The Brazilian Global Atmospheric Model (BAM): Performance for tropical rainfall forecasting and sensitivity to convective scheme and horizontal resolution

Silvio N. Figueroa, José P. Bonatti, Paulo Y. Kubota, Georg A. Grell, Hugh Morrison, Saulo R.M. Barros, Julio P.R. Fernandez, Enver Ramirez, Leo Siqueira, Graziela Luzia, Josiane Silva, Juliana R. Silva, Jayant Pendharkar, Vinicius B. Capistrano, Débora S. Alvim, Diego P. Enoré, L. R.Diniz Fábio, Praki Satyamurti, Iracema F.A. Cavalcanti, Paulo NobreHenrique M.J. Barbosa, Celso L. Mendes, Jairo Panetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article describes the main features of the Brazilian Global Atmospheric Model (BAM), analyses of its performance for tropical rainfall forecasting, and its sensitivity to convective scheme and horizontal resolution. BAM is the new global atmospheric model of the Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Research [Centro de Previsão de Tempo e Estudos Climáticos (CPTEC)], which includes a new dynamical core and state-of-the-art parameterization schemes. BAM's dynamical core incorporates a monotonic two-time-level semi-Lagrangian scheme, which is carried out completely on the model grid for the tridimensional transport of moisture, microphysical prognostic variables, and tracers. The performance of the quantitative precipitation forecasts (QPFs) from two convective schemes, the Grell-Dévényi (GD) scheme and its modified version (GDM), and two different horizontal resolutions are evaluated against the daily TRMM Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis over different tropical regions. Three main results are 1) the QPF skill was improved substantially with GDM in comparison to GD; 2) the increase in the horizontal resolution without any ad hoc tuning improves the variance of precipitation over continents with complex orography, such as Africa and South America, whereas over oceans there are no significant differences; and 3) the systematic errors (dry or wet biases) remain virtually unchanged for 5-day forecasts. Despite improvements in the tropical precipitation forecasts, especially over southeastern Brazil, dry biases over the Amazon and La Plata remain in BAM. Improving the precipitation forecasts over these regions remains a challenge for the future development of the model to be used not only for numerical weather prediction over South America but also for global climate simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1547-1572
Number of pages26
JournalWeather and Forecasting
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Convective parameterization
  • Forecast verification/skill
  • Forecasting
  • General circulation models
  • Model evaluation/performance
  • Models and modeling
  • Numerical weather prediction/forecasting
  • Operational forecasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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