High resolution regional climate model simulations for Germany: part I-validation

Berg, Peter; Wagner, Sven; Kunstmann, Harald; Schädler, Gerd
January 2013
Climate Dynamics;Jan2013, Vol. 40 Issue 1/2, p401
Academic Journal
A five-member ensemble of regional climate model (RCM) simulations for Europe, with a high resolution nest over Germany, is analysed in a two-part paper: Part I (the current paper) presents the performance of the models for the control period, and Part II presents results for near future climate changes. Two different RCMs, CLM and WRF, were used to dynamically downscale simulations with the ECHAM5 and CCCma3 global climate models (GCMs), as well as the ERA40-reanalysis for validation purposes. Three realisations of ECHAM5 and one with CCCma3 were downscaled with CLM, and additionally one realisation of ECHAM5 with WRF. An approach of double nesting was used, first to an approximately 50 km resolution for entire Europe and then to a domain of approximately 7 km covering Germany and its near surroundings. Comparisons of the fine nest simulations are made to earlier high resolution simulations for the region with the RCM REMO for two ECHAM5 realisations. Biases from the GCMs are generally carried over to the RCMs, which can then reduce or worsen the biases. The bias of the coarse nest is carried over to the fine nest but does not change in amplitude, i.e. the fine nest does not add additional mean bias to the simulations. The spatial pattern of the wet bias over central Europe is similar for all CLM simulations, and leads to a stronger bias in the fine nest simulations compared to that of WRF and REMO. The wet bias in the CLM model is found to be due to a too frequent drizzle, but for higher intensities the distributions are well simulated with both CLM and WRF at the 50 and 7 km resolutions. Also the spatial distributions are close to high resolution gridded observations. The REMO model has low biases in the domain averages over Germany and no drizzle problem, but has a shift in the mean precipitation patterns and a strong overestimation of higher intensities. The GCMs perform well in simulating the intensity distribution of precipitation at their own resolution, but the RCMs add value to the distributions when compared to observations at the fine nest resolution.


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