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Dynamic Radiative–Convective Equilibria Using GCM Column Physics

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  • 1 NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
  • | 2 Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
  • | 3 NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
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Abstract

The behavior of a GCM column physics package in a nonrotating, doubly periodic, homogeneous setting with prescribed SSTs is examined. This radiative–convective framework is proposed as a useful tool for studying some of the interactions between convection and larger-scale dynamics and the effects of differing modeling assumptions on convective organization and cloud feedbacks.

For the column physics utilized here, from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) AM2 model, many of the properties of the homogeneous, nonrotating model are closely tied to the fraction of precipitation that is large-scale, rather than convective. Significant large-scale precipitation appears above a critical temperature and then increases with further increases in temperature. The amount of large-scale precipitation is a function of horizontal resolution and can also be controlled by modifying the convection scheme, as is illustrated here by modifying assumptions concerning entrainment into convective plumes. Significant similarities are found between the behavior of the homogeneous model and that of the Tropics of the parent GCM when ocean temperatures are increased and when the convection scheme is modified.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Isaac M. Held, NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton University, Forrestal Campus/U.S. Route 1, P.O. Box 308, Princeton, NJ 08542.E-mail: Email: Isaac.Held@noaa.gov

Abstract

The behavior of a GCM column physics package in a nonrotating, doubly periodic, homogeneous setting with prescribed SSTs is examined. This radiative–convective framework is proposed as a useful tool for studying some of the interactions between convection and larger-scale dynamics and the effects of differing modeling assumptions on convective organization and cloud feedbacks.

For the column physics utilized here, from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) AM2 model, many of the properties of the homogeneous, nonrotating model are closely tied to the fraction of precipitation that is large-scale, rather than convective. Significant large-scale precipitation appears above a critical temperature and then increases with further increases in temperature. The amount of large-scale precipitation is a function of horizontal resolution and can also be controlled by modifying the convection scheme, as is illustrated here by modifying assumptions concerning entrainment into convective plumes. Significant similarities are found between the behavior of the homogeneous model and that of the Tropics of the parent GCM when ocean temperatures are increased and when the convection scheme is modified.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Isaac M. Held, NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton University, Forrestal Campus/U.S. Route 1, P.O. Box 308, Princeton, NJ 08542.E-mail: Email: Isaac.Held@noaa.gov

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