To significantly improve the simulation of climate by general circulation models (GCMs), systematic errors in representations of relevant processes must first be identified, and then reduced. This endeavor demands that the GCM parameterizations of unresolved processes, in particular, should be tested over a wide range of time scales, not just in climate simulations. Thus, a numerical weather prediction (NWP) methodology for evaluating model parameterizations and gaining insights into their behavior may prove useful, provided that suitable adaptations are made for implementation in climate GCMs. This method entails the generation of short-range weather forecasts by a realistically initialized climate GCM, and the application of six hourly NWP analyses and observations of parameterized variables to evaluate these forecasts. The behavior of the parameterizations in such a weather-forecasting framework can provide insights on how these schemes might be improved, and modified parameterizations then can be tested in the same framework.
To further this method for evaluating and analyzing parameterizations in climate GCMs, the U.S. Department of Energy is funding a joint venture of its Climate Change Prediction Program (CCPP) and Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program: the CCPP-ARM Parameterization Testbed (CAPT). This article elaborates the scientific rationale for CAPT, discusses technical aspects of its methodology, and presents examples of its implementation in a representative climate GCM.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California
National Center for Atmospheric Research,* Boulder, Colorado
*The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation