation minus evaporation (P-E&gt;0), and RCM recycling ratios were within the range estimated from observations. The range of P-E in RCMs enveloped the range of estimates of observed P-E, but most RCMs produced P-E below the estimated observed range. We found sensitivity of RCM E to radiation parameterization, including clouds, but inter-model variability of E was spread evenly about estimates of observed E suggesting little, if any, common errors of E among the simulations. In contrast, most RCMs produced P that was below the range of P from observations; thus a common dry bias of the simulations accounted for the low values of simulated P-E compared to observations. Daily cycles of terms in the water vapor conservation equation revealed that P in most RCMs is driven by tghe dynamics of atmospheric circulation. In most simulations, nocturnal maxima of P and C (convergence) occurred simultaneously, consistent with observations of P and climatological studies of water vapor conservation. Three of the four driest RCMs had maximum P in the afternoon, while the time of maximum C was variable, suggesting that in these RCMs, afternoon destabilization by insolation strongly influenced the precipitation process......</p>