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Statistical evaluation of CMIP5 climate change model simulations for the Ethiopian highlands


  • Mark R. Jury

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa, South Africa
    2. Department of Physics, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
    • Correspondence to: M. R. Jury, Department of Physics, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez 00681, Puerto Rico. E-mail:

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This study compares Climate Research Unit version 3 reference observations in the period 1980–2009 with Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Five (CMIP5)-simulated climate patterns and trends over the Ethiopian highlands (7–14N, 36–40E) using the rcp6 scenario. Three metrics are used in a stepwise statistical evaluation: (1) mean annual cycle of area-averaged rainfall (R) and maximum temperature (Tx), (2) spatial pattern of R and Tx over Ethiopia and (3) interannual (1.5–6 years) R and Tx variability. Those models passing the first step by simulating a unimodal annual cycle reaching 28 °C in March–May and 9 mm day−1 in July–August are then evaluated for their ability to represent the cool, wet ‘island’ pattern over the highest elevation. Finally, the models' ability to follow observed area-averaged R and Tx anomalies from 1980 to 2009 is analysed by correlation. The stepwise metrics are designed to improve confidence in the use of CMIP5 models for future resource management and development planning across the Ethiopian highlands. The models with optimal performance in the most categories include the HAD, CCSM and GFDL.

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