The NCEP Regional Spectral Model (RSM), with horizontal resolution of 60 km, was used to downscale the ECHAM4.5 AGCM (T42) simulations forced with observed SSTs over northeast Brazil. An ensemble of 10 runs for the period January-June 1971-2000 was used in this study. The RSM can resolve the spatial patterns of observed seasonal precipitation and capture the interannual variability of observed seasonal precipitation as well. The AGCM bias in displacement of the Atlantic ITCZ is partially corrected in the RSM. The RSM probability distribution function of seasonal precipitation anomalies is in better agreement with observations than that of the driving AGCM. Good potential prediction skills are demonstrated by the RSM in predicting the interannual variability of regional seasonal precipitation. The RSM can also capture the interannual variability of observed precipitation at intraseasonal time scales, such as precipitation intensity distribution and dry spells. A drought index and a flooding index were adopted to indicate the severity of drought and flooding conditions, and their interannual variability was reproduced by the RSM. The overall RSM performance in the downscaled climate of the ECHAN14.5 AGCM is satisfactory over Nordeste. The primary deficiency is a systematic dry bias for precipitation simulation.
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