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Primitive-Equation-Based Low-Order Models with Seasonal Cycle. Part I: Model Construction

Ulrich AchatzLeibniz-Institut für Atmosphärenphysik an der Universität Rostock, Kuehlungsborn, Germany

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J. D. OpsteeghRoyal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, Netherlands

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Abstract

In a continuation of previous investigations on deterministic reduced atmosphere models with compact state space representation, two main modifications are introduced. First, primitive equation dynamics is used to describe the nonlinear interactions between resolved scales. Second, the seasonal cycle in its main aspects is incorporated. Stability considerations lead to a gridpoint formulation of the basic equations in the dynamical core. A total energy metric consistent with the equations can be derived, provided surface pressure is treated as constant in time. Using this metric, a reduction in the number of degrees of freedom is achieved by a projection onto three-dimensional empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs), each of them encompassing simultaneously all prognostic variables (winds and temperature). The impact of unresolved scales and not explicitly described physical processes is incorporated via an empirical linear parameterization. The basis patterns having been determined from 3 sigma levels from a GCM dataset, it is found that, in spite of the presence of a seasonal cycle, at most 500 are needed for describing 90% of the variance produced by the GCM. If compared to previous low-order models with quasigeostrophic dynamics, the reduced models exhibit at this and lower-order truncations, a considerably enhanced capability to predict GCM tendencies. An analysis of the dynamical impact of the empirical parameterization is given, hinting at an important role in controlling the seasonally dependent storm track dynamics.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Ulrich Achatz, Institut für Atmosphärenphysik an der Universität Rostock, Schloßstr. 6, 18225, Kuehlungsborn, Germany. Email: achatz@iap-kborn.de

Abstract

In a continuation of previous investigations on deterministic reduced atmosphere models with compact state space representation, two main modifications are introduced. First, primitive equation dynamics is used to describe the nonlinear interactions between resolved scales. Second, the seasonal cycle in its main aspects is incorporated. Stability considerations lead to a gridpoint formulation of the basic equations in the dynamical core. A total energy metric consistent with the equations can be derived, provided surface pressure is treated as constant in time. Using this metric, a reduction in the number of degrees of freedom is achieved by a projection onto three-dimensional empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs), each of them encompassing simultaneously all prognostic variables (winds and temperature). The impact of unresolved scales and not explicitly described physical processes is incorporated via an empirical linear parameterization. The basis patterns having been determined from 3 sigma levels from a GCM dataset, it is found that, in spite of the presence of a seasonal cycle, at most 500 are needed for describing 90% of the variance produced by the GCM. If compared to previous low-order models with quasigeostrophic dynamics, the reduced models exhibit at this and lower-order truncations, a considerably enhanced capability to predict GCM tendencies. An analysis of the dynamical impact of the empirical parameterization is given, hinting at an important role in controlling the seasonally dependent storm track dynamics.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Ulrich Achatz, Institut für Atmosphärenphysik an der Universität Rostock, Schloßstr. 6, 18225, Kuehlungsborn, Germany. Email: achatz@iap-kborn.de

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