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Validation of a 9-km WRF dynamical downscaling of temperature and precipitation for the period 1980–2005 over Central South Chile

Abstract

In this paper, we evaluated a dynamical downscaling produced for Central South Chile (32°S–38°S) relative to climatic conditions between 1980 and 2005. Assessing the skill of dynamical downscaling relative to the present climate is key to determine the degree of confidence on regional climatic projections. We used the Weather Research and Forecasting model to simulate that period at ~ 9 km grid-cell size, forced by the bias-corrected Community Earth System Model. Results indicated that the dynamical downscaling adequately reproduced spatio-temporal features of the climate within the region. Temperature showed a positive bias at the annual scale while the opposite occurred for precipitation. The bias varied when the comparison was performed relative to a gridded product or instrumental records from weather stations. At the monthly scale, the model failed to capture long-term trends relative to the gridded dataset while reproducing spatial patterns, especially for temperature. We found a generally statistically significant spatial clustering of the monthly mean bias that can support implementation and application of dynamical downscaling and bias-correction methods that account for the distinct climatic features of the study area. In particular, the strip 34°S–35°S presented features that are coincident with previous findings suggesting this latitude to be a boundary between different climate regimes north and south. According to our results, we assert that this dynamical downscaling is comparable with other available databases and thus can be utilized in future studies as an additional and independent source of analysis, contributing to a balanced appraisal of climate scenarios for policymaking within the region.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the Center for Climate and Resilience Research for providing access to the CR2MET database used in this study, NASA JPL for producing the NASADEM, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) for making the bias-corrected CESM model output available for this research. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Program’s Working Groups on Coupled Modeling and Regional Climate, which is responsible for CMIP former coordinating body of CORDEX, and we thank the climate modeling groups (listed in Table 1 of this paper) for producing and making available their model output. We also acknowledge the Earth System Grid Federation infrastructure an international effort led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, the European Network for Earth System Modeling and other partners in the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals (GO-ESSP).

Funding

Funding for this work was provided by the Chilean Science Council (FONDECYT 11160454, 1171065, 1201429, and 1201714) and the Programa de Resiliencia Climática para el Área Metropolitana de Valparaíso from the Banco del Desarrollo de América Latina.

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Correspondence to Alfonso Fernández.

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Fernández, A., Schumacher, V., Ciocca, I. et al. Validation of a 9-km WRF dynamical downscaling of temperature and precipitation for the period 1980–2005 over Central South Chile. Theor Appl Climatol 143, 361–378 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-020-03416-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-020-03416-9

Keywords

  • Dynamical downscaling
  • Central South Chile
  • Temperature
  • Precipitation