J22.6
A Regional Climate Model Evaluation System based on Satellite and other Observations for Application to CMIP/AR Downscaling

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Thursday, 27 January 2011: 4:45 PM
A Regional Climate Model Evaluation System based on Satellite and other Observations for Application to CMIP/AR Downscaling
612 (Washington State Convention Center)
Peter Lean, JPL/California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA; and J. Kim, D. E. Waliser, A. Hall, C. Mattman, S. L. Granger, K. Case, C. Goodale, A. Hart, B. Guan, N. Molotch, and S. Kaki

Regional climate models are a fundamental tool needed for downscaling global climate simulations and projections, such as those contributing to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects (CMIPs) that form the basis of the IPCC Assessment Reports. The regional modeling process provides the means to accommodate higher resolution and a greater complexity of Earth System processes. Evaluation of both the global and regional climate models against observations is essential to identify model weaknesses and direct future model development efforts to ultimately reduce the uncertainty associated with climate projections. However, the lack of reliable observational data and formal tools are among the serious limitations to addressing these objectives. Recent satellite observations are particularly useful as they provide a wealth of information on many different aspects of the climate system, but due to their large volume and the difficulties associated with accessing and using the data, these datasets have been generally underutilized in model evaluation studies. Recognizing this problem, NASA JPL / UCLA is developing a model evaluation system to help make satellite observations, in conjunction with in-situ, assimilated, and reanalysis datasets, more readily accessible to the modeling community. The system includes a central database to store multiple datasets in a common format and codes for calculating predefined statistical metrics to assess model performance. This allows the time taken to compare model simulations with satellite observations to be reduced from weeks to days. Early results from the use this new model evaluation system for evaluating regional climate simulations over California/western US regions will be presented.