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Title: Koppen bioclimatic evaluation of CMIP historical climate simulations

Köppen bioclimatic classification relates generic vegetation types to characteristics of the interactive annual-cycles of continental temperature (T) and precipitation (P). In addition to predicting possible bioclimatic consequences of past or prospective climate change, a Köppen scheme can be used to pinpoint biases in model simulations of historical T and P. In this study a Köppen evaluation of Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) simulations of historical climate is conducted for the period 1980–1999. Evaluation of an example CMIP5 model illustrates how errors in simulating Köppen vegetation types (relative to those derived from observational reference data) can be deconstructed and related to model-specific temperature and precipitation biases. Measures of CMIP model skill in simulating the reference Köppen vegetation types are also developed, allowing the bioclimatic performance of a CMIP5 simulation of T and P to be compared quantitatively with its CMIP3 antecedent. Although certain bioclimatic discrepancies persist across model generations, the CMIP5 models collectively display an improved rendering of historical T and P relative to their CMIP3 counterparts. Additionally, the Köppen-based performance metrics are found to be quite insensitive to alternative choices of observational reference data or to differences in model horizontal resolution.
 [1] ;  [1]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1748-9326
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-07NA27344; KP170301
Published Article
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 1748-9326
IOP Publishing
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1239012; OSTI ID: 1251065