The Convective-To-Total Precipitation Ratio and the “Drizzling” Bias in Climate Models


Chen, Di, A Dai, and A Hall. 2021. “The Convective-To-Total Precipitation Ratio and the “Drizzling” Bias in Climate Models.” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 126 (16): e2020JD034198.


Overestimation of precipitation frequency and duration while underestimating intensity, that is, the “drizzling” bias, has been a long-standing problem of global climate models. Here we explore this issue from the perspective of precipitation partitioning. We found that most models in the Climate Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) have high convective-to-total precipitation (PC/PR) ratios in low latitudes. Convective precipitation has higher frequency and longer duration but lower intensity than non-convective precipitation in many models. As a result, the high PC/PR ratio contributes to the “drizzling” bias over low latitudes. The PC/PR ratio and associated “drizzling” bias increase as model resolution coarsens from 0.5° to 2.0°, but the resolution's effect weakens as the grid spacing increases from 2.0° to 3.0°. Some of the CMIP6 models show reduced “drizzling” bias associated with decreased PC/PR ratio. Thus, more reasonable precipitation partitioning, along with finer model resolution should alleviate the “drizzling” bias within current climate models.

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Last updated on 08/19/2021