On the Applicability of Temperature and Precipitation Data from CMIP3 for China

Chiyuan Miao*, Qingyun Duan, Lin Yang, Alistair G. L. Borthwick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Global Circulation Models (GCMs) contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) and are widely used in global change research. This paper assesses the performance of the AR4 GCMs in simulating precipitation and temperature in China from 1960 to 1999 by comparison with observed data, using system bias (B), root-mean-square error (RMSE), Pearson correlation coefficient (R) and Nash-Sutcliffe model efficiency (E) metrics. Probability density functions (PDFs) are also fitted to the outputs of each model. It is shown that the performance of each GCM varies to different degrees across China. Based on the skill score derived from the four metrics, it is suggested that GCM 15 (ipsl_cm4) and GCM 3 (cccma_cgcm_t63) provide the best representations of temperature and precipitation, respectively, in terms of spatial distribution and trend over 10 years. The results also indicate that users should apply carefully the results of annual precipitation and annual temperature generated by AR4 GCMs in China due to poor performance. At a finer scale, the four metrics are also used to obtain best fit scores for ten river basins covering mainland China. Further research is proposed to improve the simulation accuracy of the AR4 GCMs regarding China.

Original languageEnglish
Article number44659
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2012


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