The role of land surface schemes in the regional climate model (RegCM) for seasonal scale simulations over Western Himalayas

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Climate prediction over the Western Himalaya is a challenging task due to the highly variable altitude and orientation of orographic barriers. Surface characteristics also play a vital role in climate simulations and need appropriate representation in the models. In this study, two land surface parameterization schemes (LSPS), the Biosphere-Atmosphere Transfer Scheme (BATS) and the Common Land Model (CLM, version 3.5) in the regional climate model (RegCM, version 4) have been tested over the Himalayan region for nine distinct winter seasons in respect of seasonal precipitation (three years each for excess, normal and deficit). Reanalysis II data of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)/Department of Energy (DOE)
have been used as initial and lateral boundary conditions for the RegCM model. In order to provide land surface boundary conditions in the RegCM model, geophysical parameters (10 min resolution) obtained from United States of Geophysical Survey were used. The performance of two LSPS (CLM and BATS) coupled
with the RegCM is evaluated against gridded precipitation and surface temperature data sets from the India Meteorological Department (IMD). It is found that the simulated surface temperature and precipitation are better represented in the CLM scheme than in the BATS when compared with observations. Further, several
statistical analysis such as bias, root mean square error (RMSE), spatial correlation coefficient (CC) and skill scores like the equitable threat score (ETS) and the probability of detection (POD) are estimated for evaluating RegCM simulations using both LSPS. Results indicate that the RMSE decreases and the CC increases with the use of the CLM compared to BATS. ETS and POD also indicate that the performance of the model is
better with the CLM than with the BATS in simulating seasonal scale precipitation. Overall, results suggest that the performance of the RegCM coupled with the CLM scheme improves the model skill in predicting winter precipitation (by 15-25%) and temperature (by 10-20%) over the Western Himalaya.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2015


  • Western Himalayas
  • Land Surface Schemes
  • Regional Climate Model


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