skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: A multimodel intercomparison of resolution effects on precipitation: simulations and theory

Abstract

An ensemble of six pairs of RCM experiments performed at 25 and 50 km for the period 1961–2000 over a large European domain is examined in order to evaluate the effects of resolution on the simulation of daily precipitation statistics. Application of the non-parametric two-sample Kolmorgorov–Smirnov test, which tests for differences in the location and shape of the probability distributions of two samples, shows that the distribution of daily precipitation differs between the pairs of simulations over most land areas in both summer and winter, with the strongest signal over southern Europe. Two-dimensional histograms reveal that precipitation intensity increases with resolution over almost the entire domain in both winter and summer. In addition, the 25 km simulations have more dry days than the 50 km simulations. The increase in dry days with resolution is indicative of an improvement in model performance at higher resolution, while the more intense precipitation exceeds observed values. The systematic increase in precipitation extremes with resolution across all models suggests that this response is fundamental to model formulation. Simple theoretical arguments suggest that fluid continuity, combined with the emergent scaling properties of the horizontal wind field, results in an increase in resolved vertical transport as grid spacing decreases.more » This increase in resolution-dependent vertical mass flux then drives an intensification of convergence and resolvable-scale precipitation as grid spacing decreases. In conclusion, this theoretical result could help explain the increasingly, and often anomalously, large stratiform contribution to total rainfall observed with increasing resolution in many regional and global models.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [4];  [5];  [1]
  1. Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE (United States). Dept. of Geography
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Earth Sciences Division
  3. American Univ. of Paris, Paris (France). Dept. of Computer Science, Mathematics and Environmental Science
  4. International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste (Italy). Earth System Physics Section
  5. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Earth Sciences Division; Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1435071
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231; 036946; GOCE-CT-2003-505539
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Climate Dynamics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 47; Journal Issue: 7-8; Journal ID: ISSN 0930-7575
Publisher:
Springer-Verlag
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Regional climate modeling; Precipitation; Model resolution

Citation Formats

Rauscher, Sara A., O?Brien, Travis A., Piani, Claudio, Coppola, Erika, Giorgi, Filippo, Collins, William D., and Lawston, Patricia M. A multimodel intercomparison of resolution effects on precipitation: simulations and theory. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1007/s00382-015-2959-5.
Rauscher, Sara A., O?Brien, Travis A., Piani, Claudio, Coppola, Erika, Giorgi, Filippo, Collins, William D., & Lawston, Patricia M. A multimodel intercomparison of resolution effects on precipitation: simulations and theory. United States. doi:10.1007/s00382-015-2959-5.
Rauscher, Sara A., O?Brien, Travis A., Piani, Claudio, Coppola, Erika, Giorgi, Filippo, Collins, William D., and Lawston, Patricia M. Sat . "A multimodel intercomparison of resolution effects on precipitation: simulations and theory". United States. doi:10.1007/s00382-015-2959-5. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1435071.
@article{osti_1435071,
title = {A multimodel intercomparison of resolution effects on precipitation: simulations and theory},
author = {Rauscher, Sara A. and O?Brien, Travis A. and Piani, Claudio and Coppola, Erika and Giorgi, Filippo and Collins, William D. and Lawston, Patricia M.},
abstractNote = {An ensemble of six pairs of RCM experiments performed at 25 and 50 km for the period 1961–2000 over a large European domain is examined in order to evaluate the effects of resolution on the simulation of daily precipitation statistics. Application of the non-parametric two-sample Kolmorgorov–Smirnov test, which tests for differences in the location and shape of the probability distributions of two samples, shows that the distribution of daily precipitation differs between the pairs of simulations over most land areas in both summer and winter, with the strongest signal over southern Europe. Two-dimensional histograms reveal that precipitation intensity increases with resolution over almost the entire domain in both winter and summer. In addition, the 25 km simulations have more dry days than the 50 km simulations. The increase in dry days with resolution is indicative of an improvement in model performance at higher resolution, while the more intense precipitation exceeds observed values. The systematic increase in precipitation extremes with resolution across all models suggests that this response is fundamental to model formulation. Simple theoretical arguments suggest that fluid continuity, combined with the emergent scaling properties of the horizontal wind field, results in an increase in resolved vertical transport as grid spacing decreases. This increase in resolution-dependent vertical mass flux then drives an intensification of convergence and resolvable-scale precipitation as grid spacing decreases. In conclusion, this theoretical result could help explain the increasingly, and often anomalously, large stratiform contribution to total rainfall observed with increasing resolution in many regional and global models.},
doi = {10.1007/s00382-015-2959-5},
journal = {Climate Dynamics},
number = 7-8,
volume = 47,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {2}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 12 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Exploring a Global Multiresolution Modeling Approach Using Aquaplanet Simulations
journal, April 2013

  • Rauscher, Sara A.; Ringler, Todd D.; Skamarock, William C.
  • Journal of Climate, Vol. 26, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00154.1

Daily precipitation statistics in regional climate models: Evaluation and intercomparison for the European Alps: DAILY PRECIPITATION STATISTICS IN REGIONAL CLIMATE MODELS
journal, February 2003

  • Frei, Christoph; Christensen, Jens Hesselbjerg; Déqué, Michel
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 108, Issue D3
  • DOI: 10.1029/2002JD002287

A Investigation of the Sensitivity of Simulated Precipitation to Model Resolution and Its Implications for Climate Studies
journal, January 1996


Convergence of aqua-planet simulations with increasing resolution in the Community Atmospheric Model, Version 3
journal, January 2008


A mass-flux convection scheme for regional and global models
journal, April 2001

  • Bechtold, P.; Bazile, E.; Guichard, F.
  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 127, Issue 573
  • DOI: 10.1002/qj.49712757309

Temporal–Spatial Scales of Observed and Simulated Precipitation in Central U.S. Climate
journal, November 2003


The ERA-40 re-analysis
journal, October 2005

  • Uppala, S. M.; KÅllberg, P. W.; Simmons, A. J.
  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 131, Issue 612
  • DOI: 10.1256/qj.04.176

Simulation of regional-scale water and energy budgets: Representation of subgrid cloud and precipitation processes within RegCM
journal, December 2000

  • Pal, Jeremy S.; Small, Eric E.; Eltahir, Elfatih A. B.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 105, Issue D24
  • DOI: 10.1029/2000JD900415

Response of precipitation extremes to idealized global warming in an aqua-planet climate model: towards a robust projection across different horizontal resolutions
journal, January 2011


The Impact of Positive-Definite Moisture Advection and Low-Level Moisture Flux Bias over Orography
journal, September 2009

  • Hahn, Robert S.; Mass, Clifford F.
  • Monthly Weather Review, Vol. 137, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1175/2009MWR2873.1

Statistical bias correction of global simulated daily precipitation and temperature for the application of hydrological models
journal, December 2010


Effects of model resolution and subgrid-scale physics on the simulation of precipitation in the continental United States
journal, August 2004


Effects of precipitation-bias corrections on surface hydrology over northern latitudes
journal, January 2007

  • Tian, Xiangjun; Dai, Aiguo; Yang, Daqing
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 112, Issue D14
  • DOI: 10.1029/2007JD008420

The effect of horizontal resolution on simulation of very extreme US precipitation events in a global atmosphere model
journal, September 2009


The Variability of Modeled Tropical Precipitation
journal, August 2004


Changes in extremes and hydroclimatic regimes in the CREMA ensemble projections
journal, April 2014


Correction of Global Precipitation Products for Orographic Effects
journal, January 2006

  • Adam, Jennifer C.; Clark, Elizabeth A.; Lettenmaier, Dennis P.
  • Journal of Climate, Vol. 19, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1175/JCLI3604.1

Constraints on future changes in climate and the hydrologic cycle
journal, September 2002


Adjustment of global gridded precipitation for systematic bias: GLOBAL GRIDDED PRECIPITATION
journal, May 2003

  • Adam, Jennifer C.; Lettenmaier, Dennis P.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 108, Issue D9
  • DOI: 10.1029/2002JD002499

Prognostic Evaluation of Assumptions Used by Cumulus Parameterizations
journal, March 1993


Horizontal wavenumber spectra of winds, temperature, and trace gases during the Pacific Exploratory Missions: 1. Climatology
journal, March 1999

  • Cho, John Y. N.; Zhu, Yong; Newell, Reginald E.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 104, Issue D5
  • DOI: 10.1029/98JD01825

Daily rainfall analysis for South America from a regional climate model and station observations: DOWNSCALED DAILY RAINFALL FOR SOUTH AMERICA
journal, April 2004

  • Seth, A.; Rojas, M.; Liebmann, B.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 31, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1029/2003GL019220

Bias corrections of long-term (1973-2004) daily precipitation data over the northern regions: BIAS CORRELATIONS OF LONG-TERM DAILY PRECIPITATION
journal, October 2005

  • Yang, Daqing; Kane, Douglas; Zhang, Zhongping
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 32, Issue 19
  • DOI: 10.1029/2005GL024057

California Wintertime Precipitation Bias in Regional and Global Climate Models
journal, October 2010

  • Caldwell, Peter
  • Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, Vol. 49, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1175/2010JAMC2388.1

A parameterization scheme for non-convective condensation including prediction of cloud water content
journal, July 1978

  • Sundqvist, Hilding
  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 104, Issue 441
  • DOI: 10.1002/qj.49710444110

The effect of time steps and time-scales on parametrization suites
journal, August 2012

  • Williamson, David L.
  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 139, Issue 671
  • DOI: 10.1002/qj.1992

Observed Scaling in Clouds and Precipitation and Scale Incognizance in Regional to Global Atmospheric Models
journal, December 2013


Evaluating regional climate model estimates against site-specific observed data in the UK
journal, February 2008


Ensembles-based predictions of climate changes and their impacts
journal, December 2004

  • Hewitt, Chris D.
  • Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, Vol. 85, Issue 52
  • DOI: 10.1029/2004EO520005

Atmospheric Moisture Budget and Spatial Resolution Dependence of Precipitation Extremes in Aquaplanet Simulations
journal, May 2014


Regional Climate Model–Simulated Timing and Character of Seasonal Rains in South America
journal, July 2007

  • Rauscher, Sara A.; Seth, Anji; Liebmann, Brant
  • Monthly Weather Review, Vol. 135, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1175/MWR3424.1

Transition from geostrophic turbulence to inertia–gravity waves in the atmospheric energy spectrum
journal, November 2014

  • Callies, Jörn; Ferrari, Raffaele; Bühler, Oliver
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 111, Issue 48
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1410772111

A European daily high-resolution gridded data set of surface temperature and precipitation for 1950–2006
journal, January 2008

  • Haylock, M. R.; Hofstra, N.; Klein Tank, A. M. G.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 113, Issue D20
  • DOI: 10.1029/2008JD010201

Resolution effects on regional climate model simulations of seasonal precipitation over Europe
journal, June 2009


Simulation of climate change over Europe using a nested regional-climate model. I: Assessment of control climate, including sensitivity tolocation of lateral boundaries
journal, July 1995

  • Jones, Rg; Murphy, Jm; Noguer, M.
  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 121, Issue 526
  • DOI: 10.1256/smsqj.52609

“Super-parameterization”: A better way to simulate regional extreme precipitation?: SUPER PARAMETERIZATION FOR EXTREME PRECIPITATION SIMULATIONS
journal, February 2012

  • Li, Fuyu; Rosa, Daniele; Collins, William D.
  • Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, Vol. 4, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1029/2011MS000106

    Works referencing / citing this record:

    The atmospheric hydrologic cycle in the ACME v0.3 model
    journal, July 2017

    • Terai, Christopher R.; Caldwell, Peter M.; Klein, Stephen A.
    • Climate Dynamics, Vol. 50, Issue 9-10
    • DOI: 10.1007/s00382-017-3803-x

    Are atmospheric updrafts a key to unlocking climate forcing and sensitivity?
    journal, January 2016

    • Donner, Leo J.; O'Brien, Travis A.; Rieger, Daniel
    • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 16, Issue 20
    • DOI: 10.5194/acp-16-12983-2016

    The atmospheric hydrologic cycle in the ACME v0.3 model
    journal, July 2017

    • Terai, Christopher R.; Caldwell, Peter M.; Klein, Stephen A.
    • Climate Dynamics, Vol. 50, Issue 9-10
    • DOI: 10.1007/s00382-017-3803-x