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Diagnosing Northern Hemisphere Jet Portrayal in 17 CMIP3 Global Climate Models: Twentieth-Century Intermodel Variability

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, and Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
  • | 2 Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
  • | 3 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, and Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
  • | 4 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
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Abstract

The present study focuses on diagnosing the intermodel variability of nonzonally averaged NH winter jet stream portrayal in 17 global climate models (GCMs) from phase three of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3). Relative to the reanalysis, the ensemble-mean 300-hPa Atlantic jet is too zonally extended and located too far equatorward in GCMs. The Pacific jet varies significantly between modeling groups, with large biases in the vicinity of the jet exit region that cancel in the ensemble mean. After seeking relationships between twentieth-century model wind biases and 1) the internal modes of jet variability or 2) tropical sea surface temperatures (SSTs), it is found that biases in upper-level winds are strongly related to an ENSO-like pattern in winter-mean tropical Pacific Ocean SST biases. The spatial structure of the leading modes of variability of the upper-level jet in the twentieth century is found to be accurately modeled in all 17 GCMs. Also, it is shown that Pacific model biases in the longitude of EOFs 1 and 2 are strongly linked to the modeled longitude of the Pacific jet exit, indicating that the improved characterization of the mean state of the Pacific jet may positively impact the modeled variability. This work suggests that improvements in model portrayal of the tropical Pacific mean state may significantly advance the portrayal of the mean state of the Pacific and Atlantic jets, which will consequently improve the modeled jet stream variability in the Pacific. To complement these findings, a companion paper examines the twenty-first-century GCM projections of the nonzonally averaged NH jet streams.

Corresponding author address: Sharon C. Delcambre, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin—Madison, 1225 W. Dayton St., Madison, WI 53706. E-mail: scjaffe@uwalumni.com

Abstract

The present study focuses on diagnosing the intermodel variability of nonzonally averaged NH winter jet stream portrayal in 17 global climate models (GCMs) from phase three of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3). Relative to the reanalysis, the ensemble-mean 300-hPa Atlantic jet is too zonally extended and located too far equatorward in GCMs. The Pacific jet varies significantly between modeling groups, with large biases in the vicinity of the jet exit region that cancel in the ensemble mean. After seeking relationships between twentieth-century model wind biases and 1) the internal modes of jet variability or 2) tropical sea surface temperatures (SSTs), it is found that biases in upper-level winds are strongly related to an ENSO-like pattern in winter-mean tropical Pacific Ocean SST biases. The spatial structure of the leading modes of variability of the upper-level jet in the twentieth century is found to be accurately modeled in all 17 GCMs. Also, it is shown that Pacific model biases in the longitude of EOFs 1 and 2 are strongly linked to the modeled longitude of the Pacific jet exit, indicating that the improved characterization of the mean state of the Pacific jet may positively impact the modeled variability. This work suggests that improvements in model portrayal of the tropical Pacific mean state may significantly advance the portrayal of the mean state of the Pacific and Atlantic jets, which will consequently improve the modeled jet stream variability in the Pacific. To complement these findings, a companion paper examines the twenty-first-century GCM projections of the nonzonally averaged NH jet streams.

Corresponding author address: Sharon C. Delcambre, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin—Madison, 1225 W. Dayton St., Madison, WI 53706. E-mail: scjaffe@uwalumni.com
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