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Analysis of the surface hydrology in a regional climate model
Article first published online: 15 DEC 2006
Copyright © 1994 Royal Meteorological Society
Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
Volume 120, Issue 515, pages 161–183, January 1994 Part A
How to Cite
Giorgi, F., Hostetler, S. W. and Brodeur, C. S. (1994), Analysis of the surface hydrology in a regional climate model. Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc., 120: 161–183. doi: 10.1002/qj.49712051510
- Issue published online: 15 DEC 2006
- Article first published online: 15 DEC 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 8 AUG 1993
- Manuscript Received: 16 NOV 1992
This paper discusses the surface hydrology of a multi-year simulation of present day climate over the United States (US) conducted with a regional climate model (RegCM) nested within a general circulation model (GCM). The RegCM, which is run with a 60 km gridpoint spacing is interactively coupled with a state-of-the-art surface physics package that includes full surface hydrology calculations (the Biosphere-Atmosphere Transfer Scheme or BATS). The hydrologic budgets of ten regional drainage basins in the US are analysed. Model results are compared with available observations and with results from previous modelling experiments to evaluate the feasibility of using nested RegCM/GCM models for hydrology studies. In our experiment, the model captures the basic seasonality of the basin hydrologic budgets, although the simulated precipitation amounts are too high over the western US and too low over the eastern US. As a result, runoff, snow cover and soil water content are underestimated over the eastern US basins, while evaporation and runoff are overestimated in some of the western US basins. Topographically induced characteristics of precipitation, snow cover and runoff are well simulated over the mountainous western regions. Also well captured is the inter-basin variation of hydrologic budgets which occurs in response to different climatic settings. The springtime snowmelt and peak runoff season generally occurs in the model earlier in the year than is observed. Although our work indicates that the coupled regional modelling system can be useful in applications to hydrological studies, results from this experiment indicate that better accuracy in the simulation of regional climatic variables and more detailed representation of some hydrologic processes would be required before the coupled modelling system could be used to provide accurate assessments of hydrologic responses to climate change.