Regional climate change experiments over southern South America. I: present climate

Solman, Silvina A.; Nu�ez, Mario N.; Cabr�, Mar�a Fernanda
May 2008
Climate Dynamics;May2008, Vol. 30 Issue 5, p533
Academic Journal
We present an analysis of a regional simulation of present-day climate (1981�1990) over southern South America. The regional model MM5 was nested within time-slice global atmospheric model experiments conducted by the HadAM3H model. We evaluate the capability of the model in simulating the observed climate with emphasis on low-level circulation patterns and surface variables, such as precipitation and surface air mean, maximum and minimum temperatures. The regional model performance was evaluated in terms of seasonal means, seasonal cycles, interannual variability and extreme events. Overall, the regional model is able to capture the main features of the observed mean surface climate over South America, its seasonal evolution and the regional detail due to topographic forcing. The observed regional patterns of surface air temperatures (mean, maxima and minima) are well reproduced. Biases are mostly within 3�C, temperature being overestimated over central Argentina and underestimated in mountainous regions during all seasons. Biases in northeastern Argentina and southeastern Brazil are positive during austral spring season and negative in other seasons. In general, maximum temperatures are better represented than minimum temperatures. Warm bias is larger during austral summer for maximum temperature and during austral winter for minimum temperature, mainly over central Argentina. The broad spatial pattern of precipitation and its seasonal evolution are well captured; however, the regional model overestimates the precipitation over the Andes region in all seasons and in southern Brazil during summer. Precipitation amounts are underestimated over the La Plata basin from fall to spring. Extremes of precipitation are better reproduced by the regional model compared with the driving model. Interannual variability is well reproduced too, but strongly regulated by boundary conditions, particularly during summer months. Overall, taking into account the quality of the simulation, we can conclude that the regional model is capable in reproducing the main regional patterns and seasonal cycle of surface variables. The present reference simulation constitutes the basis to examine the climate change simulations resulting from the A2 and B2 forcing scenarios which are being reported in a separate study.


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