Do lateral boundary condition update frequency and the resolution of the boundary data affect the regional model COSMO-CLM? A sensitivity study.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Klaus Pankatz and Astrid Kerkweg, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany
The work presented is part of the joint project “DecReg” (“Regional decadal predictability”) which is in turn part of the project “MiKlip” (“Decadal predictions”), an effort funded by the german Federal Ministry of Education and Research to improve decadal predictions on a global and regional scale.

In regional climate modeling it is common to update the lateral boundary conditions (LBC) of the regional model every six hours. This is mainly due to the fact, that reference data sets like ERA are only available every six hours. Additionally, for offline coupling procedures it would be too costly to store LBC data in higher temporal resolution for climate simulations. However, theoretically, the coupling frequency could be as high as the time step of the driving model. Meanwhile, it is unclear if a more frequent update of the LBC has a significant effect on the climate in the domain of the regional model (RCM). This study uses the RCM COSMO-CLM/MESSy (Kerkweg and Jöckel, 2012) to couple COSMO-CLM offline to the GCM ECHAM5.

One study examines a 30 year time slice experiment for three update frequencies of the LBC, namely six hours, one hour and six minutes. The evaluation of means, standard deviations and statistics of the climate in regional domain shows only small deviations, some stastically significant though, of 2m temperature, sea level pressure and precipitaion.

The second scope of the study assesses parameters linked to cyclone activity, which is affected by the LBC update frequency. Differences in track density and strength are found when comparing the simulations.

The second study examines the quality of decadal hind-casts of the decade 2001-2010 when the horizontal resolution of the driving model, namely T42, T63, T85, T106, from which the LBC are calculated, is altered. Two sets of simulations are evaluated. For the first set of simulations, the GCM simulations are performed at different resolutions using the same boundary conditions for GHGs and SSTs, thus in each simulation a unique circulation develops. These GCM simulations then provide LBC for the RCM. For the second set, the GCM simulation in T106 is truncated to lower resolutions before creating the LBC for the RCM. Each set of simulations is evaluated regarding the quality of the 2m temperature, sea level pressure and precipitation prediction.