North American Climate in CMIP5 experiments. Part I: Evaluation of historical simulations of continental and regional climatology

Justin Sheffield, Andrew P. Barrett, Brian Colle, D. Nelun Fernando, Rong Fu, Kerrie L. Geil, Qi Hu, Jim Kinter, Sanjiv Kumar, Baird Langenbrunner, Kelly Lombardo, Lindsey N. Long, Eric Maloney, Annarita Mariotti, Joyce E. Meyerson, Kingtse C. Mo, J. David Neelin, Sumant Nigam, Zaitao Pan, Tong RenAlfredo Ruiz-Barradas, Yolande L. Serra, Anji Seth, Jeanne M. Thibeault, Julienne C. Stroeve, Ze Yang, Lei Yin

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Abstract

This is the first part of a three-part paper on North American climate in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) that evaluates the historical simulations of continental and regional climatology with a focus on a core set of 17 models. The authors evaluate the models for a set of basic surface climate and hydrological variables and their extremes for the continent. This is supplemented by evaluations for selected regional climate processes relevant to North American climate, including cool season western Atlantic cyclones, the North American monsoon, the U.S. Great Plains low-level jet, and Arctic sea ice. In general, the multimodel ensemble mean represents the observed spatial patterns of basic climate and hydrological variables but with large variability across models and regions in the magnitude and sign of errors. No single model stands out as being particularly better or worse across all analyses, although some models consistently outperform the others for certain variables across most regions and seasons and higher-resolution models tend to perform better for regional processes. The CMIP5 multimodel ensemble shows a slight improvement relative to CMIP3 models in representing basic climate variables, in terms of the mean and spread, although performance has decreased for some models. Improvements in CMIP5 model performance are noticeable for some regional climate processes analyzed, such as the timing of the North American monsoon. The results of this paper have implications for the robustness of future projections of climate and its associated impacts, which are examined in the third part of the paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9209-9245
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume26
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

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climatology
climate
simulation
experiment
regional climate
monsoon
evaluation
CMIP
cyclone
sea ice

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

Cite this

Sheffield, Justin ; Barrett, Andrew P. ; Colle, Brian ; Fernando, D. Nelun ; Fu, Rong ; Geil, Kerrie L. ; Hu, Qi ; Kinter, Jim ; Kumar, Sanjiv ; Langenbrunner, Baird ; Lombardo, Kelly ; Long, Lindsey N. ; Maloney, Eric ; Mariotti, Annarita ; Meyerson, Joyce E. ; Mo, Kingtse C. ; Neelin, J. David ; Nigam, Sumant ; Pan, Zaitao ; Ren, Tong ; Ruiz-Barradas, Alfredo ; Serra, Yolande L. ; Seth, Anji ; Thibeault, Jeanne M. ; Stroeve, Julienne C. ; Yang, Ze ; Yin, Lei. / North American Climate in CMIP5 experiments. Part I : Evaluation of historical simulations of continental and regional climatology. In: Journal of Climate. 2013 ; Vol. 26, No. 23. pp. 9209-9245.
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abstract = "This is the first part of a three-part paper on North American climate in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) that evaluates the historical simulations of continental and regional climatology with a focus on a core set of 17 models. The authors evaluate the models for a set of basic surface climate and hydrological variables and their extremes for the continent. This is supplemented by evaluations for selected regional climate processes relevant to North American climate, including cool season western Atlantic cyclones, the North American monsoon, the U.S. Great Plains low-level jet, and Arctic sea ice. In general, the multimodel ensemble mean represents the observed spatial patterns of basic climate and hydrological variables but with large variability across models and regions in the magnitude and sign of errors. No single model stands out as being particularly better or worse across all analyses, although some models consistently outperform the others for certain variables across most regions and seasons and higher-resolution models tend to perform better for regional processes. The CMIP5 multimodel ensemble shows a slight improvement relative to CMIP3 models in representing basic climate variables, in terms of the mean and spread, although performance has decreased for some models. Improvements in CMIP5 model performance are noticeable for some regional climate processes analyzed, such as the timing of the North American monsoon. The results of this paper have implications for the robustness of future projections of climate and its associated impacts, which are examined in the third part of the paper.",
author = "Justin Sheffield and Barrett, {Andrew P.} and Brian Colle and Fernando, {D. Nelun} and Rong Fu and Geil, {Kerrie L.} and Qi Hu and Jim Kinter and Sanjiv Kumar and Baird Langenbrunner and Kelly Lombardo and Long, {Lindsey N.} and Eric Maloney and Annarita Mariotti and Meyerson, {Joyce E.} and Mo, {Kingtse C.} and Neelin, {J. David} and Sumant Nigam and Zaitao Pan and Tong Ren and Alfredo Ruiz-Barradas and Serra, {Yolande L.} and Anji Seth and Thibeault, {Jeanne M.} and Stroeve, {Julienne C.} and Ze Yang and Lei Yin",
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Sheffield, J, Barrett, AP, Colle, B, Fernando, DN, Fu, R, Geil, KL, Hu, Q, Kinter, J, Kumar, S, Langenbrunner, B, Lombardo, K, Long, LN, Maloney, E, Mariotti, A, Meyerson, JE, Mo, KC, Neelin, JD, Nigam, S, Pan, Z, Ren, T, Ruiz-Barradas, A, Serra, YL, Seth, A, Thibeault, JM, Stroeve, JC, Yang, Z & Yin, L 2013, 'North American Climate in CMIP5 experiments. Part I: Evaluation of historical simulations of continental and regional climatology', Journal of Climate, vol. 26, no. 23, pp. 9209-9245. https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00592.1

North American Climate in CMIP5 experiments. Part I : Evaluation of historical simulations of continental and regional climatology. / Sheffield, Justin; Barrett, Andrew P.; Colle, Brian; Fernando, D. Nelun; Fu, Rong; Geil, Kerrie L.; Hu, Qi; Kinter, Jim; Kumar, Sanjiv; Langenbrunner, Baird; Lombardo, Kelly; Long, Lindsey N.; Maloney, Eric; Mariotti, Annarita; Meyerson, Joyce E.; Mo, Kingtse C.; Neelin, J. David; Nigam, Sumant; Pan, Zaitao; Ren, Tong; Ruiz-Barradas, Alfredo; Serra, Yolande L.; Seth, Anji; Thibeault, Jeanne M.; Stroeve, Julienne C.; Yang, Ze; Yin, Lei.

In: Journal of Climate, Vol. 26, No. 23, 01.12.2013, p. 9209-9245.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T2 - Evaluation of historical simulations of continental and regional climatology

AU - Sheffield, Justin

AU - Barrett, Andrew P.

AU - Colle, Brian

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AU - Fu, Rong

AU - Geil, Kerrie L.

AU - Hu, Qi

AU - Kinter, Jim

AU - Kumar, Sanjiv

AU - Langenbrunner, Baird

AU - Lombardo, Kelly

AU - Long, Lindsey N.

AU - Maloney, Eric

AU - Mariotti, Annarita

AU - Meyerson, Joyce E.

AU - Mo, Kingtse C.

AU - Neelin, J. David

AU - Nigam, Sumant

AU - Pan, Zaitao

AU - Ren, Tong

AU - Ruiz-Barradas, Alfredo

AU - Serra, Yolande L.

AU - Seth, Anji

AU - Thibeault, Jeanne M.

AU - Stroeve, Julienne C.

AU - Yang, Ze

AU - Yin, Lei

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