Systematic land climate and evapotranspiration biases in CMIP5 simulations

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Abstract

[1] Land climate is important for human population since it affects inhabited areas. Here we evaluate the realism of simulated evapotranspiration (ET), precipitation, and temperature in the CMIP5 multimodel ensemble on continental areas. For ET, a newly compiled synthesis data set prepared within the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment-sponsored LandFlux-EVAL project is used. The results reveal systematic ET biases in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) simulations, with an overestimation in most regions, especially in Europe, Africa, China, Australia, Western North America, and part of the Amazon region. The global average overestimation amounts to 0.17 mm/d. This bias is more pronounced than in the previous CMIP3 ensemble (overestimation of 0.09 mm/d). Consistent with the ET overestimation, precipitation is also overestimated relative to existing reference data sets. We suggest that the identified biases in ET can explain respective systematic biases in temperature in many of the considered regions. The biases additionally display a seasonal dependence and are generally of opposite sign (ET underestimation and temperature overestimation) in boreal summer (June–August).

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