Assessing the latest models' handling of climate extremes



In time for the slated September release by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of its fifth assessment report, Sillmann et al. conducted an assessment of the latest generation of global climate models and historical reanalysis datasets. The authors did not set about comparing the ability of the models and reanalyses to represent climate means and norms but, instead, focused on the models' skill in generating temperature and precipitation extremes similar to those that have been observed. As part of the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), the authors looked at 31 global models and 4 reanalysis datasets. To determine the models' skill, the scientists compared their representations of climate extremes against the observational dataset HadEX2. To gauge progress over earlier models, they also looked at the 18 models that made up the 3rd phase of the CMIP.