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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 16, issue 9 | Copyright
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 3309-3314, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Technical note 17 Sep 2012

Technical note | 17 Sep 2012

Technical Note: Bias correcting climate model simulated daily temperature extremes with quantile mapping

B. Thrasher1,2, E. P. Maurer3, C. McKellar4, and P. B. Duffy5 B. Thrasher et al.
  • 1Climate Analytics Group, Palo Alto, CA 94303, USA
  • 2Climate Central, Princeton, NJ 08542, USA
  • 3Santa Clara University, Civil Engineering Dept., Santa Clara, California, 95053-0563, USA
  • 4San Jose State University, Dept. of Meteorology and Climate Science, San Jose, CA 95126, USA
  • 5Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94550, USA

Abstract. When applying a quantile mapping-based bias correction to daily temperature extremes simulated by a global climate model (GCM), the transformed values of maximum and minimum temperatures are changed, and the diurnal temperature range (DTR) can become physically unrealistic. While causes are not thoroughly explored, there is a strong relationship between GCM biases in snow albedo feedback during snowmelt and bias correction resulting in unrealistic DTR values. We propose a technique to bias correct DTR, based on comparing observations and GCM historic simulations, and combine that with either bias correcting daily maximum temperatures and calculating daily minimum temperatures or vice versa. By basing the bias correction on a base period of 1961–1980 and validating it during a test period of 1981–1999, we show that bias correcting DTR and maximum daily temperature can produce more accurate estimations of daily temperature extremes while avoiding the pathological cases of unrealistic DTR values.

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