Evaluation of daily precipitation statistics and monsoon onset/retreat over western Sahel in multiple data sets

Diaconescu, Emilia Paula; Gachon, Philippe; Scinocca, John et Laprise, René (2015). « Evaluation of daily precipitation statistics and monsoon onset/retreat over western Sahel in multiple data sets ». Climate Dynamics, 45(5-6), pp. 1325-1354.

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The West Africa rainfall regime constitutes a considerable challenge for Regional Climate Models (RCMs) due to the complexity of dynamical and physical processes that characterise the West African Monsoon. In this paper, daily precipitation statistics are evaluated from the contributions to the AFRICA-CORDEX experiment from two ERA-Interim driven Canadian RCMs: CanRCM4, developed at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (CCCma) and CRCM5, developed at the University of Québec at Montréal. These modelled precipitation statistics are evaluated against three gridded observed datasets—the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP), the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), and the Africa Rainfall Climatology (ARC2)—and four reanalysis products (ECMWF ERA-Interim, NCEP/DOE Reanalysis II, NASA MERRA and NOAA-CIRES Twentieth Century Reanalysis). The two RCMs share the same dynamics from the Environment Canada GEM forecast model, but have two different physics’ packages: CanRCM4 obtains its physics from CCCma’s global atmospheric model (CanAM4), while CRCM5 shares a number of its physics modules with the limited-area version of GEM forecast model. The evaluation is focused on various daily precipitation statistics (maximum number of consecutive wet days, number of moderate and very heavy precipitation events, precipitation frequency distribution) and on the monsoon onset and retreat over the Sahel region. We find that the CRCM5 has a good representation of daily precipitation statistics over the southern Sahel, with spatial distributions close to GPCP dataset. Some differences are observed in the northern part of the Sahel, where the model is characterised by a dry bias. CanRCM4 and the ERA-Interim and MERRA reanalysis products overestimate the number of wet days over Sahel with a shift in the frequency distribution toward smaller daily precipitation amounts than in observations. Both RCMs and reanalyses have difficulties in reproducing the local onset date over the Sahel region. Nevertheless, the large-scale features of the monsoon precipitation evolution over West Africa are well reproduced by the RCMs, whereas the northern limit of the rainy bands is less accurately reproduced. Both RCMs exhibit an overall good representation of the local retreat index over the Sahel region.

Type: Article de revue scientifique
Mots-clés ou Sujets: Daily-precipitation indices, CORDEX experiment, RCM evaluation, West African monsoon
Unité d'appartenance: Centres institutionnels > Centre pour l'étude et la simulation du climat à l'échelle régionale (ESCER)
Faculté des sciences > Département des sciences de la Terre et de l'atmosphère
Déposé par: René Laprise
Date de dépôt: 30 mars 2016 15:24
Dernière modification: 19 avr. 2016 18:11
Adresse URL : http://archipel.uqam.ca/id/eprint/8042


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