Assessment of Regional Global Climate Model Water Vapor Bias and Trends Using...

Roman, J. A., B. Knuteson, S. Ackerman, D. Tobin, and H. Revercomb (2012), Assessment of Regional Global Climate Model Water Vapor Bias and Trends Using Precipitable Water Vapor (PWV) Observations from a Network of Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) Receivers in the U.S. Great Plains and Midwest, J. Climate, 25, 5471-5493, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00570.1.

Precipitable water vapor (PWV) observations from the National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR) SuomiNet networks of ground-based global positioning system (GPS) receivers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Profiler Network (NPN) are used in the regional assessment of global climate models. Study regions in the U.S. Great Plains and Midwest highlight the differences among global climate model output from the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A2 scenario in their seasonal representation of column water vapor and the vertical distribution of moisture. In particular, the Community Climate System model, version 3 (CCSM3) is shown to exhibit a dry bias of over 30% in the summertime water vapor column, while the Goddard Institute for Space Studies Model E20 (GISS E20) agrees well with PWV observations. A detailed assessment of vertical profiles of temperature, relative humidity, and specific humidity confirm that only GISS E20 was able to represent the summertime specific humidity profile in the atmospheric boundary layer (,3%) and thus the correct total column water vapor. All models show good agreement in the winter season for the region. Regional trends using station-elevation-corrected GPS PWV data from two complimentary networks are found to be consistent with null trends predicted in the AR4 A2 scenario model output for the period 2000–09. The time to detect (TTD) a 0.05 mm yr21 PWV trend, as predicted in the A2 scenario for the period 2000– 2100, is shown to be 25–30 yr with 95% confidence in the Oklahoma–Kansas region.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)