CR 58:149-164 (2013)  -  DOI:

Present-climate precipitation and temperature extremes over Spain from a set of high resolution RCMs

Marta Domínguez1,*, Raquel Romera1, Enrique Sánchez2, Lluis Fita3, Jesús Fernández3, Pedro Jiménez-Guerrero4, Juan Pedro Montávez4, William David Cabos5, Giovanni Liguori5, Miguel Ángel Gaertner2

1Environmental Sciences Institute, Environmental Science Institute, 45071 Toledo, Spain
2Environmental Science Faculty, University of Castilla-La Mancha, 45071 Toledo, Spain
3Grupo de Meteorología, Dept. Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Cantabria, 39005 Santander, Spain
4Department of Physics, Regional Campus of International Excellence ‘Campus Mare Nostrum’, University of Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain
5Department of Physics, Climate Physics Group, University of Alcalá de Henares, 28805 Madrid, Spain

ABSTRACT: In the frame of the Spanish project ESCENA, 5 regional climate model simulations were analyzed in terms of their representation of precipitation and temperature extremes over Spain. The climate complexity of the target domain poses a challenge for the models in terms of their ability to simulate precipitation and temperature extremes. There are important differences in comparison to previous similar studies (such as PRUDENCE and ENSEMBLES European projects): the domain of the present-climate simulations (1990 to 2007) is centered over the Iberian Peninsula (IP), and the simulations are nested in ERA-Interim reanalysis. Two of the models (WRF and MM5) were not part of the ENSEMBLES project. A new high-resolution (0.2° × 0.2°) database (Spain02) of daily temperature and precipitation observations over Spain was used to validate the results. The performance of the models depends on the climatic characteristics of the subregions. Results are better for the northern coastal area of Spain, but for other Atlantic basins there are some biases that cannot be linked to limitations in the representation of very heavy convective events. Several models underestimate the amount of rain for heavy-precipitation days. This aspect has not improved in general in comparison to ENSEMBLES results, despite the differences in setup. In other respects, all models are at a similar level as the best subgroup of ENSEMBLES models. The ESCENA simulations (covering more emissions scenarios and GCMs than ENSEMBLES project) can thus be considered a valuable complement of that European project for impact studies over Spain.

KEY WORDS: Climate extremes · Extreme precipitation · Extreme temperatures · Regional climate models · Iberian Peninsula · Heavy precipitation · Droughts · Heat waves

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Cite this article as: Domínguez M, Romera R, Sánchez E, Fita L and others (2013) Present-climate precipitation and temperature extremes over Spain from a set of high resolution RCMs. Clim Res 58:149-164.

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