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Title: Metrics for the Diurnal Cycle of Precipitation: Toward Routine Benchmarks for Climate Models

In this paper, metrics are proposed—that is, a few summary statistics that condense large amounts of data from observations or model simulations—encapsulating the diurnal cycle of precipitation. Vector area averaging of Fourier amplitude and phase produces useful information in a reasonably small number of harmonic dial plots, a procedure familiar from atmospheric tide research. The metrics cover most of the globe but down-weight high-latitude wintertime ocean areas where baroclinic waves are most prominent. This enables intercomparison of a large number of climate models with observations and with each other. The diurnal cycle of precipitation has features not encountered in typical climate model intercomparisons, notably the absence of meaningful “average model” results that can be displayed in a single two-dimensional map. Displaying one map per model guides development of the metrics proposed here by making it clear that land and ocean areas must be averaged separately, but interpreting maps from all models becomes problematic as the size of a multimodel ensemble increases. Global diurnal metrics provide quick comparisons with observations and among models, using the most recent version of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP). This includes, for the first time in CMIP, spatial resolutions comparable to global satellite observations. Finally,more » consistent with earlier studies of resolution versus parameterization of the diurnal cycle, the longstanding tendency of models to produce rainfall too early in the day persists in the high-resolution simulations, as expected if the error is due to subgrid-scale physics.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  2. SUNY Univ. at Albany, NY (United States)
  3. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
  4. Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0894-8755
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-07NA27344; SC0012602; SC0012711; AGS-1353740; AGS-1331375; NA15OAR4310086
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Climate
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 29; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 0894-8755
American Meteorological Society
Research Org:
SUNY Univ. at Albany, NY (United States); National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States); Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); National Science Foundation (NSF); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; diurnal effects; precipitation; models and modeling; climate models
OSTI Identifier: