This study investigates the internal variability (IV) of a regional climate model, and considers the impacts of horizontal resolution and spectral nudging on the IV. A 16-member simulation ensemble was conducted using the Weather Research Forecasting model for three model configurations. Ensemble members included simulations at spatial resolutions of 50 and 12 km without spectral nudging and simulations at a spatial resolution of 12 km with spectral nudging. All the simulations were generated over the same domain, which covered much of North America. The degree of IV was measured as the spread between the individual members of the ensemble during the integration period. The IV of the 12 km simulation with spectral nudging was also compared with a future climate change simulation projected by the same model configuration. The variables investigated focus on precipitation and near-surface air temperature. While the IVs show a clear annual cycle with larger values in summer and smaller values in winter, the seasonal IV is smaller for a 50-km spatial resolution than for a 12-km resolution when nudging is not applied. Applying a nudging technique to the 12-km simulation reduces the IV by a factor of two, and produces smaller IV than the simulation at 50 km without nudging. Applying a nudging technique also changes the geographic distributions of IV in all examined variables. The IV is much smaller than the inter-annual variability at seasonal scales for regionally averaged temperature and precipitation. The IV is also smaller than the projected changes in air-temperature for the mid- and late twenty-first century. However, the IV is larger than the projected changes in precipitation for the mid- and late twenty-first century.
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This work is supported under a military interdepartmental purchase request from the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, RC-2242, through US Department of Energy (DOE) contract DE-AC02-06CH11357. The CCSM4 data are downloaded from https://www.earthsystemgrid.org/home.htm. Computational resources are provided by the DOE-supported National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center.
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Wang, J., Bessac, J., Kotamarthi, R. et al. Internal variability of a dynamically downscaled climate over North America. Clim Dyn 50, 4539–4559 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-017-3889-1
- Internal variability
- Regional climate model
- Spectral nudging
- High spatial resolution
- Climate change