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A Characterization of the Present-Day Arctic Atmosphere in CCSM4

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  • 1 * Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, and NOAA/ESRL/PSD, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois
  • | 3 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 4 Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, and NOAA/ESRL/PSD, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 5 University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
  • | 6 ** University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska
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Abstract

Simulation of key features of the Arctic atmosphere in the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) is evaluated against observational and reanalysis datasets for the present-day (1981–2005). Surface air temperature, sea level pressure, cloud cover and phase, precipitation and evaporation, the atmospheric energy budget, and lower-tropospheric stability are evaluated. Simulated surface air temperatures are found to be slightly too cold when compared with the 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40). Spatial patterns and temporal variability are well simulated. Evaluation of the sea level pressure demonstrates some large biases, most noticeably an under simulation of the Beaufort High during spring and autumn. Monthly Arctic-wide biases of up to 13 mb are reported. Cloud cover is underpredicted for all but summer months, and cloud phase is demonstrated to be different from observations. Despite low cloud cover, simulated all-sky liquid water paths are too high, while ice water path was generally too low. Precipitation is found to be excessive over much of the Arctic compared to ERA-40 and the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) estimates. With some exceptions, evaporation is well captured by CCSM4, resulting in PE estimates that are too high. CCSM4 energy budget terms show promising agreement with estimates from several sources. The most noticeable exception to this is the top of the atmosphere (TOA) fluxes that are found to be too low while surface fluxes are found to be too high during summer months. Finally, the lower troposphere is found to be too stable when compared to ERA-40 during all times of year but particularly during spring and summer months.

Corresponding author address: Gijs de Boer, R/PSD3, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304. E-mail: gijs.deboer@noaa.gov

This article is included in the CCSM4 Special Collection.

Abstract

Simulation of key features of the Arctic atmosphere in the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) is evaluated against observational and reanalysis datasets for the present-day (1981–2005). Surface air temperature, sea level pressure, cloud cover and phase, precipitation and evaporation, the atmospheric energy budget, and lower-tropospheric stability are evaluated. Simulated surface air temperatures are found to be slightly too cold when compared with the 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40). Spatial patterns and temporal variability are well simulated. Evaluation of the sea level pressure demonstrates some large biases, most noticeably an under simulation of the Beaufort High during spring and autumn. Monthly Arctic-wide biases of up to 13 mb are reported. Cloud cover is underpredicted for all but summer months, and cloud phase is demonstrated to be different from observations. Despite low cloud cover, simulated all-sky liquid water paths are too high, while ice water path was generally too low. Precipitation is found to be excessive over much of the Arctic compared to ERA-40 and the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) estimates. With some exceptions, evaporation is well captured by CCSM4, resulting in PE estimates that are too high. CCSM4 energy budget terms show promising agreement with estimates from several sources. The most noticeable exception to this is the top of the atmosphere (TOA) fluxes that are found to be too low while surface fluxes are found to be too high during summer months. Finally, the lower troposphere is found to be too stable when compared to ERA-40 during all times of year but particularly during spring and summer months.

Corresponding author address: Gijs de Boer, R/PSD3, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304. E-mail: gijs.deboer@noaa.gov

This article is included in the CCSM4 Special Collection.

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