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Title: A quantitative method to decompose SWE differences between regional climate models and reanalysis datasets

Abstract

The simulation of snow water equivalent (SWE) remains difficult for regional climate models. Accurate SWE simulation depends on complex interacting climate processes such as the intensity and distribution of precipitation, rain-snow partitioning, and radiative fluxes. To identify the driving forces behind SWE difference between model and reanalysis datasets, and guide model improvement, we design a framework to quantitatively decompose the SWE difference contributed from precipitation distribution and magnitude, ablation, temperature and topography biases in regional climate models. We apply this framework within the California Sierra Nevada to four regional climate models from the North American Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (NA-CORDEX) run at three spatial resolutions. Models generally predict less SWE compared to Landsat-Era Sierra Nevada Snow Reanalysis (SNSR) dataset. Unresolved topography associated with model resolution contribute to dry and warm biases in models. Refining resolution from 0.44° to 0.11° improves SWE simulation by 35%. To varying degrees across models, additional difference arises from spatial and elevational distribution of precipitation, cold biases revealed by topographic correction, uncertainties in the rain-snow partitioning threshold, and high ablation biases. This work reveals both positive and negative contributions to snow bias in climate models and provides guidance for future model development to enhance SWE simulation.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
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), Climate and Environmental Sciences Division (SC-23.1)
OSTI Identifier:
1581388
Grant/Contract Number:  
[AC02-05CH11231; SC0016605]
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
[ Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 1]; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; cryospheric science; hydrology

Citation Formats

Xu, Yun, Jones, Andrew, and Rhoades, Alan. A quantitative method to decompose SWE differences between regional climate models and reanalysis datasets. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-52880-5.
Xu, Yun, Jones, Andrew, & Rhoades, Alan. A quantitative method to decompose SWE differences between regional climate models and reanalysis datasets. United States. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-52880-5.
Xu, Yun, Jones, Andrew, and Rhoades, Alan. Mon . "A quantitative method to decompose SWE differences between regional climate models and reanalysis datasets". United States. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-52880-5. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1581388.
@article{osti_1581388,
title = {A quantitative method to decompose SWE differences between regional climate models and reanalysis datasets},
author = {Xu, Yun and Jones, Andrew and Rhoades, Alan},
abstractNote = {The simulation of snow water equivalent (SWE) remains difficult for regional climate models. Accurate SWE simulation depends on complex interacting climate processes such as the intensity and distribution of precipitation, rain-snow partitioning, and radiative fluxes. To identify the driving forces behind SWE difference between model and reanalysis datasets, and guide model improvement, we design a framework to quantitatively decompose the SWE difference contributed from precipitation distribution and magnitude, ablation, temperature and topography biases in regional climate models. We apply this framework within the California Sierra Nevada to four regional climate models from the North American Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (NA-CORDEX) run at three spatial resolutions. Models generally predict less SWE compared to Landsat-Era Sierra Nevada Snow Reanalysis (SNSR) dataset. Unresolved topography associated with model resolution contribute to dry and warm biases in models. Refining resolution from 0.44° to 0.11° improves SWE simulation by 35%. To varying degrees across models, additional difference arises from spatial and elevational distribution of precipitation, cold biases revealed by topographic correction, uncertainties in the rain-snow partitioning threshold, and high ablation biases. This work reveals both positive and negative contributions to snow bias in climate models and provides guidance for future model development to enhance SWE simulation.},
doi = {10.1038/s41598-019-52880-5},
journal = {Scientific Reports},
number = [1],
volume = [9],
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {11}
}

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