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The CORDEX Flagship Pilot Study in Southeastern South America: A comparative study of statistical and dynamical downscaling models in simulating daily extreme precipitation events

Journal: Climate Dynamics
Year: 2021  
Status: Published
DOI: 10.1007/s00382-020-05549-z
Bettolli M. L., Solman, S., da Rocha R. P., Llopart, M., , , Olmo, M. E., , Chou, S., Carneiro Rodrigues, D., Coppola, E., Balmaceda Huarte, R., Barreiro, M., Blázquez, J., Doyle, M., Feijoo, M., Huth, R., Machado, L., Vianna Cuadra, S.

The aim of this work is to present preliminary results of the statistical and dynamical simulations carried out within the framework of the Flagship Pilot Study in southeastern South America (FPS-SESA) endorsed by the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiments (CORDEX) program. The FPS-SESA initiative seeks to promote inter-institutional collaboration and further networking with focus on extreme rainfall events. The main scientific aim is to study multi-scale processes and interactions most conducive to extreme precipitation events through both statistical and dynamical downscaling techniques, including convection-permitting simulations. To this end, a targeted experiment was designed considering the season October 2009 to March 2010, a period with a record number of extreme precipitation events within SESA. Also, three individual extreme events within that season were chosen as case studies for analyzing specific regional processes and sensitivity to resolutions. Four dynamical and four statistical downscaling models (RCM and ESD respectively) from different institutions contributed to the experiment. In this work, an analysis of the capability of the set of the FPS-SESA downscaling methods in simulating daily
precipitation during the selected warm season is presented together with an integrated assessment of multiple sources of observations and available CORDEX Regional Climate Model simulations. Comparisons among all simulations reveal that there is no single model that performs best in all aspects evaluated. The ability in reproducing the different features of daily precipitation depends on the model. However, the evaluation of the sequence of precipitation events, their intensity and timing suggests that FPS-SESA simulations based on both RCM and ESD yield promising results. Most models capture the extreme events selected, although with a considerable spread in accumulated values and the location of heavy precipitation.