Earth's Future, Volume 9, Issue 10
- Anthology ID:
- American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Climate models are crucial for assessing climate variability and change. A reliable model for future climate should reasonably simulate the historical climate. Here, we assess the performance of CMIP6 models in reproducing statistical properties of observed annual maxima of daily precipitation. We go beyond the commonly used methods and assess CMIP6 simulations on three scales by performing: (a) univariate comparison based on L-moments and relative difference measures; (b) bivariate comparison using Kernel densities of mean and L-variation, and of L-skewness and L-kurtosis, and (c) comparison of the entire distribution function using the Generalized Extreme Value () distribution coupled with a novel application of the Anderson-Darling Goodness-of-fit test. The results reveal that the statistical shape properties (related to the frequency and magnitude of extremes) of CMIP6 simulations match well with the observational datasets. The simulated mean and variation differ among the models with 70% of simulations having a difference within 10% from the observations. Biases are observed in the bivariate investigation of mean and variation. Several models perform well with the HadGEM3-GC31-MM model performing well in all three scales when compared to the ground-based Global Precipitation Climatology Centre data. Finally, the study highlights biases of CMIP6 models in simulating extreme precipitation in the Arctic, Tropics, arid and semi-arid regions.
As droughts have widespread social and ecological impacts, it is critical to develop long-term adaptation and mitigation strategies to reduce drought vulnerability. Climate models are important in quantifying drought changes. Here, we assess the ability of 285 CMIP6 historical simulations, from 17 models, to reproduce drought duration and severity in three observational data sets using the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). We used summary statistics beyond the mean and standard deviation, and devised a novel probabilistic framework, based on the Hellinger distance, to quantify the difference between observed and simulated drought characteristics. Results show that many simulations have less than ±10% error in reproducing the observed drought summary statistics. The hypothesis that simulations and observations are described by the same distribution cannot be rejected for more than 80% of the grids based on our H distance framework. No single model stood out as demonstrating consistently better performance over large regions of the globe. The variance in drought statistics among the simulations is higher in the tropics compared to other latitudinal zones. Though the models capture the characteristics of dry spells well, there is considerable bias in low precipitation values. Good model performance in terms of SPI does not imply good performance in simulating low precipitation. Our study emphasizes the need to probabilistically evaluate climate model simulations in order to both pinpoint model weaknesses and identify a subset of best-performing models that are useful for impact assessments.