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Journal Article

How accurately are climatological characteristics and surface water and energy balances represented for the Colombian Caribbean Catchment Basin?


Hagemann,  Stefan
Terrestrial Hydrology, The Land in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Hoyos, I., Baquero-Bernal, A., & Hagemann, S. (2013). How accurately are climatological characteristics and surface water and energy balances represented for the Colombian Caribbean Catchment Basin? Climate Dynamics, 41, 1269-1290. doi:10.1007/s00382-013-1685-0.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-B680-4
In Colombia, the access to climate related observational data is restricted and their quantity is limited. But information about the current climate is fundamental for studies on present and future climate changes and their impacts. In this respect, this information is especially important over the Colombian Caribbean Catchment Basin (CCCB) that comprises over 80 % of the population of Colombia and produces about 85 % of its GDP. Consequently, an ensemble of several datasets has been evaluated and compared with respect to their capability to represent the climate over the CCCB. The comparison includes observations, reconstructed data (CPC, Delaware), reanalyses (ERA-40, NCEP/NCAR), and simulated data produced with the regional climate model REMO. The capabilities to represent the average annual state, the seasonal cycle, and the interannual variability are investigated. The analyses focus on surface air temperature and precipitation as well as on surface water and energy balances. On one hand the CCCB characteristics poses some difficulties to the datasets as the CCCB includes a mountainous region with three mountain ranges, where the dynamical core of models and model parameterizations can fail. On the other hand, it has the most dense network of stations, with the longest records, in the country. The results can be summarised as follows: all of the datasets demonstrate a cold bias in the average temperature of CCCB. However, the variability of the average temperature of CCCB is most poorly represented by the NCEP/NCAR dataset. The average precipitation in CCCB is overestimated by all datasets. For the ERA-40, NCEP/NCAR, and REMO datasets, the amplitude of the annual cycle is extremely high. The variability of the average precipitation in CCCB is better represented by the reconstructed data of CPC and Delaware, as well as by NCEP/NCAR. Regarding the capability to represent the spatial behaviour of CCCB, temperature is better represented by Delaware and REMO, while precipitation is better represented by Delaware. Among the three datasets that permit an analysis of surface water and energy balances (REMO, ERA-40, and NCEP/NCAR), REMO best demonstrates the closure property of the surface water balance within the basin, while NCEP/NCAR does not demonstrate this property well. The three datasets represent the energy balance fairly well, although some inconsistencies were found in the individual balance components for NCEP/NCAR.