Reassessing the value of regional climate modelling using palaeoclimate simulations

Edward Armstrong, Peter Hopcroft, Paul J. Valdes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
118 Downloads (Pure)


Regional climate models (RCMs) are often assumed to be more skillful compared to lower‐resolution general circulation models (GCM). However, RCMs are driven by input from coarser resolution GCMs, which may introduce biases. This study employs versions of the HadAMB3 GCM at three resolutions (>50 km) to investigate the added value of higher resolution using identically configured simulations of the preindustrial (PI), mid‐Holocene, and Last Glacial Maximum. The RCM shows improved PI climatology compared to the coarse‐resolution GCM and enhanced paleoanomalies in the jet stream and storm tracks. However, there is no apparent improvement when compared to proxy reconstructions. In the high‐resolution GCM, accuracy in PI climate and atmospheric anomalies are enhanced despite its intermediate resolution. This indicates that synoptic and mesoscale features in a RCM are influenced by its low‐resolution input, which impacts the simulated climatology. This challenges the paradigm that RCMs improve the representation of climate conditions and change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12464-12475
Number of pages12
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
Early online date9 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2019


  • added value
  • atmosphere
  • climate modeling
  • paleoclimate
  • regional climate modeling
  • resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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