AdvisorShuttleworth, W. James
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe North American Monsoon System (NAMS) is an important climatological feature of much of southwestern North America because it is responsible for large portions of the annual rainfall in many otherwise arid and semi-arid environments. This dissertation explores issues related to numerical simulation of the North American Monsoon climate. Simulation studies using both an atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) and a regional climate model (RCM), forced by model analyzed boundary conditions, are presented. The RCM was run for a single season with three different convective parameterization schemes for a single season to assess the sensitivity to convective representation. The main conclusion from these simulations was that substantial differences in both the time-integrated thermodynamic and circulation structures of the simulated July 1999 NAM atmosphere evolve in the simulations when different convective parameterization schemes (CPSs) are used. All simulations reproduced the maximum of precipitation along the western slope of the Sierra Madre Occidental. However, root mean squared errors and model biases in precipitation and surface climate variables were substantial, and showed strong regional dependencies between each of the simulations. There are large differences in the modeled monthly-total surface runoff between simulations. These differences appear to be more closely related to differences in local, precipitation intensity than to time-average or basin-average intensity. It was found that many features of the North American Monsoon were poorly simulated by the AGCM used in its current configuration when using a yearly repeating cycle of sea-surface temperatures. In particular, the model is unable to simulate the regional patterns of monsoon circulation and rainfall. Modeled rainfall over the southwest U.S. and Mexico is much too low, while tropical precipitation is overestimated. Anomalous sea-surface temperature forcing in the Pacific Ocean also induced model responses that resemble observed responses suggesting that sea-surface temperatures may play a modest role in establishing the monsoon circulation and hence in the generation of monsoon rainfall.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Hydrology and Water Resources