, Volume 33, Issue 7-8, pp 1131-1147,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 30 Jun 2009

Evaluation of high-resolution simulations of daily-scale temperature and precipitation over the United States


Extreme climate events have been increasing over much of the world, and dynamical models predict further increases in response to enhanced greenhouse forcing. We examine the ability of a high-resolution nested climate model, RegCM3, to capture the statistics of daily-scale temperature and precipitation events over the conterminous United States, using observational and reanalysis data for comparison. Our analyses reveal that RegCM3 captures the pattern of mean, interannual variability, and trend in the tails of the daily temperature and precipitation distributions. However, consistent biases do exist, including wet biases in the topographically-complex regions of the western United States and hot biases in the southern and central United States. The biases in heavy precipitation in the western United States are associated with excessively strong surface and low-level winds. The biases in daily-scale temperature and precipitation in the southcentral United States are at least partially driven by biases in circulation and moisture fields. Further, the areas of agreement and disagreement with the observational data are not intuitive from analyzing the simulated mean seasonal temperature and precipitation fields alone. Our evaluation should enable more informed application and improvement of high-resolution climate models for the study of future changes in socially- and economically-relevant temperature and precipitation events.