, Volume 104, Issue 1-2, pp 261-276,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 08 Jan 2011

Sensitivity of a regional climate model on the simulation of high intensity rainfall events over the Arabian Peninsula and around Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)


As a step towards the adoption and use of the regional climate model (RegCM3) for the simulation of intense rainfall events over the Arabian Peninsula, this study examines its sensitivity to domain size, boundary location, forcing fields, and resolution. In the climatological results, RegCM3 performs well in reproducing the annual and the seasonal mean precipitation as well as the contrast between wet and dry years in terms of the amounts and locations of the rainbands. In addition, simulations are performed for two cases of intense rainfall events in the Jeddah area and surroundings using a combination of three domains and two boundary forcings at 50 km. The results show that different combinations of these parameters provide different skills for the regional model. However, RegCM3 performs relatively better when ERA40 (NNRP2) is used at the boundaries in the smaller domain (larger domain), indicating the importance of the stronger (relatively weaker) influence of boundary forcing needed to capture these intense rainfall events around Jeddah. This may be explained by the fact that around that region, RegCM3 produces, in the smaller domain, higher relative humidity and stronger wind vectors closer to the reanalyses when nested within the ERA40, while it shows its best performance with the larger domain when driven by NNRP2. It is also shown that the use of high resolution does not systematically improve the simulation of such events, although some encouraging results were produced.