Climate Dynamics

, Volume 39, Issue 9–10, pp 2207–2217 | Cite as

A simple regional coupled model experiment for summer-time climate simulation over southern Africa

  • J. V. Ratnam
  • S. K. Behera
  • Y. Masumoto
  • K. Takahashi
  • T. Yamagata


The main aim of this paper is to evaluate the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) regional model in simulating the precipitation over southern Africa during austral summer. The model’s ability to reproduce the southern African mean climate and its variability around this mean state was evaluated by using the two-tier approach of specifying sea surface temperature (SST) to WRF and by using the one-tier approach of coupling the WRF with a simple mixed-layer ocean model. The boundary conditions provided by the reanalysis-II data were used for the simulations. Model experiments were conducted for twelve austral summers from DJF1998-99 to DJF2009-10. The experiments using both the two-tier and one-tier approaches simulated the spatial and temporal distributions of the precipitation realistically. However, both experiments simulated negative biases over Mozambique. Furthermore, analysis of the wet and dry spells revealed that the one-tier approach is superior to the two-tier approach. Based on the analysis of the surface temperature and the zonal wind shear it is noted that the simple mixed-layer ocean model coupled to WRF can be effectively used in place of two-tier WRF to simulate the climate of southern Africa. This is an important result because specification of SST at higher temporal resolutions in the subtropics is the most difficult task in the two-tier approach for most regional prediction models. The one-tier approach with the simple mixed-layer model can effectively reduce the complicacy of finding good SST predictions.


WRF Mixed layer ocean model Southern Africa 



The authors would like to thank the reviewers for their insightful comments which helped improve the manuscript considerably. The NCEP reanalysis data was provided by NOAA/OAR/ESRL/PSD, Boulder, Colorado, USA from their web site at The sea surface temperature data was provided by National Climatic Data Center, USA from their web. The present research is supported by Japan Science and Technology Agency/Japan International Cooperation Agency through Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. V. Ratnam
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. K. Behera
    • 1
    • 2
  • Y. Masumoto
    • 1
  • K. Takahashi
    • 2
    • 3
  • T. Yamagata
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Research Institute for Global ChangeYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Application LaboratoryYokohamaJapan
  3. 3.Earth Simulator CenterYokohamaJapan
  4. 4.School of ScienceThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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