Australian snowpack in the NARCliM ensemble: evaluation, bias correction and future projections
- 199 Downloads
In this study we evaluate the ability of an ensemble of high-resolution Regional Climate Model simulations to represent snow cover characteristics over the Australian Alps and go on to asses future projections of snowpack characteristics. Our results show that the ensemble presents a cold temperature bias and overestimates total precipitation leading to a general overestimation of the snow cover as compared with MODIS satellite data. We then produce a new set of snowpack characteristics by running a temperature based snow melt/accumulation model forced by bias corrected temperature and precipitation fields. While some positive snow cover biases remain, the bias corrected (BC) dataset show large improvements regarding the simulation of total amounts, seasonality and spatial distribution of the snow cover compared with MODIS products. Both the raw and BC datasets are then used to assess future changes in the snowpack characteristics. Both datasets show robust increases in near-surface temperatures and decreases in snowfall that lead to a substantial reduction of the snowpack over the Australian Alps. The snowpack decreases by about 15 and 60% by 2030 and 2070 respectively. While the BC data introduce large differences in the simulation of the present climate snowpack, in relative terms future changes appear to be similar to those obtained using the raw data. Future temperature projections show a clear dependence with elevation through the snow-albedo feedback effect that affects snowpack projections. Uncertainties in future projections of the snowpack are large in both datasets and are mainly dominated by the choice of the lateral boundary conditions.
KeywordsSnowfall Snow cover Climate change Mountains High resolution
Support for this work was provided by the New South Wales (NSW) Office of Environment and Heritage to build on the NSW/ACT Regional Climate Modelling (NARCliM) Project. This work was made possible through the Merit Allocation Scheme award from the NCI (National Computational Infrastructure) National Facility at the Australian National University. The authors would like to thank Kathryn J. Bormann and Jeffery A. Thompson for providing the MODIS derived satellite datasets and the scientists involved in generating AWAP observational datasets that are used in this study. The authors also acknowledge the administration of Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales for the logistical support, the modelling groups, the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) and the WCRP’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling (WGCM) for their roles in making available the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) CMIP3 multimodel data set. Support of this data set is provided by the Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy. We thank the scientists at NCAR Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division for maintaining the Weather Research and Forecasting Model.
- Bhend J, Bathols J, Hennessy K (2012) Climate change impacts on snow in Victoria, vol 42. CSIRO report for the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, AspendaleGoogle Scholar
- CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology, (2015) Climate change in Australia information for Australias natural resource management regions: technical report. Tech. rep, CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
- Da Ronco P, De Michele C, Montesarchio M, Mercogliano P (2016) Comparing COSMO-CLM simulations and MODIS data of snow cover extent and distribution over Italian Alps. Clim Dyn. doi: 10.1007/s00382-016-3054-2.
- Dai A (2008) Temperature and pressure dependence of the rain-snow phase transition over land and ocean. Geophys Res Lett. doi: 10.1029/2008GL033295.
- Déqué M, Rowell DP, Lüthi D, Giorgi F, Christensen JH, Rockel B, Jacob D, Kjellström E, Castro M, Hurk B (2007) An intercomparison of regional climate simulations for Europe: assessing uncertainties in model projections. Clim Change 81(S1):53–70. doi: 10.1007/s10584-006-9228-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ek MB (2003) Implementation of Noah land surface model advances in the National Centers for Environmental Prediction operational mesoscale Eta model. J Geophys Res. doi: 10.1029/2002JD003296
- Evans JP, Ji F (2012a) Choosing GCMs. NARCliM Technical Note 1, NARCliM Consortium, Sydney, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
- Evans JP, Ji F (2012b) Choosing the RCMs to perform the downscaling. NARCliM Technical Note 2, NARCliM Consortium, Sydney, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
- Frei P, Kotlarski S, Liniger MA, Schär C (2017) Snowfall in the Alps: evaluation and projections based on the EURO-CORDEX regional climate models. Cryosphere Discussions. doi: 10.5194/tc-2017-7
- Giorgi F, Torma C, Coppola E, Ban N, Schär C, Somot S (2016) Enhanced summer convective rainfall at Alpine high elevations in response to climate warming. Nature Geosci advance online publicationGoogle Scholar
- Grose M, Abbs D, Bhend J, Chiew F, Church J, Ekström M, Kirono D, Lenton A, Lucas C, McInnes K, Moise A, Monselesan D, Mpelasoka F, Webb L, Whetton P (2015a) Central Slopes Clust Rep. Climate change in Australia projections for australias natural resource management regions, Cluster reports, CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
- Kotlarski S, Keuler K, Christensen OB, Colette A, Dqu M, Gobiet A, Goergen K, Jacob D, Lüthi D, van Meijgaard E, Nikulin G, Schär C, Teichmann C, Vautard R, Warrach-Sagi K, Wulfmeyer V (2014) Regional climate modeling on European scales: a joint standard evaluation of the EURO-CORDEX RCM ensemble. Geosci Model Dev 7(4):1297–1333. doi: 10.5194/gmd-7-1297-2014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Maraun D (2012) Nonstationarities of regional climate model biases in European seasonal mean temperature and precipitation sums. Geophys Res Lett. doi: 10.1029/2012GL051210
- Nakićenović N, Alcamo J, Davis G, de Vries B, Fenhann J, Gaffin S, Gregory K, Grübler A, Jung TY, Kram T, Lebre La Rovere E, Michaelis L, Mori S, Morita T, Pepper W, Pitcher H, Price L, Riahi K, Roehrl A, Rogner HH, Sankovski A, Schlesinger M, Shukla P, Smith S, Swart R, van Rooijen S, Victor N, Dadi Z (2000) IPCC Special report on emissions scenarios (SRES). Cambridge University Press, UKGoogle Scholar
- Nicholls N (2005) Climate variability, climate change and the Australian snow season. Aust Meteorol Mag 54(3):177–185Google Scholar
- Pickering C, Armstrong T (2003) The potential impacts of climate change on plant communities in the Kosciuszko alpine zone. Victorian Nat 120(1):15–23Google Scholar
- Prein A, Gobiet A, Truhetz H, Keuler K, Goergen K, Teichmann C, Fox Maule C, van Meijgaard E, Déqué M, Nikulin G, Vautard R, Colette A, Kjellström E, Jacob D (2015) Precipitation in the euro-cordex 0.11° and 0.44° simulations: high resolution, high benefits? Clim Dyn. doi: 10.1007/s00382-015-2589-y
- Prömmel K, Geyer B (2010) Evaluation of the skill and added value of a reanalysisdriven regional simulation for Alpine temperature. Int J Climatol. doi: 10.1002/joc.1916
- Riggs G, Hall D, Salomonson V (2006) MODIS Snow Products User Guide to Collection 5 George A. Riggs. Tech. repGoogle Scholar
- Robock A (1983) Ice and snow feedbacks and the latitudinal and seasonal distribution of climate sensitivity. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 40(4):986–997. doi:10.1175/1520-0469(1983) 040<0986:IASFAT>2.0.CO;2Google Scholar
- Ruddell A, Budd WF, Smith IN, Keage PL, Jones R (1990) The south east Australian alpine climate study: a report by the Meteorology Department, University of Melbourne for the Alpine Resorts Commission. Department of Meteorology, University of MelbourneGoogle Scholar
- Schmidli J, Goodess CM, Frei C, Haylock MR, Hundecha Y, Ribalaygua J, Schmith T (2007) Statistical and dynamical downscaling of precipitation: an evaluation and comparison of scenarios for the European Alps. J Geophys Res. doi: 10.1029/2005JD007026
- Sellers W (1969) A global climatic model based on the energy balance of the earth-atmosphere system. Journal of Applied Meteorology 8(3):392–400. doi: 10.1175/1520-0450(1969) 008<0392:AGCMBO>2.0.CO;2
- Skamarock WC, Klemp JB, Dudhia J, Gill DO, Barker DM, Duda MG, Huang XY, Wang W, Powers JG (2008) Description of the advanced research WRF Version 3. NCAR Technical Note. Tech. rep. NCAR, BoulderGoogle Scholar
- Timbal B, Ekström M, Fiddes S, Grose M, Kirono DGC et al (2016) Climate change science and Victoria, Docklands, Vic. Bureau of MeteorologyGoogle Scholar