Causes of Cool-Season Precipitation Bias in the East South Central U.S.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 13:40
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A climatological maximum in cool-season precipitation, secondary to that in the Pacific Northwest, exists in the East South Central U.S. region (ESC). Many regional climate simulations have difficulty reproducing this maximum, whether forced with a reanalysis or global climate model (GCM). This problem exists in some, but not all, of the simulations completed for the North American component of CORDEX (Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment) and NARCCAP (North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program). We use both of these ensembles of regional climate model (RCM) simulations to examine precipitation and some of the factors that govern its climatology in this region to develop a better understanding of why some simulations perform better than others.

The ESC roughly encompasses the Lower Mississippi, western South Atlantic, southern Ohio and Tennessee hydrologic regions. Cool-season precipitation (November-April) in the ESC is often convective in nature and strongly forced. In this presentation, we will examine some of the potential causes of the climatological precipitation bias for this region, including bias in: sea-surface temperature, moisture flux, El Nino-Southern Oscillation teleconnections, and the climatology of extratropical cyclones. We will also examine simulation configurations to identify any common threads between the simulations that perform better and those that perform worse.

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