|Title||Improving the simulation of the West African Monsoon using the MIT Regional Climate Model|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2014|
|Authors||Im, E.-S., Gianotti, R.L. & Eltahir, E. A. B.|
|Journal||Journal of Climate|
This paper presents an evaluation of the performance of the MIT Regional Climate Model (MRCM) in simulating the West African Monsoon. MRCM is built on Regional Climate Model Version 3 (RegCM3) but with several improvements; including coupling of Integrated Biosphere Simulator (IBIS) land surface scheme, a new surface albedo assignment method, new convective cloud and convective rainfall autoconversion schemes, and modified scheme for simulating boundary layer height and boundary layer clouds. To investigate the impact of these more physically realistic representations when incorporated into MRCM, a series of experiments were carried out implementing two land surface schemes (IBIS with a new albedo assignment, and BATS: Biosphere-Atmosphere Transfer Scheme) and two convection schemes (Grell with the Fritsch-Chappell closure, and Emanuel in both the default form and modified with the new convective cloud cover and rainfall autoconversion scheme). The analysis primarily focuses on comparing the rainfall characteristics, surface energy balance and large scale circulations against various observations. This work documents significant sensitivity in simulation of the West African Monsoon to the choices of the land surface and convection schemes. Despite several deficiencies, the simulation with the combination of IBIS, modified Emanuel scheme with the new convective cloud cover and rainfall autoconversion scheme shows the best performance with respect to the spatial distribution of rainfall and the dynamics of the monsoon. The coupling of IBIS leads to representations of the surface energy balance and partitioning that show better agreement with observations compared to BATS. The IBIS simulations also reasonably reproduce the dynamical structures of the West African monsoon circulation.