A comparison of extreme European daily precipitation simulated by a global and a regional climate model for present and future climates
Durman, C. F., Gregory, J. M., Hassell, D. C., Jones, R. G. and Murphy, J. M. (2001) A comparison of extreme European daily precipitation simulated by a global and a regional climate model for present and future climates. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 127 (573). pp. 1005-1015. ISSN 1477-870X
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.49712757316
The intensity and distribution of daily precipitation is predicted to change under scenarios of increased greenhouse gases (GHGs). In this paper, we analyse the ability of HadCM2, a general circulation model (GCM), and a high-resolution regional climate model (RCM), both developed at the Met Office's Hadley Centre, to simulate extreme daily precipitation by reference to observations. A detailed analysis of daily precipitation is made at two UK grid boxes, where probabilities of reaching daily thresholds in the GCM and RCM are compared with observations. We find that the RCM generally overpredicts probabilities of extreme daily precipitation but that, when the GCM and RCM simulated values are scaled to have the same mean as the observations, the RCM captures the upper-tail distribution more realistically. To compare regional changes in daily precipitation in the GHG-forced period 2080-2100 in the GCM and the RCM, we develop two methods. The first considers the fractional changes in probability of local daily precipitation reaching or exceeding a fixed 15 mm threshold in the anomaly climate compared with the control. The second method uses the upper one-percentile of the control at each point as the threshold. Agreement between the models is better in both seasons with the latter method, which we suggest may be more useful when considering larger scale spatial changes. On average, the probability of precipitation exceeding the 1% threshold increases by a factor of 2.5 (GCM and RCM) in winter and by I .7 (GCM) or 1.3 (RCM) in summer.