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Climate Drift in a Multicentury Integration of the NCAR Climate System Model

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  • 1 Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

The National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Climate System Model is a comprehensive model of the physical climate system. A 300-yr integration of the model has been carried out without flux correction. The solution shows very little drift in the surface temperature distribution, sea-ice extent, or atmospheric circulation. The lack of drift in the surface climate is attributed to relatively good agreement in the estimates of meridional heat transport in the uncoupled ocean model and that implied by the uncoupled atmospheric model. On the other hand, there is significant drift in the temperature and salinity distributions of the deep ocean. The ocean loses heat at an area-averaged rate of 0.35 W m−2, the upper ocean becomes fresher, and the deep ocean becomes colder and saltier than in the uncoupled ocean model equilibrium or in observations. The cause of this drift is an unreasonably large meridional transport of freshwater in the sea ice model, resulting in the production of excessively cold and salty Antarctic Bottom Water. There is also significant drift in the Arctic basin, with the complete erosion of the surface halocline early in the coupled integration.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Frank O. Bryan, NCAR/CGD, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000.

Email: bryan@ncar.ucar.edu

Abstract

The National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Climate System Model is a comprehensive model of the physical climate system. A 300-yr integration of the model has been carried out without flux correction. The solution shows very little drift in the surface temperature distribution, sea-ice extent, or atmospheric circulation. The lack of drift in the surface climate is attributed to relatively good agreement in the estimates of meridional heat transport in the uncoupled ocean model and that implied by the uncoupled atmospheric model. On the other hand, there is significant drift in the temperature and salinity distributions of the deep ocean. The ocean loses heat at an area-averaged rate of 0.35 W m−2, the upper ocean becomes fresher, and the deep ocean becomes colder and saltier than in the uncoupled ocean model equilibrium or in observations. The cause of this drift is an unreasonably large meridional transport of freshwater in the sea ice model, resulting in the production of excessively cold and salty Antarctic Bottom Water. There is also significant drift in the Arctic basin, with the complete erosion of the surface halocline early in the coupled integration.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Frank O. Bryan, NCAR/CGD, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000.

Email: bryan@ncar.ucar.edu

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