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West African monsoon intraseasonal activity and its daily precipitation indices in regional climate models: diagnostics and challenges.

Poan, Emmanuel D.; Gachon, Philippe; Dueymes, Guillaume; Diaconescu, Emilia Paula; Laprise, René; Seidou Sanda, Ibrah (2016). West African monsoon intraseasonal activity and its daily precipitation indices in regional climate models: diagnostics and challenges. Climate Dynamics , vol. 47 , nº 9-10. p. 3113-3140. DOI: 10.1007/s00382-016-3016-8.

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Résumé

The West African monsoon intraseasonal variability has huge socio-economic impacts on local populations but understanding and predicting it still remains a challenge for the weather prediction and climate scientific community. This paper analyses an ensemble of simulations from six regional climate models (RCMs) taking part in the coordinated regional downscaling experiment, the ECMWF ERA-Interim reanalysis (ERAI) and three satellite-based and observationally-constrained daily precipitation datasets, to assess the performance of the RCMs with regard to the intraseasonal variability. A joint analysis of seasonal-mean precipitation and the total column water vapor (also called precipitable water—PW) suggests the existence of important links at different timescales between these two variables over the Sahel and highlights the relevance of using PW to follow the monsoon seasonal cycle. RCMs that fail to represent the seasonal-mean position and amplitude of the meridional gradient of PW show the largest discrepancies with respect to seasonal-mean observed precipitation. For both ERAI and RCMs, spectral decompositions of daily PW as well as rainfall show an overestimation of low-frequency activity (at timescales longer than 10 days) at the expense of the synoptic (timescales shorter than 10 days) activity. Consequently, the effects of the African Easterly Waves and the associated mesoscale convective systems are substantially underestimated, especially over continental regions. Finally, the study investigates the skill of the models with respect to hydro-climatic indices related to the occurrence, intensity and frequency of precipitation events at the intraseasonal scale. Although most of these indices are generally better reproduced with RCMs than reanalysis products, this study indicates that RCMs still need to be improved (especially with respect to their subgrid-scale parameterization schemes) to be able to reproduce the intraseasonal variance spectrum adequately.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: West African monsoon; regional climate modeling; intraseasonal variability; precipitation indices
Centre: Centre Eau Terre Environnement
Date de dépôt: 07 mai 2018 17:50
Dernière modification: 07 mai 2018 17:50
URI: http://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/5717

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