101 Comparison of ERA-Interim, CFSR, MERRA-2 and JRA-55 Reanalyses with Observed Temperatures, Wind Speeds and Precipitation over British Columbia, Canada

Monday, 23 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Pedro I. Odon, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada; and G. L. West and R. B. Stull

The extreme weather events of greatest concern in British Columbia include heavy precipitation, unseasonably hot and cold periods, and drought. These weather events directly impact the general population as well as British Columbia’s primary utility company, BC Hydro. To gauge the severity of an extreme weather event, a historical dataset is needed. However, weather station data over British Columbia becomes sparse as you move further away from Lower Mainland. This data scarcity motivates research to determine which reanalysis dataset performs best, particularly with respect to extremes.

2-m temperatures, 10-m wind speeds and precipitation modelled by ERA-Interim, the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR), the 55-year Japanese Reanalysis (JRA-55), and the latest Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA-2), are evaluated at monthly and daily time scales over the complex terrain of British Columbia for the period 1980–2010. We provide an intercomparison of these reanalyses at grid points across the province. Additionally, temperature, wind speeds and precipitation from the reanalyses are compared with observations at three meteorological stations in disparate climatological zones. Namely, these stations were chosen because they are geographically dispersed around British Columbia and represent a mixture of coastal, intermountain and continental locations. Standard deviation, skewness, and kurtosis of the observed temperatures, wind speeds, and precipitation are compared to that of the reanalysis datasets. Additionally, minima and maxima values of the observations are evaluated with respect to that of the reanalyses.  Finally, performance of the reanalyses are tested for case studies of extreme temperature, wind speeds, and precipitation events across British Columbia.

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