Multiyear simulation of the African climate using a regional climate model (RegCM3) with the high resolution ERA-interim reanalysis
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- Sylla, M.B., Coppola, E., Mariotti, L. et al. Clim Dyn (2010) 35: 231. doi:10.1007/s00382-009-0613-9
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This study examines the ability of the latest version of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) regional climate model (RegCM3) to reproduce seasonal mean climatologies, annual cycle and interannual variability over the entire African continent and different climate subregions. The new European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) ERA-interim reanalysis is used to provide initial and lateral boundary conditions for the RegCM3 simulation. Seasonal mean values of zonal wind profile, temperature, precipitation and associated low level circulations are shown to be realistically simulated, although the regional model still shows some deficiencies. The West Africa monsoon flow is somewhat overestimated and the Africa Easterly Jet (AEJ) core intensity is underestimated. Despite these biases, there is a marked improvement in these simulated model variables compared to previous applications of this model over Africa. The mean annual cycle of precipitation, including single and multiple rainy seasons, is well captured over most African subregions, in some cases even improving the quality of the ERA-interim reanalysis. Similarly, the observed precipitation interannual variability is well reproduced by the regional model over most regions, mostly following, and sometimes improving, the quality of the ERA-interim reanalysis. It is assessed that the performance of this model over the entire African domain is of sufficient quality for application to the study of climate change and climate variability over the African continent.