Evaluation of rainfall simulations over West Africa in dynamically downscaled CMIP5 global circulation models
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- Akinsanola, A., Ajayi, V., Adejare, A. et al. Theor Appl Climatol (2017). doi:10.1007/s00704-017-2087-8
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This study presents evaluation of the ability of Rossby Centre Regional Climate Model (RCA4) driven by nine global circulation models (GCMs), to skilfully reproduce the key features of rainfall climatology over West Africa for the period of 1980-2005. The seasonal climatology and annual cycle of the RCA4 simulations were assessed over three homogenous subregions of West Africa (Guinea coast, Savannah, and Sahel) and evaluated using observed precipitation data from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP). Furthermore, the model output was evaluated using a wide range of statistical measures. The interseasonal and interannual variability of the RCA4 were further assessed over the subregions and the whole of the West Africa domain. Results indicate that the RCA4 captures the spatial and interseasonal rainfall pattern adequately but exhibits a weak performance over the Guinea coast. Findings from the interannual rainfall variability indicate that the model performance is better over the larger West Africa domain than the subregions. The largest difference across the RCA4 simulated annual rainfall was found in the Sahel. Result from the Mann–Kendall test showed no significant trend for the 1980–2005 period in annual rainfall either in GPCP observation data or in the model simulations over West Africa. In many aspects, the RCA4 simulation driven by the HadGEM2-ES perform best over the region. The use of the multimodel ensemble mean has resulted to the improved representation of rainfall characteristics over the study domain.