Improvements to the NCAR CSM-1 for Transient Climate Simulations

B. A. Boville National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado*

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J. T. Kiehl National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado*

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P. J. Rasch National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado*

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F. O. Bryan National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado*

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Abstract

Improvements to the NCAR Climate System Model, CSM-1, primarily for transient climate forcing simulations, are discussed. The impact of the individual changes is assessed through atmosphere–land or ocean–ice experiments, and through short coupled simulations. A 270-yr control simulation has been performed using the model with all of the changes, defined as CSM-1.3. Trace gas concentrations appropriate for 1870 were used and the model produced a stable surface climate with less deep ocean drift than CSM-1.

Changing the aerodynamic roughness length of sea ice to a value appropriate for first year ice reduced the deep ocean salinity trend by a factor of 100 and error in the transport by the Antarctic circumpolar current by 50% (60 × 106 m3 s−1). Three new features were added to the Community Climate Model, version 3 (CCM3), which is the atmospheric component of CSM-1. These additions were N2O, CH4, CFC11, and CFC12 as prognostic tracers and the oxidation of CH4 to form water vapor; a prognostic cloud water formulation; and direct radiative effects of sulfate aerosols from a sulfate chemistry model (either online or using previously calculated three-dimensional aerosol loadings). Although these features represent substantial changes to the CCM3 formulation, allowing greatly improved flexibility for climate change experiments, they have relatively modest impact on the control simulation.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Byron A. Boville, NCAR/CDG, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000.

Email: boville@ucar.edu

Abstract

Improvements to the NCAR Climate System Model, CSM-1, primarily for transient climate forcing simulations, are discussed. The impact of the individual changes is assessed through atmosphere–land or ocean–ice experiments, and through short coupled simulations. A 270-yr control simulation has been performed using the model with all of the changes, defined as CSM-1.3. Trace gas concentrations appropriate for 1870 were used and the model produced a stable surface climate with less deep ocean drift than CSM-1.

Changing the aerodynamic roughness length of sea ice to a value appropriate for first year ice reduced the deep ocean salinity trend by a factor of 100 and error in the transport by the Antarctic circumpolar current by 50% (60 × 106 m3 s−1). Three new features were added to the Community Climate Model, version 3 (CCM3), which is the atmospheric component of CSM-1. These additions were N2O, CH4, CFC11, and CFC12 as prognostic tracers and the oxidation of CH4 to form water vapor; a prognostic cloud water formulation; and direct radiative effects of sulfate aerosols from a sulfate chemistry model (either online or using previously calculated three-dimensional aerosol loadings). Although these features represent substantial changes to the CCM3 formulation, allowing greatly improved flexibility for climate change experiments, they have relatively modest impact on the control simulation.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Byron A. Boville, NCAR/CDG, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000.

Email: boville@ucar.edu

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