Quasi-decadal Oscillation in the CMIP5 and CMIP3 Climate Model Simulations: California Case

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Jianzhong Wang, Hongbing Yin, Erik Reyes and Francis I Chung, California Department of Water Resources, Sacramento, CA, United States
The ongoing three drought years in California are reminding us of two other historical long drought periods: 1987-1992 and 1928-1934. This kind of interannual variability is corresponding to the dominating 7-15 yr quasi-decadal oscillation in precipitation and streamflow in California. When using global climate model projections to assess the climate change impact on water resources planning in California, it is natural to ask if global climate models are able to reproduce the observed interannual variability like 7-15 yr quasi-decadal oscillation.

Further spectral analysis to tree ring retrieved precipitation and historical precipitation record proves the existence of 7-15 yr quasi-decadal oscillation in California. But while implementing spectral analysis to all the CMIP5 and CMIP3 global climate model historical simulations using wavelet analysis approach, it was found that only two models in CMIP3 , CGCM 2.3.2a of MRI and NCAP PCM1.0, and only two models in CMIP5, MIROC5 and CESM1-WACCM, have statistically significant 7-15 yr quasi-decadal oscillations in California.

More interesting, the existence of 7-15 yr quasi-decadal oscillation in the global climate model simulation is also sensitive to initial conditions. 12-13 yr quasi-decadal oscillation occurs in one ensemble run of CGCM 2.3.2a of MRI but does not exist in the other four ensemble runs.