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Sensitivity of tropical cyclones to convective parameterization schemes in RegCM4


This study investigates the sensitivity of simulated tropical cyclones (TC) affecting the Philippines to convective parameterization schemes (CPS) in the Regional Climate Model Version 4 (RegCM4). Five ERA-Interim driven RegCM4 simulations at 25-km horizontal resolution were conducted utilizing the CPS of Grell with Arakawa–Schubert closure (GR), Emanuel (EM), Kain–Fritsch (KF), Tiedtke (TE), and a combined Grell scheme over land and Emanuel over the ocean (GR-EM). Comparisons made between the observed and RegCM4-simulated TCs covering a 30-year period (1981–2010) indicate that the EM scheme yields an annual-mean TC frequency that is closest to observations. The GR-EM scheme, on the other hand, closely reproduces the observed seasonal patterns of TC tracks, spatial patterns of TC track density and TC-associated rainfall, and TC lifespan. The KF scheme is the only CPS that was able to simulate intense TCs (maximum wind speed > 40 m s–1) within the domain. In contrast, both GR and TE schemes largely underestimated the TC frequency, and were only able to simulate weak TCs. Such underestimation in the TC frequency and intensity in the GR and TE simulations can be attributed to the dry mid-tropospheric environment and the absence of a large area with positive low-level relative vorticity over the Pacific Ocean inhibiting TC formation and further development over the area. These findings would be helpful in selecting the more appropriate CPS for TC-related model simulations over the Philippines and in further model improvements, given the climate modeling imperfections and associated biases.

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We thank the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and the regional climate modeling community for providing the RegCM4 and the necessary files needed to run the model. We appreciate the funding support provided by the Department of Science and Technology—Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research Development (DOST-PCIEERD) under Project Number 2018-03691, which made this study possible. We are also thankful to Ms. Jennifer Tibay of the Manila Observatory together with the members of the CORDEX-Southeast Asia Philippines team for their comments and suggestions in the earlier version of the manuscript. The computing facility of PAGASA has allowed the model simulations conducted in this study. The insightful comments and recommended revisions provided by the anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Marcelino Q. Villafuerte II.

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Villafuerte, M.Q., Lambrento, J.C.R., Hodges, K.I. et al. Sensitivity of tropical cyclones to convective parameterization schemes in RegCM4. Clim Dyn 56, 1625–1642 (2021).

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  • Regional climate modeling
  • Sensitivity experiments
  • Tropical cyclones
  • Western North Pacific
  • The Philippines