This study evaluates the fidelity of North American monsoon and associated intraseasonal variability in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) coupled general circulation models (CGCMs). Twenty years of monthly precipitation data from each of the 22 models' twentieth-century climate simulations, together with the available daily precipitation data from 12 of them, are analyzed and compared with Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) monthly and daily precipitation. The authors focus on the seasonal cycle and horizontal pattern of monsoon precipitation in conjunction with the two dominant convectively coupled equatorial wave modes: the eastward-propagating Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) and the westward-propagating easterly waves. The results show that the IPCC AR4 CGCMs have significant problems and display a wide range of skill in simulating the North American monsoon and associated intraseasonal variability. Most of the models reproduce the monsoon rainbelt, extending from southeast to northwest, and its gradual northward shift in early summer, but overestimate the precipitation over the core monsoon region throughout the seasonal cycle and fail to reproduce the monsoon retreat in the fall. Additionally, most models simulate good westward propagation of the easterly waves, but relatively poor eastward propagation of the MJO and overly weak variances for both the easterly waves and the MJO. There is a tendency for models without undiluted updrafts in their deep convection scheme to produce better MJO propagation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science