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Impact of Horizontal Resolution on Precipitation in Complex Orography Simulated by the Regional Climate Model RCA3*
SMHI, Research Department, Climate research - Rossby Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4226-8713
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2015 (English)In: Monthly Weather Review, ISSN 0027-0644, E-ISSN 1520-0493, Vol. 143, no 9, p. 3610-3627Article in journal (Refereed) Published
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Abstract [en]

The hydrostatic regional climate model RCA, version 3 (RCA3), of the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute was used to dynamically downscale ERA-40 and the ECMWF operational analysis over a 22-yr period. Downscaling was performed at four horizontal resolutions-50, 25, 12.5, and 6.25 km-over an identical European domain. The model-simulated precipitation is evaluated against high-resolution gridded observational precipitation datasets over Switzerland and southern Norway, regions that are characterized by complex orography and distinct climate regimes. RCA3 generally overestimates precipitation over high mountains: during winter and summer over Switzerland and during summer over central-southern Norway. In the summer, this is linked with a substantial contribution of convective precipitation to the total precipitation errors, especially at the coarser resolutions (50 and 25 km). A general improvement in spatial correlation coefficients between simulated and observed precipitation is observed when the horizontal resolution is increased from 50 to 6 km. The 95th percentile spatial correlation coefficients during winter are much higher for southern Norway than for Switzerland, indicating that RCA3 is more successful at reproducing a relatively simple west-to-east precipitation gradient over southern Norway than a much more complex and variable precipitation distribution over Switzerland. The 6-km simulation is not always superior to the other simulations, possibly indicating that the model dynamical and physical configuration at this resolution may not have been optimal. However, a general improvement in simulated precipitation with increasing resolution supports further use and application of high spatial resolutions in RCA3.

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2015. Vol. 143, no 9, p. 3610-3627
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Climate Research
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Climate
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URN: urn:nbn:se:smhi:diva-1957DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-14-00302.1ISI: 000360313800015OAI: oai:DiVA.org:smhi-1957DiVA, id: diva2:923752
Available from: 2016-04-27 Created: 2016-03-03 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved

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Nikulin, GrigoryJones, Colin

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