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Atlantic Warm Pool Variability in the CMIP5 Simulations

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  • 1 Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, University of Miami, and Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, NOAA, Miami, Florida
  • 2 Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, NOAA, Miami, Florida
  • 3 Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, University of Miami, and Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, NOAA, Miami, Florida
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Abstract

This study investigates Atlantic warm pool (AWP) variability in the historical run of 19 coupled general circulation models (CGCMs) submitted to phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). As with the CGCMs in phase 3 (CMIP3), most models suffer from the cold SST bias in the AWP region and also show very weak AWP variability as represented by the AWP area index. However, for the seasonal cycle the AWP SST bias of model ensemble and model sensitivities are decreased compared with CMIP3, indicating that the CGCMs are improved. The origin of the cold SST bias in the AWP region remains unknown, but among the CGCMs in CMIP5 excess (insufficient) high-level cloud simulation decreases (enhances) the cold SST bias in the AWP region through the warming effect of the high-level cloud radiative forcing. Thus, the AWP SST bias in CMIP5 is more modulated by an erroneous radiation balance due to misrepresentation of high-level clouds rather than low-level clouds as in CMIP3. AWP variability is assessed as in the authors' previous study in the aspects of spectral analysis, interannual variability, multidecadal variability, and comparison of the remote connections with ENSO and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) against observations. In observations the maximum influences of the NAO and ENSO on the AWP take place in boreal spring. For some CGCMs these influences erroneously last to late summer. The effect of this overestimated remote forcing can be seen in the variability statistics as shown in the rotated EOF patterns from the models. It is concluded that the NCAR Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4), the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Model E, version 2, coupled with the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) ocean model (GISS-E2H), and the GISS Model E, version 2, coupled with the Russell ocean model (GISS-E2R) are the best three models of CMIP5 in simulating AWP variability.

Corresponding author address: Hailong Liu, RSMAS/CIMAS, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149. E-mail: hailong.liu@noaa.gov

This article is included in the North American Climate in CMIP5 Experiments special collection.

Abstract

This study investigates Atlantic warm pool (AWP) variability in the historical run of 19 coupled general circulation models (CGCMs) submitted to phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). As with the CGCMs in phase 3 (CMIP3), most models suffer from the cold SST bias in the AWP region and also show very weak AWP variability as represented by the AWP area index. However, for the seasonal cycle the AWP SST bias of model ensemble and model sensitivities are decreased compared with CMIP3, indicating that the CGCMs are improved. The origin of the cold SST bias in the AWP region remains unknown, but among the CGCMs in CMIP5 excess (insufficient) high-level cloud simulation decreases (enhances) the cold SST bias in the AWP region through the warming effect of the high-level cloud radiative forcing. Thus, the AWP SST bias in CMIP5 is more modulated by an erroneous radiation balance due to misrepresentation of high-level clouds rather than low-level clouds as in CMIP3. AWP variability is assessed as in the authors' previous study in the aspects of spectral analysis, interannual variability, multidecadal variability, and comparison of the remote connections with ENSO and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) against observations. In observations the maximum influences of the NAO and ENSO on the AWP take place in boreal spring. For some CGCMs these influences erroneously last to late summer. The effect of this overestimated remote forcing can be seen in the variability statistics as shown in the rotated EOF patterns from the models. It is concluded that the NCAR Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4), the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Model E, version 2, coupled with the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) ocean model (GISS-E2H), and the GISS Model E, version 2, coupled with the Russell ocean model (GISS-E2R) are the best three models of CMIP5 in simulating AWP variability.

Corresponding author address: Hailong Liu, RSMAS/CIMAS, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149. E-mail: hailong.liu@noaa.gov

This article is included in the North American Climate in CMIP5 Experiments special collection.

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