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Multidecadal evaluation of WRF downscaling capabilities over Western Australia in simulating rainfall and temperature extremes

Andrys, J., Lyons, T.J. and Kala, J.ORCID: 0000-0001-9338-2965 (2015) Multidecadal evaluation of WRF downscaling capabilities over Western Australia in simulating rainfall and temperature extremes. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 54 (2). pp. 370-394.

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The authors evaluate a 30-yr (1981–2010) Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) Model regional climate simulation over the southwest of Western Australia (SWWA), a region with a Mediterranean climate, using ERA-Interim boundary conditions. The analysis assesses the spatial and temporal characteristics of climate extremes, using a selection of climate indices, with an emphasis on metrics that are relevant for forestry and agricultural applications. Two nested domains at 10- and 5-km resolution are examined, with the higher-resolution simulation resolving convection explicitly. Simulation results are compared with a high-resolution, gridded observational dataset that provides daily rainfall, minimum temperatures, and maximum temperatures. Results show that, at both resolutions, the model is able to simulate the daily, seasonal, and annual variation of temperature and precipitation well, including extreme events. The higher-resolution domain displayed significant performance gains in simulating dry-season convective precipitation, rainfall around complex terrain, and the spatial distribution of frost conditions. The high-resolution domain was, however, influenced by grid-edge effects in the southwestern margin, which reduced the ability of the domain to represent frontal rainfall along the coastal region. On the basis of these results, the authors feel confident in using the WRF Model for regional climate simulations for the SWWA, including studies that focus on the spatial and temporal representation of climate extremes. This study provides a baseline climatological description at a high resolution that can be used for impact studies and will also provide a benchmark for climate simulations driven by general circulation models.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre of Excellence for Climate Change and Forest and Woodland Health
Publisher: American Meteorological Society
Copyright: © 2015 American Meteorological Society
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