Regional climate of hazardous convective weather through high-resolution dynamical downscaling

Robert J. Trapp, Eric D. Robinson, Michael E. Baldwin, Noah S. Diffenbaugh, Benjamin R.J. Schwedler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explore the use of high-resolution dynamical downscaling as a means to simulate the regionitial and boundary conditions. Horizontal grid lengths of 4. 25 km allow for explicit representation of deep convective storms and hence a compilation of their occurrence statistics over a large portion of the conterminous United States. The resultant 10-year sequence of WRF model integrations yields precipitation that, despite its positive bias, has a diurnal cycle consistent with observations, and otherwise has a realistic geographical distribution. Similarly, the occurrence frequency of short-duration, potentially flooding rainfall compares well to analyses of hourly rain gauge data. Finally, the climatological distribution of hazardous-thunderstorm occurrence is shown to be represented with some degree of skill through a model proxy that relates rotating convective updraft cores to the presence of hail, damaging surface winds, and tornadoes. The results suggest that the proxy occurrences, when coupled with information on the larger-scale atmosphere, could provide guidance on the reliability of trends in the observed occurrences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-688
Number of pages12
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Dynamical downscaling
  • Heavy rainfall
  • Reanalysis
  • Severe thunderstorm
  • Weather research and forecasting model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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