Climate Dynamics

, Volume 36, Issue 9–10, pp 1979–2001 | Cite as

Evaluation of the internal variability and estimation of the downscaling ability of the Canadian Regional Climate Model for different domain sizes over the north Atlantic region using the Big-Brother experimental approach

  • Maja Rapaić
  • Martin Leduc
  • René Laprise


The ability of a nested model to accurately simulate the subarctic climate is studied here. Two issues have been investigated: Model’s internal variability (IV) and the impact of domain size (DS). For this purpose we combine the “perfect model” approach, Big-Brother Experiment (BBE) (Denis et al. in Clim Dyn 18:627–646, 2002) with the ensemble of simulations. The advantage of this framework is the possibility to study small-scale climate features that constitute the main added value of RCM. The effects of the DS on result were studied by employing two Little-Brother (LB) domain sizes. IV has been evaluated by introducing small differences in initial conditions in an ensemble of 20 simulations over each LB. Results confirm previous findings that the IV is more important over the larger domain of integration. The temporal evolution over two domain sizes is rather different and depends strongly on the synoptic situation. Small-scales solution over the larger domain diverges freely from the boundary forcing in some periods. Over the smaller domain, the amplitude of small-scale transient eddies is systematically underestimated, especially at higher altitude characterized by the strongest winds along the storm tracks. Over the larger domain, the amplitude of small-scale transient eddies is better represented. However, the weaker control by the lateral boundaries over the larger domain results in solutions with large internal variability. As a result, the ensemble average strongly underestimates the transient-eddy variance due to partial destructive interference of individual ensemble member solutions.


Regional Climate Model Big-Brother Experiment Domain size Small-scale features Ensemble of simulations Internal variability 



This research was done as part of the Masters research of the first author and a project within the Canadian Network for Regional Climate Modelling and Diagnostics (CRCMD), financially supported by the Canadian Foundation for the Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) and the Ouranos Consortium on Regional Climatology and Adaptation to Climate Change. We would like to thank Mr. Mourad Labassi, Mr. Abderrahim Khaled and Mrs. Nadjet Labassi for maintaining a user-friendly local computing facility. Thanks are also extended to the Ouranos Climate Simulation Team for their support of the CRCM software. We are also very thankful to Dr. Colin Jones for discussions regarding the choice of domain and season for this study, and to Mr. Leo Separovic for several inspiring suggestions.

Supplementary material

382_2010_845_MOESM1_ESM.doc (2.9 mb)
(DOC 2.88 MB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of Quebec at MontrealMontrealCanada

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