Climatic Change

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 457-493

First online:

Regional Nested Model Simulations of Present Day and 2 × CO2 Climate over the Central Plains of the U.S.

  • Filippo GiorgiAffiliated withNational Center for Atmospheric Research
  • , Linda O. MearnsAffiliated withNational Center for Atmospheric Research
  • , Christine ShieldsAffiliated withNational Center for Atmospheric Research
  • , Larry McDanielAffiliated withNational Center for Atmospheric Research

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A nested regional climate model is used to generate a scenario of climate change over the MINK region (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas) due to doubling of carbon dioxide concentration (2 × CO2) for use in agricultural impact assessment studies. Five-year long present day (control) and 2 × CO2 simulations are completed at a horizontal grid point spacing of 50 km. Monthly and seasonal precipitation and surface air temperature over the MINK region are reproduced well by the model in the control run, except for an underestimation of both variables during the spring months. The performance of the nested model in the control run is greatly improved compared to a similar experiment performed with a previous version of the nested modeling system by Giorgi et al. (1994). The nested model generally improves the simulation of spatial precipitation patterns compared to the driving general circulation model (GCM), especially during the summer. Seasonal surface warming of 4 to 6 K and seasonal precipitation increases of 6 to 24% are simulated in 2 × CO2 conditions. The control run temperature biases are smaller than the simulated changes in all seasons, while the precipitation biases are of the same order of magnitude as the simulated changes. Although the large scale patterns of change in the driving GCM and nested RegCM model are similar, significant differences between the models, and substantial spatial variability, occur within the MINK region.