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Characteristics of sub-daily precipitation extremes in observed data and regional climate model simulations

Author:
Beranová, Romana, Kyselý, Jan, Hanel, Martin
Source:
Theoretical and applied climatology 2018 v.132 no.1-2 pp. 515-527
ISSN:
0177-798X
Subject:
atmospheric precipitation, climate change, climate models, convection, simulation models, surface temperature, warm season, Czech Republic
Abstract:
The study compares characteristics of observed sub-daily precipitation extremes in the Czech Republic with those simulated by Hadley Centre Regional Model version 3 (HadRM3) and Rossby Centre Regional Atmospheric Model version 4 (RCA4) regional climate models (RCMs) driven by reanalyses and examines diurnal cycles of hourly precipitation and their dependence on intensity and surface temperature. The observed warm-season (May–September) maxima of short-duration (1, 2 and 3 h) amounts show one diurnal peak in the afternoon, which is simulated reasonably well by RCA4, although the peak occurs too early in the model. HadRM3 provides an unrealistic diurnal cycle with a nighttime peak and an afternoon minimum coinciding with the observed maximum for all three ensemble members, which suggests that convection is not captured realistically. Distorted relationships of the diurnal cycles of hourly precipitation to daily maximum temperature in HadRM3 further evidence that underlying physical mechanisms are misrepresented in this RCM. Goodness-of-fit tests indicate that generalised extreme value distribution is an applicable model for both observed and RCM-simulated precipitation maxima. However, the RCMs are not able to capture the range of the shape parameter estimates of distributions of short-duration precipitation maxima realistically, leading to either too many (nearly all for HadRM3) or too few (RCA4) grid boxes in which the shape parameter corresponds to a heavy tail. This means that the distributions of maxima of sub-daily amounts are distorted in the RCM-simulated data and do not match reality well. Therefore, projected changes of sub-daily precipitation extremes in climate change scenarios based on RCMs not resolving convection need to be interpreted with caution.
Agid:
5917971