Present climate and climate change over North America as simulated by the fifth-generation Canadian regional climate model

Šeparović, Leo; Alexandru, Adelina; Laprise, René; Martynov, Andrey; Sushama, Laxmi; Winger, Katja; Tete, Kossivi; Valin, Michel
December 2013
Climate Dynamics;Dec2013, Vol. 41 Issue 11/12, p3167
Academic Journal
The fifth-generation Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM5) was used to dynamically downscale two Coupled Global Climate Model (CGCM) simulations of the transient climate change for the period 1950–2100, over North America, following the CORDEX protocol. The CRCM5 was driven by data from the CanESM2 and MPI-ESM-LR CGCM simulations, based on the historical (1850–2005) and future (2006–2100) RCP4.5 radiative forcing scenario. The results show that the CRCM5 simulations reproduce relatively well the current-climate North American regional climatic features, such as the temperature and precipitation multiannual means, annual cycles and temporal variability at daily scale. A cold bias was noted during the winter season over western and southern portions of the continent. CRCM5-simulated precipitation accumulations at daily temporal scale are much more realistic when compared with its driving CGCM simulations, especially in summer when small-scale driven convective precipitation has a large contribution over land. The CRCM5 climate projections imply a general warming over the continent in the 21st century, especially over the northern regions in winter. The winter warming is mostly contributed by the lower percentiles of daily temperatures, implying a reduction in the frequency and intensity of cold waves. A precipitation decrease is projected over Central America and an increase over the rest of the continent. For the average precipitation change in summer however there is little consensus between the simulations. Some of these differences can be attributed to the uncertainties in CGCM-projected changes in the position and strength of the Pacific Ocean subtropical high pressure.


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