Identifying added value in high-resolution climate simulations over Scandinavia

Stephania Mayer, Cathrine Fox Maule, Stefan Sobolowski, Ole Bøssing Christensen, Hjalte Jomo Danielsen Sørup, Maria Antonia Sunyer Pinya, Karsten Arnbjerg-Nielsen, Idar Barstad

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    High-resolution data are needed in order to assess potential impacts of extreme events on infrastructure in the mid-latitudes. Dynamical downscaling offers one way to obtain this information. However, prior to implementation in any impacts assessment scheme, model output must be validated and determined fit-for-purpose. This study presents the results from two 8-km resolution perfect boundary experiments over Scandinavia. Two different regional climate models were initialised and driven with ERA interim reanalysis from 1990 to 2010. Reference data come from both gridded products and point-based station observations. In addition to the canonical variables of daily precipitation and temperature, winds were also investigated. The models exhibit systematic cold and wet biases on seasonal time scales (−1 K and +50–100%, respectively). However, frequency-based skill scores for daily precipitation and temperature are high, indicating that the distributions of these variables are generally well captured. Wind speeds over the North and Norwegian Seas were simulated more realistically in the models than in the ERA interim reanalysis. However, most importantly, for impacts assessments, the models should be capable of capturing the timing, intensity and location of short-duration extreme events, in particular precipitation. In this respect, both models outperform the reanalysis over the city of Copenhagen, where recent pluvial floods led to costly damages to infrastructure.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number24941
    JournalTellus A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography
    Number of pages18
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Regional climate modelling
    • HIRHAM
    • WRF
    • Validation
    • Extreme precipitation
    • Hydrology needs


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