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Title: Exploring a Variable-Resolution Approach for Simulating Regional Climate in the Rocky Mountain Region Using the VR-CESM: VR-CESM Simulation in the Rocky Mountains

Abstract

The reliability of climate simulations and projections, particularly in the regions with complex terrains, is greatly limited by the model resolution. Here, we evaluate the variable-resolution Community Earth System Model (VR-CESM) with a high-resolution (0.125°) refinement over the Rocky Mountain region. The VR-CESM results are compared with observations, as well as CESM simulation at a quasi-uniform 1° resolution (UNIF) and Canadian Regional Climate Model version 5 (CRCM5) simulation at a 0.11° resolution. We find that VR-CESM is effective at capturing the observed spatial patterns of temperature, precipitation, and snowpack in the Rocky Mountains with the performance comparable to CRCM5, while UNIF is unable to do so. VR-CESM and CRCM5 simulate better the seasonal variations of precipitation than UNIF, although VR-CESM still overestimates winter precipitation whereas CRCM5 and UNIF underestimate it. All simulations distribute more winter precipitation along the windward (west) flanks of mountain ridges with the greatest overestimation in VR-CESM. VR-CESM simulates much greater snow water equivalent peaks than CRCM5 and UNIF, although the peaks are still 10–40% less than observations. Moreover, the frequency of heavy precipitation events (daily precipitation ≥ 25 mm) in VR-CESM and CRCM5 is comparable to observations, whereas the same events in UNIF are an ordermore » of magnitude less frequent. In addition, VR-CESM captures the observed occurrence frequency and seasonal variation of rain-on-snow days and performs better than UNIF and CRCM5. Lastly, these results demonstrate the VR-CESM's capability in regional climate modeling over the mountainous regions and its promising applications for climate change studies.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2]
  1. Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States); Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing (China)
  2. Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States)
  3. Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing (China)
  4. Univ. of California, Davis, CA (United States)
  5. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of California, Davis, CA (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23). Climate and Environmental Sciences Division
OSTI Identifier:
1512955
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1405498; OSTI ID: 1515769
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0016605; AC02‐05CH11231; AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 122; Journal Issue: 20; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-897X
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; variable‐resolution CESM; high‐resolution climate modeling; Rocky Mountains; snowpack; heavy precipitation event; rain‐on‐snow

Citation Formats

Wu, Chenglai, Liu, Xiaohong, Lin, Zhaohui, Rhoades, Alan M., Ullrich, Paul A., Zarzycki, Colin M., Lu, Zheng, and Rahimi-Esfarjani, Stefan R. Exploring a Variable-Resolution Approach for Simulating Regional Climate in the Rocky Mountain Region Using the VR-CESM: VR-CESM Simulation in the Rocky Mountains. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/2017jd027008.
Wu, Chenglai, Liu, Xiaohong, Lin, Zhaohui, Rhoades, Alan M., Ullrich, Paul A., Zarzycki, Colin M., Lu, Zheng, & Rahimi-Esfarjani, Stefan R. Exploring a Variable-Resolution Approach for Simulating Regional Climate in the Rocky Mountain Region Using the VR-CESM: VR-CESM Simulation in the Rocky Mountains. United States. doi:10.1002/2017jd027008.
Wu, Chenglai, Liu, Xiaohong, Lin, Zhaohui, Rhoades, Alan M., Ullrich, Paul A., Zarzycki, Colin M., Lu, Zheng, and Rahimi-Esfarjani, Stefan R. Tue . "Exploring a Variable-Resolution Approach for Simulating Regional Climate in the Rocky Mountain Region Using the VR-CESM: VR-CESM Simulation in the Rocky Mountains". United States. doi:10.1002/2017jd027008. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1512955.
@article{osti_1512955,
title = {Exploring a Variable-Resolution Approach for Simulating Regional Climate in the Rocky Mountain Region Using the VR-CESM: VR-CESM Simulation in the Rocky Mountains},
author = {Wu, Chenglai and Liu, Xiaohong and Lin, Zhaohui and Rhoades, Alan M. and Ullrich, Paul A. and Zarzycki, Colin M. and Lu, Zheng and Rahimi-Esfarjani, Stefan R.},
abstractNote = {The reliability of climate simulations and projections, particularly in the regions with complex terrains, is greatly limited by the model resolution. Here, we evaluate the variable-resolution Community Earth System Model (VR-CESM) with a high-resolution (0.125°) refinement over the Rocky Mountain region. The VR-CESM results are compared with observations, as well as CESM simulation at a quasi-uniform 1° resolution (UNIF) and Canadian Regional Climate Model version 5 (CRCM5) simulation at a 0.11° resolution. We find that VR-CESM is effective at capturing the observed spatial patterns of temperature, precipitation, and snowpack in the Rocky Mountains with the performance comparable to CRCM5, while UNIF is unable to do so. VR-CESM and CRCM5 simulate better the seasonal variations of precipitation than UNIF, although VR-CESM still overestimates winter precipitation whereas CRCM5 and UNIF underestimate it. All simulations distribute more winter precipitation along the windward (west) flanks of mountain ridges with the greatest overestimation in VR-CESM. VR-CESM simulates much greater snow water equivalent peaks than CRCM5 and UNIF, although the peaks are still 10–40% less than observations. Moreover, the frequency of heavy precipitation events (daily precipitation ≥ 25 mm) in VR-CESM and CRCM5 is comparable to observations, whereas the same events in UNIF are an order of magnitude less frequent. In addition, VR-CESM captures the observed occurrence frequency and seasonal variation of rain-on-snow days and performs better than UNIF and CRCM5. Lastly, these results demonstrate the VR-CESM's capability in regional climate modeling over the mountainous regions and its promising applications for climate change studies.},
doi = {10.1002/2017jd027008},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres},
number = 20,
volume = 122,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {10}
}

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