COSMO-CLM regional climate simulations in the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) framework: a review


In the last decade, the Climate Limited-area Modeling Community (CLM-Community) has contributed to the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) with an extensive set of regional climate simulations. Using several versions of the COSMO-CLM-Community model, ERA-Interim reanalysis and eight global climate models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) were dynamically downscaled with horizontal grid spacings of 0.44∘ (∼ 50 km), 0.22∘ (∼ 25 km), and 0.11∘ (∼ 12 km) over the CORDEX domains Europe, South Asia, East Asia, Australasia, and Africa. This major effort resulted in 80 regional climate simulations publicly available through the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) web portals for use in impact studies and climate scenario assessments. Here we review the production of these simulations and assess their results in terms of mean near-surface temperature and precipitation to aid the future design of the COSMO-CLM model simulations. It is found that a domain-specific parameter tuning is beneficial, while increasing horizontal model resolution (from 50 to 25 or 12 km grid spacing) alone does not always improve the performance of the simulation. Moreover, the COSMO-CLM performance depends on the driving data. This is generally more important than the dependence on horizontal resolution, model version, and configuration. Our results emphasize the importance of performing regional climate projections in a coordinated way, where guidance from both the global (GCM) and regional (RCM) climate modeling communities is needed to increase the reliability of the GCM–RCM modeling chain.
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