Evaluation of water and energy budgets in regional climate models applied over Europe
Hagemann, S., Machenhauer, B., Jones, R., Christensen, O. B., Déqué, M., Jacob, D. and Vidale, P. L. (2004) Evaluation of water and energy budgets in regional climate models applied over Europe. Climate Dynamics, 23 (5). pp. 547-567. ISSN 0930-7575
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1007/s00382-004-0444-7
This study presents a model intercomparison of four regional climate models (RCMs) and one variable resolution atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) applied over Europe with special focus on the hydrological cycle and the surface energy budget. The models simulated the 15 years from 1979 to 1993 by using quasi-observed boundary conditions derived from ECMWF re-analyses (ERA). The model intercomparison focuses on two large atchments representing two different climate conditions covering two areas of major research interest within Europe. The first is the Danube catchment which represents a continental climate dominated by advection from the surrounding land areas. It is used to analyse the common model error of a too dry and too warm simulation of the summertime climate of southeastern Europe. This summer warming and drying problem is seen in many RCMs, and to a less extent in GCMs. The second area is the Baltic Sea catchment which represents maritime climate dominated by advection from the ocean and from the Baltic Sea. This catchment is a research area of many studies within Europe and also covered by the BALTEX program. The observed data used are monthly mean surface air temperature, precipitation and river discharge. For all models, these are used to estimate mean monthly biases of all components of the hydrological cycle over land. In addition, the mean monthly deviations of the surface energy fluxes from ERA data are computed. Atmospheric moisture fluxes from ERA are compared with those of one model to provide an independent estimate of the convergence bias derived from the observed data. These help to add weight to some of the inferred estimates and explain some of the discrepancies between them. An evaluation of these biases and deviations suggests possible sources of error in each of the models. For the Danube catchment, systematic errors in the dynamics cause the prominent summer drying problem for three of the RCMs, while for the fourth RCM this is related to deficiencies in the land surface parametrization. The AGCM does not show this drying problem. For the Baltic Sea catchment, all models similarily overestimate the precipitation throughout the year except during the summer. This model deficit is probably caused by the internal model parametrizations, such as the large-scale condensation and the convection schemes.