• bivariate extremes;
  • extreme precipitation;
  • regional climate models;
  • tail dependence

[1] We introduce novel methodology to examine the ability of six regional climate models (RCMs) in the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) ensemble to simulate past extreme precipitation events seen in the observational record over two different regions and seasons. Our primary objective is to examine the strength of daily correspondence of extreme precipitation events between observations and the output of both the RCMs and the driving reanalysis product. To explore this correspondence, we employ methods from multivariate extreme value theory. These methods require that we account for marginal behavior, and we first model and compare climatological quantities which describe tail behavior of daily precipitation for both the observations and model output before turning attention to quantifying the correspondence of the extreme events. Daily precipitation in a West Coast region of North America is analyzed in two seasons, and it is found that the simulated extreme events from the reanalysis-driven NARCCAP models exhibit strong daily correspondence to extreme events in the observational record. Precipitation over a central region of the United States is examined, and we find some daily correspondence between winter extremes simulated by reanalysis-driven NARCCAP models and those seen in observations, but no such correspondence is found for summer extremes. Furthermore, we find greater discrepancies among the NARCCAP models in the tail characteristics of the distribution of daily summer precipitation over this region than seen in precipitation over the West Coast region. We find that the models which employ spectral nudging exhibit stronger tail dependence to observations in the central region.