An Assessment of Errors in the Simulation of Atmospheric Interannual Variability in Uncoupled AGCM Simulations

Arun Kumar NOAA/Climate Prediction Center, Camp Springs, Maryland

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Qin Zhang RSIS Climate Prediction Center, Camp Springs, Maryland

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J-K. E. Schemm NOAA/Climate Prediction Center, Camp Springs, Maryland

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Michelle L’Heureux NOAA/Climate Prediction Center, Camp Springs, Maryland

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K-H. Seo Pusan National University, Busan, South Korea

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Abstract

For the uncoupled atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) simulations, the quantification of errors due to the lack of coupled ocean–atmospheric evolution on the characteristics of the atmospheric interannual variability is important for various reasons including the following: 1) AGCM simulations forced with specified SSTs continue to be used for understanding atmospheric interannual variability and 2) there is a vast knowledge base quantifying the global atmospheric influence of tropical SSTs that traditionally has relied on the analysis of AGCM-alone simulations. To put such results and analysis in a proper context, it is essential to document errors that may result from the lack of a coupled ocean–atmosphere evolution in the AGCM-alone integrations.

Analysis is based on comparison of tier-two (or uncoupled) and coupled hindcasts for the 1982–2005 period, and interannual variability for the December–February (DJF) seasonal mean is analyzed. Results indicate that for the seasonal mean variability, and for the DJF seasonal mean, atmospheric interannual variability between coupled and uncoupled simulations is similar. This conclusion is drawn from the analysis of interannual variability of rainfall and 200-mb heights and includes analysis of SST-forced interannual variability, analysis of El Niño and La Niña composites, and a comparison of hindcast skill between tier-two and coupled hindcasts.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Arun Kumar, Climate Prediction Center, NOAA/NWS/NCEP, 5200 Auth Road, Rm. 800, Camp Springs, MD 20746. Email: arun.kumar@noaa.gov

Abstract

For the uncoupled atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) simulations, the quantification of errors due to the lack of coupled ocean–atmospheric evolution on the characteristics of the atmospheric interannual variability is important for various reasons including the following: 1) AGCM simulations forced with specified SSTs continue to be used for understanding atmospheric interannual variability and 2) there is a vast knowledge base quantifying the global atmospheric influence of tropical SSTs that traditionally has relied on the analysis of AGCM-alone simulations. To put such results and analysis in a proper context, it is essential to document errors that may result from the lack of a coupled ocean–atmosphere evolution in the AGCM-alone integrations.

Analysis is based on comparison of tier-two (or uncoupled) and coupled hindcasts for the 1982–2005 period, and interannual variability for the December–February (DJF) seasonal mean is analyzed. Results indicate that for the seasonal mean variability, and for the DJF seasonal mean, atmospheric interannual variability between coupled and uncoupled simulations is similar. This conclusion is drawn from the analysis of interannual variability of rainfall and 200-mb heights and includes analysis of SST-forced interannual variability, analysis of El Niño and La Niña composites, and a comparison of hindcast skill between tier-two and coupled hindcasts.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Arun Kumar, Climate Prediction Center, NOAA/NWS/NCEP, 5200 Auth Road, Rm. 800, Camp Springs, MD 20746. Email: arun.kumar@noaa.gov

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