Climate Dynamics

, Volume 38, Issue 3–4, pp 635–653 | Cite as

Downscaling of South America present climate driven by 4-member HadCM3 runs

  • Sin Chan ChouEmail author
  • José A. Marengo
  • André A. Lyra
  • Gustavo Sueiro
  • José F. Pesquero
  • Lincoln M. Alves
  • Gillian Kay
  • Richard Betts
  • Diego J. Chagas
  • Jorge L. Gomes
  • Josiane F. Bustamante
  • Priscila Tavares


The objective of this work is to evaluate climate simulations over South America using the regional Eta Model driven by four members of an ensemble of the UK Met Office Hadley Centre HadCM3 global model. The Eta Model has been modified with the purpose of performing long-term decadal integrations and has shown to reproduce “present climate”—the period 1961–1990—reasonably well when forced by HadCM3. The global model lateral conditions with a resolution of 2.5° latitude × 3.75° longitude were provided at a frequency of 6 h. Each member of the global model ensemble has a different climate sensitivity, and the four members were selected to span the range of uncertainty encompassed by the ensemble. The Eta Model nested in the HadCM3 global model was configured with 40-km horizontal resolution and 38 layers in the vertical. No large-scale internal nudging was applied. Results are shown for austral summer and winter at present climate defined as 1961–90. The upper and low-level circulation patterns produced by the Eta-CPTEC/HadCM3 experiment set-up show good agreement with reanalysis data and the mean precipitation and temperature with CRU observation data. The spread in the downscaled mean precipitation and temperature is small when compared against model errors. On the other hand, the benefits in using an ensemble is clear in the improved representation of the seasonal cycle by the ensemble mean over any one realization. El Niño and La Niña years were identified in the HadCM3 member runs based on the NOAA Climate Prediction Center criterion of sea surface temperature anomalies in the Niño 3.4 area. The frequency of the El Niño and La Niña events in the studied period is underestimated by HadCM3. The precipitation and temperature anomalies typical of these events are reproduced by most of the Eta-CPTEC/HadCM3 ensemble, although small displacements of the positions of the anomalies occur. This experiment configuration is the first step on the implementation of Eta-CPTEC/HadCM3 upcoming experiments on climate change studies that are discussed in a companion paper.


South America Regional climate model Eta model Present climate Climate simulation uncertainty 



The authors thank the UNDP Project BRA/05/G31 and the FCO GOF-Dangerous Climate Change DCC project from the UK. SC and JM were funded by the Brazilian National Research Council CNPq. Additional funds came from the Brazilian programs Rede-CLIMA, the National Institute of Science and Technology for Climate Change (INCT-CC), and from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under Grant Agreement no. 212492 (CLARIS LPB—A Europe-South America Network for Climate Change Assessment and Impact Studies in La Plata Basin).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sin Chan Chou
    • 1
    Email author
  • José A. Marengo
    • 1
  • André A. Lyra
    • 1
  • Gustavo Sueiro
    • 1
  • José F. Pesquero
    • 1
  • Lincoln M. Alves
    • 1
  • Gillian Kay
    • 2
  • Richard Betts
    • 2
  • Diego J. Chagas
    • 1
  • Jorge L. Gomes
    • 1
  • Josiane F. Bustamante
    • 1
  • Priscila Tavares
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute for Space Research (INPE)São PauloBrazil
  2. 2.UK Met Office Hadley CentreDevonUK

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