Climate Dynamics

, Volume 39, Issue 1–2, pp 207–225 | Cite as

Downscaled simulations of the ECHAM5, CCSM3 and HadCM3 global models for the eastern Mediterranean–Black Sea region: evaluation of the reference period

  • Deniz Bozkurt
  • Ufuk Turuncoglu
  • Omer Lutfi SenEmail author
  • Baris Onol
  • H. Nuzhet Dalfes


The outputs of three GCMs, ECHAM5, CCSM3 and HadCM3, are downscaled for the eastern Mediterranean–Black Sea region for the period 1961–1990 using a regional climate model, RegCM3, to assess the capability of these models in simulating the climatology of the region. In addition, the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis data are also downscaled for the same period to display the performance of the regional climate model for the same region, which constitutes a relatively complex terrain and rich variety of climates. The gridded observational dataset of CRU is primarily used in the evaluation of the models, however, a regional dataset, which is based on a relatively dense gauging network, is also used to see how it affects the performance measures of the models. The reanalysis simulation indicates that RegCM3 is able to simulate the precipitation and surface temperature as well as the upper level fields reasonably well. However, it tends to overestimate the precipitation over the mountainous areas. All three GCM models are found to be highly skilled in simulating the winter precipitation and temperature in the region. The two models, ECHAM5 and HadCM3, are also good at simulating the summer precipitation and temperature, but the CCSM3 simulation generates dryer and warmer conditions than the observations for the whole region, which are most likely a result of the dryness in the upper levels of the original outputs. The use of the regional observational dataset does not necessarily improve the pattern correlations, but it yields better match between the modeled and observed precipitation in terms of variability and root-mean-square difference. It could be said that the outputs of these GCMs can be used in the climate change downscaling and impact assessment studies for the region, given that their strengths and weaknesses that are displayed in the present study are considered.


Simulated regional climate Turkey Fertile Crescent Caucasus Balkans Carpathians 



This study was made possible through funding from United Nations Development Programme through ‘MDG-F 1680’ project entitled “Enhancing the Capacity of Turkey to Adapt to Climate Change”. We are grateful to Max Planck Institute, Hadley Centre, National Center for Atmospheric Research for providing the GCM outputs and reanalysis data, and University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit and Turkish State Meteorological Service for providing the observational data. The simulations were performed at the National Center for High Performance Computing at the Istanbul Technical University.


  1. Anthes RA (1977) A cumulus parameterization scheme utilizing a one-dimensional cloud model. Mon Weather Rev 105:270–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnston A, Livezey RE (1987) Classification, seasonality and persistence of low-frequency circulation patterns. Mon Wea Rev 115:1083–1126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bergant K, Belda M, Halenka T (2007) Systematic errors in the simulation of European climate (1961–2000) with RegCM3 driven by NCEP/NCAR reanalysis. Int J Climatol 27:455–472. doi: 10.1002/joc.1413 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bozkurt D, Sen OL (2011) Precipitation in the Anatolian Peninsula: sensitivity to increased SSTs in the surrounding seas. Clim Dyn 36(3–4):711–726. doi: 10.1007/s00382-009-0651-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Busuioc A, Von Storch H, Schnur R (1999) Verification of GCM-generated regional seasonal precipitation for current climate and of statistical downscaling estimates under changing climate conditions. J Clim 12:258–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Collins WD et al (2006) The community climate system model version 3 (CCSM3). J Clim 19(11):2122–2143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dickinson RE, Henderson-Sellers A, Kennedy PJ (1993) Biosphere-atmosphere transfer scheme (BATS) version 1e as coupled to the NCAR community climate model. Tech note TN-387+STR, NCAR, p 72Google Scholar
  8. Dingman SL (2002) Physical hydrology, 2nd edn. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle RiverGoogle Scholar
  9. Duffy PB, Arritt RW, Coquard J, Gutowski W, Han J, Iorio J, Kim J, Leung L-R, Roads J, Zeledon E (2006) Simulations of present and future climates in the Western United States with four nested regional climate models. J Clim 19:873–895CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Emanuel KA, Zivkovic-Rothman M (1999) Development and evaluation of a convection scheme for use in climate models. J Atmos Sci 56:1766–1782CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eriş E (2011) Determination of spatial distribution of precipitation on poorly gauged coastal regions. PhD Dissertation, Istanbul Technical University, p 115Google Scholar
  12. Evans JP, Smith RB, Oglesby RJ (2004) Middle East climate simulation and dominant precipitation processes. Int J Climatol 24:1671–1694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fritsch JM, Chappell CF (1980) Numerical prediction of convectively driven mesoscale pressure systems. Part 1 convective parameterization. J Atmos Sci 37:1722–1733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gao X, Pal JS, Giorgi F (2006) Projected changes in mean and extreme precipitation over the Mediterranean region from high resolution double nested RCM simulations. Geophys Res Lett 33:L03706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Giorgi F (2006) Climate change hot-spots. Geophys Res Lett 33:L08707. doi: 10.1029/2006GL025734 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Giorgi F, Francisco R (2000) Uncertainties in regional climate change predictions. A regional analysis of ensemble simulations with the HADCM2 GCM. Clim Dyn 16:169–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Giorgi F, Lionello P (2008) Climate change projections for the Mediterranean region. Glob Planet Chang 63:90–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Giorgi F, Bates GT, Nieman SJ (1993a) The multi-year surface climatology of a regional atmospheric model over the western United States. J Clim 6:75–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Giorgi F, Marinucci MR, Bates GT, DeCanio G (1993b) Development of a second generation regional climate model (RegCM2). Part II: convective processes and assimilation of lateral boundary conditions. Mon Wea Rev 121:2814–2832CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Giorgi F, Shields C, Bates GT (1994) Regional climate change scenarios over the United States produced with a nested regional climate model. J Clim 7:375–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Giorgi F, Whetton PW, Jones RG, Christensen JH, Mearns LO, Hewitson B, vonStorch H, Francisco R, Jack C (2001) Emerging patterns of simulated regional climatic changes for the 21st century due to anthropogenic forcings. Geophys Res Lett 28:3317–3320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Giorgi F, Bi X, Pal JS (2004a) Mean, interannual variability and trends in a regional climate change experiment over Europe, I. Present day climate (1961–1990). Clim Dyn 22:733–756CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Giorgi F, Bi X, Pal JS (2004b) Mean, interannual variability and trends in a regional climate change experiment over Europe, II. Climate change scenarios (2071–2100). Clim Dyn 22:733–756CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gordon C, Cooper C, Senior CA, Banks H, Gregory HM, Johns TC, Mitchell JFB, Wood RA (2000) The simulation of SST, sea ice extent and ocean heat transports in a version of the Hadley Centre coupled model without flux adjustments. Clim Dyn 16:147–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gregory JM, Stott PA, Cresswell J, Rayner NA, Gordon C, Sexton DMH (2002) Recent and future changes in Arctic Sea ice simulated by the HadCM3 AOGCM. Geophys Res Lett 29(24):2175. doi: 10.1029/2001GL014575 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Grell G (1993) Prognostic evaluation of assumptions used by cumulus parameterization. Mon Weather Rev 121:764–787CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Han J, Roads J (2004) U.S. climate sensitivity simulated with the NCEP regional spectral model. Clim Change 62:115–154. doi: 10.1023/B:CLIM.0000013675.66917.15 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Holtslag AAM, DeBruijn EIF, Pan HL (1990) A high resolution air mass transformation model for short range weather forecasting. Mon Wea Rev 118:1561–1575CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hsie EY, Anthes RA, Keyser D (1984) Numerical simulation of frontogenesis in a moist atmosphere. J Atmos Sci 41:2581–2594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hu ZZ, Wu A (2004) The intensification and shift of the annual North Atlantic Oscillation in a global warming scenario simulation. Tellus 56A:112–124Google Scholar
  31. Huntingford C, Jones RG, Prudhomme C, Lamb R, Gash JHC, Jones DA (2003) Regional climate model predictions of extreme rainfall for a changing climate. Q J R Meteorol Soc 129:1607–1622CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hurrel JW (1995) Decadal trends in the North Atlantic Oscillation: regional temperatures and precipitation. Science 269:676–679CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. IPCC (2007) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fourth assessment report on scientific aspects of climate change for researchers, students, and policymakersGoogle Scholar
  34. Kalnay E, Kanamitsu M, Kistler R et al (1996) The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 77:437–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kiehl JT, Hack JJ, Bonan GB, Boville BA, Briegleb BP, Williamson DL, Rasch PJ (1996) Description of the NCAR community climate model (CCM3). NCAR technical note, NCAR/TN-420+STR, p 152Google Scholar
  36. Krichak SO, Alpert P (2005) Signatures of the NAO in the atmospheric circulation during wet winter months over the Mediterranean region. Theor Appl Climatol 82:27–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Krichak SO, Kishcha P, Alpert P (2002) Decadal trends of main Eurasian oscillations and the Eastern Mediterranean precipitation. Theor Appl Climatol 72:209–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Krichak SO, Alpert P, Bassat K, Kunin P (2007) The surface climatology of the eastern Mediterranean region obtained in a three-member ensemble climate change simulation experiment. Theor Appl Climatol 12:67–80Google Scholar
  39. Krichak SO, Alpert P, Kunin P (2010) Numerical simulation of seasonal distribution of precipitation over the eastern Mediterranean with a RCM. Clim Dyn 34:47–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kutiel H, Benaroch Y (2002) North Sea-Caspian Pattern (NCP)—an upper level atmospheric teleconnection affecting the Eastern Mediterranean: identification and definition. Theor Appl Climatol 71:17–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kutiel H, Maheras P, Türkeş M, Paz S (2002) North Sea-Caspian Pattern (NCP)—an upper level atmospheric teleconnection affecting the Eastern Mediterranean—implications on the regional climate. Theor Appl Climatol 72:173–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lionello P et al (2006) Cyclones in the Mediterranean region: climatology and effects on the environment. In: Lionello P, Malanotte-Rizzoli P, Boscolo R (eds) Mediterranean climate variability. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 325–372Google Scholar
  43. Martinez-Castro D, da Rocha RP, Bezanilla-Morlot A, Alvarez-Escudero L, Reyes-Fernandez JP, Silva-Vidal Y, Arritt RW (2006) Sensitivity studies of the RegCM3 simulation of summer precipitation, temperature and local wind field in the Caribbean Region. Theor Appl Climatol 86:5–22. doi: 10.1007/s00704-005-0201-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. McGregor JL (1997) Regional climate modeling. Meteorol Atmos Phys 63:105–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Messager C, Gallee H, Brasseur O (2004) Precipitation sensitivity to regional SST in a regional climate simulation during the West African monsoon for two dry years. Clim Dyn 22:249–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mitchell TD, Jones PD (2005) An improved method of constructing a database of monthly climate observations and associated high-resolution grids. Int J Climatol 25:693–712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Önol B, Semazzi FHM (2009) Regionalization of climate change simulations over Eastern Mediterranean. J Clim 22:1944–1961. doi: 10.1175/2008JCL11807.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pal JS, Smal EE, Eltahir EAB (2000) Simulation of regional-scale water and energy budgets: representation of subgrid cloud and precipitation processes within RegCM. J Geophys Res 105(D24):29579–29594. doi: 10.1029/2000JD900415 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pal JS, Giorgi F, Bi X et al (2007) Regional climate modeling for the developing world: the ICTP RegCM3 and RegCNET. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 88(9):1395–1409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Roeckner E et al (2003) The atmospheric general circulation model ECHAM5. Part I: model description. Max Planck Institute for Meteorology Rep. 349, p 127Google Scholar
  51. Rayner NA, Parker DE, Horton EB, Folland CK, Alexander LV, Rowell DP, Kent EC, Kaplan A (2003) Global analyses of sea surface temperature, sea ice, and nigh marine temperature since the late nineteenth century. J Geophys Res Atmos 108(D14):4407. doi: 10.1029/2002JD002670 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rohling EJ, Hilgen FJ (1991) The eastern Mediterranean climate at times of sapropel formation: a review. Geologie en Mijnbouw 70:253–264Google Scholar
  53. Russel GL, Gornitz V, Miller JR (2000) Regional sea-level changes projected by the NASA/GISS atmosphere-ocean model. Clim Dyn 16:789–797CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sen OL, Wang B, Wang Y (2004a) Impacts of re-greening the desertified lands in northwestern China: implications from a regional climate model experiment. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 82(6):1679–1693CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sen OL, Wang Y, Wang B (2004b) Impact of Indochina deforestation on the East-Asian summer monsoon. J Clim 17:1366–1380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sen OL, Unal A, Bozkurt D, Kindap T (2011) Temporal changes in the Euphrates and Tigris discharges and teleconnections. Environ Res Lett 6:024012. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/6/2/024012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Seth A, Rauscher SA, Camargo SJ, Qian JH, Pal JS (2007) RegCM3 regional climatologies for South America using reanalysis and ECHAM global model driving fields. Clim Dyn 28:461–480. doi: 10.1007/s00382-006-0191-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sylla B, Coppola E, Mariotti L, Giorgi F, Ruti PM, Dell’Aquila A, Bi X (2010) Multiyear simulation of the African climate using a regional climate model (RegCM3) with the high resolution ERA-interim reanalysis. Clim Dyn 35:231–247. doi: 10.1007/s00382-009-0613-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Taylor KE (2001) Summarizing multiple aspects of model performance in a single diagram. J Geophys Res 106:7183–7192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Türkeş M, Erlat E (2009) Winter mean temperature variability in Turkey associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation. Meteorol Atmos Phys 105:211–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Ulbrich U, May W, Li L, Lionello P, Pinto JG, Somot S (2006) The Mediterranean climate change under global warming. In: Lionello O, Malanotte-Rizzoli P, Boscolo R (eds) Mediterranean climate variability. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 324–372Google Scholar
  62. Wang G (2005) Agricultural drought in a future climate: results from 15 global climate models participating in the IPCC 4th assessment. Clim Dyn 25:739–753CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wang Y et al (2004) Regional climate modeling: progress challenges and prospects. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 82:1599–1628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Xoplaki E, González-Rouco JF, Luterbacher J, Wanner H (2004) Wet season Mediterranean precipitation variability: influence of large-scale dynamics and trends. Clim Dyn 23:63–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Zeng X, Zhao M, Dickinson RE (1998) Intercomparison of bulk aerodynamic algorithms for the computation of sea surface fluxes using toga coare and tao data. J Clim 11:2628–2644CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deniz Bozkurt
    • 1
  • Ufuk Turuncoglu
    • 2
  • Omer Lutfi Sen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Baris Onol
    • 3
  • H. Nuzhet Dalfes
    • 1
  1. 1.Eurasia Institute of Earth SciencesIstanbul Technical UniversityMaslak, IstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Informatics InstituteIstanbul Technical UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  3. 3.Department of MeteorologyIstanbul Technical UniversityIstanbulTurkey

Personalised recommendations