This study presents two simulations of the climate over Greenland with the regional climate model (RCM) HIRHAM5 at 0.05° and 0.25° resolution driven at the lateral boundaries by the ERA-Interim reanalysis for the period 1989–2009. These simulations are validated against observations from meteorological stations (Danish Meteorological Institute) at the coast and automatic weather stations on the ice sheet (Greenland Climate Network). Generally, the temperature and precipitation biases are small, indicating a realistic simulation of the climate over Greenland that is suitable to drive ice sheet models. However, the bias between the simulations and the few available observations does not reduce with higher resolution. This is partly explained by the lack of observations in regions where the higher resolution is expected to improve the simulated climate. The RCM simulations show that the temperature has increased the most in the northern part of Greenland and at lower elevations over the period 1989–2009. Higher resolution increases the relief variability in the model topography and causes the simulated precipitation to be larger on the coast and smaller over the main ice sheet compared to the lower-resolution simulation. The higher-resolution simulation likely represents the Greenlandic climate better, but the lack of observations makes it difficult to validate fully. The detailed temperature and precipitation fields that are generated with the higher resolution are recommended for producing adequate forcing fields for ice sheet models, particularly for their improved simulation of the processes occurring at the steep margins of the ice sheet.
Journal of Geophysical Research, 2012, Vol 117, Issue D2