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Performance of RegCM4 over major river basins in China

Abstract

A long-term simulation for the period 1990–2010 is conducted with the latest version of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics’ Regional Climate Model (RegCM4), driven by ERA-Interim boundary conditions at a grid spacing of 25 km. The Community Land Model (CLM) is used to describe land surface processes, with updates in the surface parameters, including the land cover and surface emissivity. The simulation is compared against observations to evaluate the model performance in reproducing the present day climatology and interannual variability over the 10 main river basins in China, with focus on surface air temperature and precipitation. Temperature and precipitation from the ERA-Interim reanalysis are also considered in the model assessment. Results show that the model reproduces the present day climatology over China and its main river basins, with better performances in June–July–August compared to December–January–February (DJF). In DJF, we find a warm bias at high latitudes, underestimated precipitation in the south, and overestimated precipitation in the north. The model in general captures the observed interannual variability, with greater skill for temperature. We also find an underestimation of heavy precipitation events in eastern China, and an underestimation of consecutive dry days in northern China and the Tibetan Plateau. Similar biases for both mean climatology and extremes are found in the ERA-Interim reanalysis, indicating the difficulties for climate models in simulating extreme monsoon climate events over East Asia.

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Acknowledgements

This study was jointly supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2016YFA0600704), the National Natural Science Foundation (Grant No. 41375104), and the Climate Change Specific Fund of China (Grant Nos. CCSF201626 and CCSF201509). We thank the two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments, which helped to improve the quality of this paper.

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Correspondence to Xuejie Gao.

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Gao, X., Shi, Y., Han, Z. et al. Performance of RegCM4 over major river basins in China. Adv. Atmos. Sci. 34, 441–455 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00376-016-6179-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00376-016-6179-7

Key words

  • regional climate model
  • RegCM4
  • China
  • river basin
  • CLM