Evaluation of onset, cessation and seasonal precipitation of the Southeast Asia rainy season in CMIP5 regional climate models and HighResMIP global climate models

Hariadi, Mugni Hadi; Schrier, Gerard; Steeneveld, Gert-Jan; Sopaheluwakan, Ardhasena; Tank, Albert Klein; Roberts, Malcolm John; Moine, Marie-Pierre; Bellucci, Alessio; Senan, Retish; Tourigny, Etienne; Putrasahan, Dian


Representing the rainy season of the maritime continent is a challenge for global and regional climate models. Here, we compare regional climate models (RCMs) based on the coupled model intercomparison project phase 5 (CMIP5) model generation with high resolution global climate models with a comparable spatial resolution from the HighResMIP experiment. The onset and the total precipitation of the rainy season for both model experiments are compared against observational datasets for Southeast Asia. A realistic representation of the monsoon rainfall is essential for agriculture in Southeast Asia as a delayed onset jeopardizes the possibility of having three annual crops. In general, the coupled historical runs (Hist-1950) and the historical force atmosphere run (HighresSST) of the high resolution model intercomparison project (HighResMIP) suite were consistently closer to the observations than the RCM of CMIP5 used in this study. We find that for the whole of Southeast Asia, the HighResMIP models simulate the onset date and the total precipitation of the rainy season over the region closer to the observations than the other model sets used in this study. High-resolution models in the HighresSST experiment showed a similar performance to their low-resolution equivalents in simulating the monsoon characteristics. The HighresSST experiment simulated the anomaly of the onset date and the total precipitation for different El NiƱo-southern oscillation (ENSO) conditions best, although the magnitude of the onset date anomaly was underestimated.