Climate Dynamics

, Volume 50, Issue 7–8, pp 2311–2334 | Cite as

Assessment of the performance of CORDEX-South Asia experiments for monsoonal precipitation over the Himalayan region during present climate: part I

Article

Abstract

Analysis of regional climate simulations to evaluate the ability of 11 Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment in South Asia experiments (CORDEX-South Asia) along with their ensemble to produce precipitation from June to September (JJAS) over the Himalayan region have been carried out. These suite of 11 combinations come from 6 regional climate models (RCMs) driven with 10 initial and boundary conditions from different global climate models and are collectively referred here as 11 CORDEX South Asia experiments. All the RCMs use a similar domain and are having similar spatial resolution of 0.44° (~50 km). The set of experiments are considered to study precipitation sensitivity associated with the Indian summer monsoon (ISM) over the study region. This effort is made as ISM plays a vital role in summertime precipitation over the Himalayan region which acts as driver for the sustenance of habitat, population, crop, glacier, hydrology etc. In addition, so far the summer monsoon precipitation climatology over the Himalayan region has not been studied with the help of CORDEX data. Thus this study is initiated to evaluate the ability of the experiments and their ensemble in reproducing the characteristics of summer monsoon precipitation over Himalayan region, for the present climate (1970–2005). The precipitation climatology, annual precipitation cycles and interannual variabilities from each simulation have been assessed against the gridded observational dataset: Asian Precipitation-Highly Resolved Observational Data Integration Towards the Evaluation of Water Resources for the given time period. Further, after the selection of the better performing experiment the frequency distribution of precipitation was also studied. In this study, an approach has also been made to study the degree of agreement among individual experiments as a way to quantify the uncertainty among them. The experiments though show a wide variation among themselves and individually over time and space in simulating precipitation distribution over the study region, but noticeably along the foothills of the Himalayas all the simulations show dry precipitation bias against the corresponding observation. In addition, as we move towards higher elevation regions these experiments in general show wet bias. The experiment driven by EC-EARTH global climate model and downscaled using Rossby Center regional Atmospheric model version 4 developed by Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI-RCA4) simulate precipitation closely in correspondence with the observation. The ensemble outperforms the result of individual experiments. Correspondingly, different kinds of statistical analysis like spatial and temporal correlation, Taylor diagram, frequency distribution and scatter plot have been performed to compare the model output with observation and to explain the associated resemblance, robustness and dynamics statistically. Through the bias and ensemble spread analysis, an estimation of the uncertainty of the model fields and the degree of agreement among them has also been carried out in this study. Overview of the study suggests that these experiments facilitate precipitation evolution and structure over the Himalayan region with certain degree of uncertainty.

Keywords

CORDEX-South Asia Indian summer monsoon Himalayas Precipitation Bias 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Regional Climate, and the Working Group on Coupled Modelling and Center for Climate Change Research (CCCR), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology for provision of CORDEX South Asia data. Also, we thank Ministry of the Environment, Japan for APH’s water resources project, supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund. We are also grateful to two anonymous reviewers for making important comments and suggestions in improving the manuscript.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental SciencesJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia

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