Climate Dynamics

, Volume 22, Issue 6–7, pp 733–756

Mean, interannual variability and trends in a regional climate change experiment over Europe. I. Present-day climate (1961–1990)

Article

Abstract

We present an analysis of a multidecadal simulation of present-day climate (1961–1990) over Europe with the regional climate model RegCM nested within the global atmospheric model HadAMH. Climatic means, interannual variability and trends are examined, with focus on surface air temperature and precipitation. The RegCM driven by HadAMH fields is able to reproduce the basic features of the observed mean surface climate over Europe, its seasonal evolution and the regional detail due to topographic forcing. Surface air temperature biases are mostly less than 1–2 °C and precipitation biases mostly within 10–20%. The RegCM has more intense vertical transport of temperature and water vapor than HadAMH, which results in lower surface air temperatures and greater precipitation than found in the HadAMH simulation. In some cases this is in the direction of greater agreement with observations, while in others it is in the opposite direction. The simulation shows a tendency to overestimate interannual variability of temperature and precipitation compared to observations, particularly during summer and over the Mediterranean regions. It is shown that in DJF, MAM and SON the RegCM interannual variability is primarily determined by the boundary forcing from HadAMH, while in JJA the internal model physics and resolution effects dominate over many subregions of the domain, and the RegCM has higher interannual variability than HadAMH. The precipitation trends simulated by the nested modeling system for the period 1961–1990 capture some features of the observed trends, in particular the cold season drying over the Mediterranean regions. Ensembles of simulations are, however, needed for a more robust assessment of the model’s capability to simulate climatic trends. Overall, this simulation is of good quality compared with previous nested RegCM experiments and will constitute the basis for the generation of climate change scenarios over the European region to be reported in future work.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag  2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical PhysicsTriesteItaly

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