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CR 69:209-227 (2016)  -  DOI:

The NARCliM project: model agreement and significance of climate projections

Roman Olson1,2,*, Jason P. Evans1, Alejandro Di Luca1, Daniel Argüeso1,3

1Climate Change Research Centre and ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, University of New South Wales, Australia
2Present address: Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Yonsei University, Republic of Korea
3Present address: Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, HI, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: NARCliM (New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory Regional Climate Modelling project) is a climate downscaling project for Australia and the surrounding regions. Present and future climate simulations are performed using a 1-way nested dynamical downscaling approach and span 2 domains. We focus on the inner 10 km domain that extends across south-east Australia. Three regional climate models (RCMs) based on the Weather Research and Forecasting System (WRF) version 3.3 dynamically downscale 4 global climate model (GCM) simulations to finer resolutions. This project complements and improves on already available GCM projections for the region. Our simulations cover 3 epochs: present (1990-2009), near future (2020-2039), and far future (2060-2079). Here, we focus on the mean surface air temperature and precipitation. The RCMs are better able to capture spatial patterns of temperature and precipitation and improve the temperature root mean square error (RMSE) compared to the GCMs, at least for the inner domain. The RCMs tend to be biased cold compared to observations and are wetter than the GCMs during warm seasons. The downscaled RCM projections exhibit a weaker warming over land compared to the GCMs. The RCMs project no significant precipitation changes in the far future over most areas. However, Victoria is expected to see significant springtime drying of 15 mm mo-1, which is considerably higher than previous GCM results. This drying is associated with a larger strengthening of the subtropical ridge than modelled previously by the GCMs. In addition, the RCMs project significant precipitation changes in contradicting directions for some inland areas during winter.

KEY WORDS: Regional climate modelling · NARCliM · Dynamical downscaling · Southeast Australia

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Cite this article as: Olson R, Evans JP, Di Luca A, Argüeso D (2016) The NARCliM project: model agreement and significance of climate projections. Clim Res 69:209-227.

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