Simulation of United States Mesoscale Convective Systems using GFDL’s New High-Resolution General Circulation Model

Wenhao Dong, Ming Zhao, Yi Ming, John P. Krasting, V. Ramaswamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Accurate representation of mesoscale scale convective systems (MCSs) in climate models is of vital importance to understanding global energy, water cycles, and extreme weather. In this study, we evaluate the simulated MCS features over the United States from the newly developed GFDL global high-resolution (;50 km) AM4 model by comparing them with the observations during spring to early summer (April–June) and late summer (July–August). The results show that the spatial distribution and seasonality of occurrence and genesis frequency of MCSs are reasonably simulated over the central United States in both seasons. The model reliably reproduces the observed features of MCS duration, translation speed, and size over the central United States, as well as the favorable large-scale circulation pattern associated with MCS development over the central United States during spring and early summer. However, the model misrepresents the amplitude and the phase of the diurnal cycle of MCSs during both seasons. In addition, the spatial distribution of occurrence and genesis frequency of MCSs over the eastern United States is substantially overestimated, with larger biases in early spring and summer. Furthermore, while large-scale circulation patterns are reasonably simulated in spring and early summer, they are misrepresented in the model during summer. Finally, we examine MCS-related precipitation, finding that the model overestimates MCS-related precipitation during spring and early summer, but this bias is insufficient to explain the significant dry bias observed in total precipitation over the central United States. Nonetheless, the dry biases in MCS-associated precipitation during late summer likely contribute to the overall precipitation deficit in the model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6967-6990
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume36
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

Keywords

  • Atmosphere
  • Climate models
  • Mesoscale systems
  • North America

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