S114 High-Resolution Island-Scale Climate Modeling in the Southern Caribbean

Sunday, 10 January 2016
Hall E ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Renée C. Elder, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are among the most vulnerable to climate change and variability. Small land area, limited coverage of meteorological observation data, and suitable model availability have restricted thorough studies simulating weather and climate at the island-scale. In many Caribbean SIDS, increased development activities have caused land use/land cover change that subsequently affects the biogeophysical properties of the earth-atmosphere system. The resultant effects warrant investigation which is necessary to help fill the void of quantifying the climatological effects of land use/land cover change in these islands. Increasing computing power and affordability has resulted in the ubiquity of high-resolution climate modeling studies, both global and regional, allowing for such studies to be done for Caribbean islands. Prior to assessing change, there must be some confidence in the models performance. This study assesses the capability of the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) to reproduce the weather during a dry and rainy season for Trinidad, West Indies. Several experiments were executed employing a combination of different land cover data (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and United States Forest Service (USFS), microphysics schemes, and sea surface temperature data (National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Final Operational Global Analysis and NCEP Real Time Global Sea Surface Temperature). Model performance was evaluated using temperature and rainfall observation data obtained from the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service and the Water Resources Agency of the Water and Sewerage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago. Preliminary results show favorable agreement with temperature observations, though rainfall results are less consistent as expected. Although, it appears employing higher quality land cover data improves model performance, the microphysics selection contributes more to rainfall output accuracy. Such small-scale experimentation is crucial to accurately capture climate conditions for small islands and can be used to inform sustainable development and mitigation strategies.
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