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“Super‐parameterization”: A better way to simulate regional extreme precipitation?

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Extreme precipitation is generally underestimated by current climate models relative to observations of present-day rainfall distributions. Possible causes of this systematic error include the convective parameterization in these models that have been designed to reproduce measurements of climatological mean precipitation. One possible approach to improve the interaction of subgrid-scale physical processes and large-scale climate is to replace the conventional convective parameterizations with a high-resolution cloud-system resolving model. A "super-parameterized" Community Atmosphere Model (SP-CAM) utilizing this approach is used in this study to investigate the distribution of extreme precipitation in the United States. Results show that SP-CAM better simulates the distributions of both light and intense precipitation compared to the standard version of CAM based upon conventional parameterizations. The improvements are mostly seen in regions dominated by convective precipitation, suggesting that super-parameterization provides a better representation of subgrid convective processes. Copyright © 2012 by the American Geophysical Union.

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