Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Propagation of biases in climate models from the synoptic to the regional scale: Implications for bias-adjustment


Addor, Nans; Rohrer, Marco; Furrer, Reinhard; Seibert, Jan (2016). Propagation of biases in climate models from the synoptic to the regional scale: Implications for bias-adjustment. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 121(5):2075-2089.

Abstract

Bias adjustment methods usually do not account for the origins of biases in climate models and instead perform empirical adjustments. Biases in the synoptic circulation are for instance often overlooked when postprocessing regional climate model (RCM) simulations driven by general circulation models (GCMs). Yet considering atmospheric circulation helps to establish links between the synoptic and the regional scale, and thereby provides insights into the physical processes leading to RCM biases. Here we investigate how synoptic circulation biases impact regional climate simulations and influence our ability to mitigate biases in precipitation and temperature using quantile mapping. We considered 20 GCM-RCM combinations from the ENSEMBLES project and characterized the dominant atmospheric flow over the Alpine domain using circulation types. We report in particular a systematic overestimation of the frequency of westerly flow in winter. We show that it contributes to the generalized overestimation of winter precipitation over Switzerland, and this wet regional bias can be reduced by improving the simulation of synoptic circulation. We also demonstrate that statistical bias adjustment relying on quantile mapping is sensitive to circulation biases, which leads to residual errors in the postprocessed time series. Overall, decomposing GCM-RCM time series using circulation types reveals connections missed by analyses relying on monthly or seasonal values. Our results underscore the necessity to better diagnose process misrepresentation in climate models to progress with bias adjustment and impact modeling.

Abstract

Bias adjustment methods usually do not account for the origins of biases in climate models and instead perform empirical adjustments. Biases in the synoptic circulation are for instance often overlooked when postprocessing regional climate model (RCM) simulations driven by general circulation models (GCMs). Yet considering atmospheric circulation helps to establish links between the synoptic and the regional scale, and thereby provides insights into the physical processes leading to RCM biases. Here we investigate how synoptic circulation biases impact regional climate simulations and influence our ability to mitigate biases in precipitation and temperature using quantile mapping. We considered 20 GCM-RCM combinations from the ENSEMBLES project and characterized the dominant atmospheric flow over the Alpine domain using circulation types. We report in particular a systematic overestimation of the frequency of westerly flow in winter. We show that it contributes to the generalized overestimation of winter precipitation over Switzerland, and this wet regional bias can be reduced by improving the simulation of synoptic circulation. We also demonstrate that statistical bias adjustment relying on quantile mapping is sensitive to circulation biases, which leads to residual errors in the postprocessed time series. Overall, decomposing GCM-RCM time series using circulation types reveals connections missed by analyses relying on monthly or seasonal values. Our results underscore the necessity to better diagnose process misrepresentation in climate models to progress with bias adjustment and impact modeling.

Statistics

Citations

4 citations in Web of Science®
3 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

1 download since deposited on 23 Mar 2016
0 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:23 Mar 2016 17:58
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 20:12
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:2169-897X
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/2015JD024040

Download

Preview Icon on Download
Content: Published Version
Language: English
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only
Size: 2MB
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations