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Comparisons of modelled and observed climate for impact assessments

Theoretical and applied climatology / v.48 no.2/3. 1993, pp.75-87

Author : Robinson, P.J. ; Samel, A.N. ; Madden, G.

Abstract : Summary Comparisons between observed and modelled values of surface temperature, surface precipitation and 500 hPa height for the current climate were made for the southeast United States. Daily values and analyses pertinent to impact assessment, were emphasized. For the model, the time-independent 10-year series of values developed by the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory general circulation model were used. Observations were drawn from records for various stations and decades within the model grid-cell. Cumulative frequency distributions of temperature indicated both more clustering close to the mean and greater extremes for the model. The model reproduced the seasonal cycle of day-to-day temperature variability, but introduced a phase shift of about four months. One result was an apparent overabundance of hot spells in the model results. For precipitation the model indicated twice as many raindays as were observed, about the same number of days when precipitation exceeded 5 mm, and fewer days with amounts exceeding 10 mm, effectively decreasing the probability of heavy precipitation while enhancing annual totals. In winter the model appeared to represent the results from an aggregation of stations within the grid-cell, but in summer it was closer to individual station results. The model reproduced the seasonal cycle in the height and standard deviation of the 500 hPa surface, with a damped amplitude in both cases.

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