The weather research and forecast (WRF) model downscaling skill in extreme maximum daily temperature is evaluated by using the generalized extreme value (GEV) distribution. While the GEV distribution has been used extensively in climatology and meteorology for estimating probabilities of extreme events, accurately estimating GEV parameters based on data from a single pixel can be difficult, even with fairly long data records. This work proposes a simple method assuming that the shape parameter, the most difficult of the three parameters to estimate, does not vary over a relatively large region. This approach is applied to evaluate 31-year WRF-downscaled extreme maximum temperature through comparison with North American regional reanalysis (NARR) data. Uncertainty in GEV parameter estimates and the statistical significance in the differences of estimates between WRF and NARR are accounted for by conducting a novel bootstrap procedure that makes no assumption of temporal or spatial independence within a year, which is especially important for climate data. Despite certain biases over parts of the United States, overall, WRF shows good agreement with NARR in the spatial pattern and magnitudes of GEV parameter estimates. Both WRF and NARR show a significant increase in extreme maximum temperature over the southern Great Plains and southeastern United States in January and over the western United States in July. The GEV model shows clear benefits from the regionally constant shape parameter assumption, for example, leading to estimates of the location and scale parameters of the model that show coherent spatial patterns.
Areas of Focus: Climate Change
, Climate Science
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