Climate Dynamics

, Volume 46, Issue 5–6, pp 1799–1818

Spatial distribution of precipitation annual cycles over South Africa in 10 CORDEX regional climate model present-day simulations

  • Alice Favre
  • Nathalie Philippon
  • Benjamin Pohl
  • Evangelia-Anna Kalognomou
  • Christopher Lennard
  • Bruce Hewitson
  • Grigori Nikulin
  • Alessandro Dosio
  • Hans-Juergen Panitz
  • Ruth Cerezo-Mota
Article

Abstract

This study presents an evaluation of the ability of 10 regional climate models (RCMs) participating in the COordinated Regional climate Downscaling Experiment-Africa to reproduce the present-day spatial distribution of annual cycles of precipitation over the South African region and its borders. As found in previous studies, annual mean precipitation is quasi-systematically overestimated by the RCMs over a large part of southern Africa south of about 20°S and more strongly over South Africa. The spatial analysis of precipitation over the studied region shows that in most models the distribution of biases appears to be linked to orography. Wet biases are quasi-systematic in regions with higher elevation with inversely neutral to dry biases particularly in the coastal fringes. This spatial pattern of biases is particularly obvious during summer and specifically at the beginning of the rainy season (November and December) when the wet biases are found to be the strongest across all models. Applying a k-means algorithm, a classification of annual cycles is performed using observed precipitation data, and is compared with those derived from modeled data. It is found that the in-homogeneity of the spatial and temporal distribution of biases tends to impact the modeled seasonality of precipitation. Generally, the pattern of rainfall seasonality in the ensemble mean of the 10 RCMs tends to be shifted to the southwest. This spatial shift is mainly linked to a strong overestimation of convective precipitation at the beginning of the rainy season over the plateau inducing an early annual peak and to an underestimation of stratiform rainfall in winter and spring over southwestern South Africa.

Keywords

CORDEX-Africa Regional climate model Evaluation Annual cycle of precipitation 

Supplementary material

382_2015_2677_MOESM1_ESM.docx (942 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 941 kb)

References

  1. Adler RF, Huffman GJ, Chang A, Ferraro R, Xie P, Janowiak J, Rudolf B, Schneider U, Curtis S, Bolvin D, Gruber A, Susskind J, Arkin P (2003) The Version 2 Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) monthly precipitation analysis (1979–present). J Hydrometeorol 4:1147–1167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baldauf M, Seifert A, Förstner J, Majewski D, Raschendorfer M, Reinhardt T (2011) Operational convective-scale numerical weather prediction with the COSMO model: description and sensitivities. Mon Weather Rev 139:3887–3905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Christensen OB, Drews M, Christensen JH, Dethloff K, Ketelsen K, Hebestadt I, Rinke A (2007) The HIRHAM Regional Climate Model Version 5 (beta). DMI technical report 06-17Google Scholar
  4. Cook KH (2000) The South Indian convergence zone and interannual rainfall variability over Southern Africa. J Clim 13:3789–3804CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dee DP, Uppala SM, Simmons AJ, Berrisford P, Poli P, Kobayashi S, Andrae U, Balmaseda MA, Balsamo G, Bauer P, Bechtold P, Beljaars ACM, van de Berg L, Bidlot J, Bormann N, Delsol C, Dragani R, Fuentes M, Geer AJ, Haimberger L, Healy SB, Hersbach H, Hólm EV, Isaksen L, Kållberg P, Köhler M, Matricardi M, Mcnally AP, Monge-Sanz BM, Morcrette JJ, Park BK, Peubey C, De Rosnay P, Tavolato C, Thépaut JN, Vitart F (2011) The ERA-interim reanalysis: configuration and performance of the data assimilation system. QJR Meteorol Soc 137(656):553–597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Déqué M (2010) Regional climate simulation with a mosaic of RCMS. Meteorol Z 19:259–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dosio A, Panitz H-J, Schubert-Frisius M, Luethi D (2015) Dynamically downscaling of CMIP5 CGMs over CORDEX-Africa with COSMO-CLM: analysis of the added value over the present climate. Clim Dyn 44:2637–2661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Endris HS, Omondi P, Jain S, Lennard C, Hewitson B, Chang’a L, Awange JL, Dosio A, Ketiem P, Nikulin G, Panitz H-J, Büchner M, Stordal F, Tazalika L (2013) Assessment of the performance of CORDEX regional climate models in simulating East African rainfall. J Clim 26(21):8453–8475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Engelbrecht FA, McGregor JL, Engelbrecht CJ (2009) Dynamics of Conformal-Cubic Atmospheric Model projected climate-change signal over southern Africa. Int J Climatol 29:1013–1033CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Engelbrecht CJ, Landman WA, Engelbrecht FA, Malherbe J (2015) A synoptic decomposition of rainfall over the Cape south coast of South Africa. Clim Dyn 44:2589–2607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Favre A, Hewitson B, Lennard C, Cerezo-Mota R, Tadross M (2013) Cut-off Lows in the South Africa region and their contribution to precipitation. Clim Dyn 41:2331–2351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gbobaniyi E, Sarr A, Sylla MB, Diallo I, Lennard C, Dosio A, Dhiédiou A, Kamga A, Klutse NAB, Hewitson B, Nikulin G, Lamptey B (2014) Climatology, annual cycle and interannual variability of precipitation and temperature in CORDEX regional climate models simulation over West Africa. Int J Climatol 34:2241–2257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Giorgi F, Jones C, Asrar G (2009) Addressing climate information needs at the regional level: the CORDEX framework. WMO Bull 58:175–183Google Scholar
  14. Harris I, Jones PD, Osborn TJ, Lister DH (2014) Updated high-resolution grids of monthly climatic observations-the CRU TS3.10 Dataset. Int J Climatol 34:623–642CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hartigan JA, Wong MA (1979) A k-means clustering algorithm. Appl Stat 28:100–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hernandez-Diaz L, Laprise R, Sushama L, Martynov A, Winger K, Dugas B (2013) Climate simulation over CORDEX Africa domain using the fifth-generation Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM5). Clim Dyn 40:1415–1433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Herrmann SM, Mohr KI (2011) A continental-scale classification of rainfall seasonality regimes in Africa based on gridded precipitation and land surface temperature products. J Appl Meteorol Climatol 50:2504–2513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hewitson B, Lennard C, Nikulin G, Jones C (2012) CORDEX-Africa: a unique opportunity for science and capacity building. CLIVAR Exchanges 60, International CLIVAR project office, Southampton, UK, pp 6–7Google Scholar
  19. IPCC (2013) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner G-K, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds) Contribution of working group I to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  20. Jacob D, Bärring L, Christensen OB, Christensen JH, de Castro M, Déqué M, Giorgi F, Hagemann S, Hirschi M, Jones R, Kjellström E, Lenderink G, Rockel B, Sánchez E, Schär C, Seneviratne SI, Somot S, van Ulden A, van den Hurk B (2007) An inter-comparison of regional climate models for Europe: model performance in present-day climate. Clim Change 81:31–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jones RG, Noguer M, Hassel DC, Hudson D, Wilson SS, Jenkins GJ, Mitchell JFB (2004) Generating high resolution climate change scenarios using PRECIS. Met Office Hadley Centre, ExeterGoogle Scholar
  22. Jones C, Giorgi F, Asrar G (2011) The coordinated regional downscaling experiment (CORDEX): an international downscaling link to CMIP5. CLIVAR Exchanges 56, International CLIVAR project office, Southampton, UK, pp 34–40Google Scholar
  23. Kalognomou E-A, Lennard C, Shongwe M, Pinto I, Favre A, Kent M, Hewitson B, Dosio A, Nikulin G, Panitz H-J, Büchner M (2013) A diagnostic evaluation of precipitation in CORDEX models over Southern Africa. J Clim 26:9477–9506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Keen CS, Tyson PD (1973) Seasonality of South African rainfall: a note on its regional delimitation using spectral analysis. Arch Meteorol Geophys Bioklimatol Ser 21:207–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kim J, Waliser DE, Mattmann C, Goodale C, Hart A, Zimdars P, Crichton D, Jones C, Nikulin G, Hewitson B, Jack C, Lennard C, Favre A (2014) Evaluation of the CORDEX-Africa multi-RCM hindcast: systematic model errors. Clim Dyn 42:1189–1202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lee-Thorp AM, Rouault M, Lutjeharms JRE (1999) Moisture uptake in the boundary layer above the Agulhas Current: a case study. J Geophys Res 104:1423–1430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Liebmann BL, Bladé I, Kaldis GN, Carvalho LMV, Senay GB, Allured D, Leroux S, Funk C (2012) A seasonality of African precipitation from 1996 to 2009. J Clim 25:4304–4322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Martiny N, Camberlin P, Richard Y, Philippon N (2006) Compared regimes of NDI and rainfall in semi-arid regions of Africa. Int J Remote Sens 27:5201–5223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Michelangeli P-A, Vautard R, Legras B (1995) Weather regimes: recurrence and quasi stationarity. J Atmos Sci 52:1237–1256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Midgley GF, Hannah L, Miller D, Thuiller W, Booth A (2003) Developing regional and species-level assessments of climate change impacts on biodiversity in the Cape Floristic Region. Biol Conserv 112:87–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nicholson SE (2000) The nature of rainfall variability over Africa on time scales of decades to millennia. Glob Planet Change 26:137–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nikulin G, Jones C, Samuelsson P, Giorgi F, Mb Sylla, Asrar G, Büchner M, Cerezo-Mota R, Christensen OB, Déqué M, Fernandez J, Hänsler A, Van Meijgaard E, Sushama L (2012) Precipitation climatology in an ensemble of CORDEX-Africa regional climate simulations. J Clim 25:6057–6078CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pal JS, Giorgi F, Bi X, Elguindi N, Solmon F, Sa Rauscher, Gao X, Francisco R, Zakey A, Winter J, Ashfaq M, Syed FS, Sloan LC, Bell JL, Diffenbaugh NS, Karmacharya J, Konaré A, Martinez D, Da Rocha RP, Steiner AL (2007) Regional climate modeling for the developing world: the ICTP RegCM3 and RegCNET. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 88:1395–1409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Panitz H-J, Dosio A, Büchner M, Luethi D, Keuler K (2014) COSMO-CLM (CCLM) climate simulations over CORDEX Africa domain: analysis of the ERA-Interim driven simulations at 0.44 and 0.22 deg. resolution. Clim Dyn 42:3015–3038CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Philippon N, Rouault M, Richard Y, Favre A (2012) The influence of ENSO on South Africa winter rainfall. Int J Climatol 32:2333–2347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pohl B, Rouault M, Sen Roy S (2014) Simulation of the annual and diurnal cycles of rainfall over South Africa by a regional climate model. Clim Dyn 43:2207–2226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rouault M, Richard Y (2003) Intensity and spatial extension of drought in South Africa at different time scales. Water SA 29(4):489–500. (http://www.wrc.org.za)
  38. Rouault M, White SA, Reason CJC, Lutjeharms JRE, Jobard I (2002) Ocean–atmosphere interaction in the Agulhas Current region and a South African extreme weather event. Weather Forecast 17:655–669CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rudolf B, Schneider U (2005) Calculation of gridded precipitation data for the global land–surface using in situ gauge observations. Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop of the International Precipitation Working Group IPWG, Monterey October 2004, EUMETSAT, ISBN 92-9110-070-6, ISSN 1727-432X, pp 231–247Google Scholar
  40. Samuelsson P, Jones CG, Willén U, Ullerstig A, Gollvik S, Hansson U, Jansson C, Kjellström E, Nikulin G, Wyser K (2011) The Rossby Centre regional climate model RCA3: model description and performance. Tellus A 63A:4–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schneider U, Becker A, Finger P, Meyer-Christoffer A, Ziese M, Rudolf B (2014) GPCC’s new land surface precipitation climatology based on quality-controlled in situ data and its role in quantifying the global water cycle. Theor Appl Climatol 115:15–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Skamarock WC, Klemp JB, Dudhia J, Gill DO, Barker DM, Wang W, Powers JG (2008) A description of the advanced research WRF Version 3. NCAR technical note NCAR/TN–475+STRGoogle Scholar
  43. Taljaard (1986) Change of rainfall distribution and circulation patterns over Southern Africa in summer. J Climatol 6:579–592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Taylor KE (2001) Summarizing multiple aspects of model performance in a single diagram. J Geophys Res 106:7183–7192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Van Meijgaard E, Van Ulft LH, Van De Berg WJ, Bosveld FC, Van Den Hurk BJJM, Lenderink G, Siebesma AP (2008) The KNMI regional atmospheric climate model RACMO version 2.1. KNMI technical report 302Google Scholar
  46. Xie P, Arkin PA (1997) Global precipitation: a 17-year monthly analysis based on gauge observations, satellite estimates and numerical model outputs. Bull Am Meteorol 78:2539–2558CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zadra A, Caya D, Cote J, Dugas B, Jones C, Laprise R, Winger K, Caron L-P (2008) The next Canadian regional climate model. Phys Can 64:75–83Google Scholar
  48. Zhang X, Friedl MA, Schaaf CB, Strahler AH, Liu Z (2005) Monitoring the response of vegetation phenology to precipitation in Africa coupling MODIS and TRMM instruments. J Geophys Res Atmos 110:D12103.1–D12103.14Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice Favre
    • 1
  • Nathalie Philippon
    • 1
  • Benjamin Pohl
    • 1
  • Evangelia-Anna Kalognomou
    • 2
    • 3
  • Christopher Lennard
    • 2
  • Bruce Hewitson
    • 2
  • Grigori Nikulin
    • 4
  • Alessandro Dosio
    • 5
  • Hans-Juergen Panitz
    • 6
  • Ruth Cerezo-Mota
    • 7
  1. 1.Centre de Recherches de Climatologie (CRC), CNRS UMR 6282 BiogéosciencesUniversité de BourgogneDijonFrance
  2. 2.CSAG, ENGEO DepartmentUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Laboratory of Heat Transfer and Environmental Engineering (LHTEE)Aristotle UniversityThessaloníkiGreece
  4. 4.Rossby CentreSwedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI)NorrköpingSweden
  5. 5.European Commission Joint Research CentreInstitute for Environment and SustainabilityIspraItaly
  6. 6.Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research – Troposphere ResearchKarlsruhe Institute of TechnologyKarlsruheGermany
  7. 7.Laboratorio de Ingenería y Procesos CosterosUNAMSisalMexico

Personalised recommendations