GFDL'S Coupled Model-3 (CM3): Dynamics, Physical Parameterizations, and Simulations

Description:

The Collection describes the formulation and basic simulation characteristics of CM3, a GFDL coupled model (ocean, atmosphere, sea ice, dynamic vegetation, atmospheric chemistry) for climate studies. The Collection consists of three papers. Donner et al. focus on the atmosphere in CM3, describing its dynamical core and physical parameterizations. Diagnostics for time-mean fields and some aspects of transient variability are presented to demonstrate the behavior of the model in both coupled ocean0atmosphere and atmosphere-only modes. Griffies et al. describe the ocean and sea ice in CM3. A novel aspect of CM3 is its treatment of cloud-aerosol interactions using physically based methods. Golaz et al. discuss the macrophysical and microphysical aspects of cloud-aerosol interactions in CM3 and the ways in which their parameterization controls the modeled effect on climate of cloud-aerosol interactions.

Collection coordinator:
Leo J. Donner, NOAA/GFDL, Princeton, New Jersey

GFDL'S Coupled Model-3 (CM3): Dynamics, Physical Parameterizations, and Simulations

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John Austin, Larry W. Horowitz, M. Daniel Schwarzkopf, R. John Wilson, and Hiram Levy II

Abstract

Results from the simulation of a coupled chemistry–climate model are presented for the period 1860 to 2005 using the observed greenhouse gas (GHG) and halocarbon concentrations. The model is coupled to a simulated ocean and uniquely includes both detailed tropospheric chemistry and detailed middle atmosphere chemistry, seamlessly from the surface to the model top layer centered at 0.02 hPa. It is found that there are only minor changes in simulated stratospheric temperature and ozone prior to the year 1960. As the halocarbon amounts increase after 1970, the model stratospheric ozone decreases approximately continuously until about 2000. The steadily increasing GHG concentrations cool the stratosphere from the beginning of the twentieth century at a rate that increases with height. During the early period the cooling leads to increased stratospheric ozone. The model results show a strong, albeit temporary, response to volcanic eruptions. While chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) concentrations remain low, the effect of eruptions is shown to increase the amount of HNO3, reducing ozone destruction by the NOx catalytic cycle. In the presence of anthropogenic chlorine, after the eruption of El Chichón and Mt. Pinatubo, chlorine radicals increased and the chlorine reservoirs decreased. The net volcanic effect on nitrogen and chlorine chemistry depends on altitude and, for these two volcanoes, leads to an ozone increase in the middle stratosphere and a decrease in the lower stratosphere. Model lower-stratospheric temperatures are also shown to increase during the last three major volcanic eruptions, by about 0.6 K in the global and annual average, consistent with observations.

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Leo J. Donner, Bruce L. Wyman, Richard S. Hemler, Larry W. Horowitz, Yi Ming, Ming Zhao, Jean-Christophe Golaz, Paul Ginoux, S.-J. Lin, M. Daniel Schwarzkopf, John Austin, Ghassan Alaka, William F. Cooke, Thomas L. Delworth, Stuart M. Freidenreich, C. T. Gordon, Stephen M. Griffies, Isaac M. Held, William J. Hurlin, Stephen A. Klein, Thomas R. Knutson, Amy R. Langenhorst, Hyun-Chul Lee, Yanluan Lin, Brian I. Magi, Sergey L. Malyshev, P. C. D. Milly, Vaishali Naik, Mary J. Nath, Robert Pincus, Jeffrey J. Ploshay, V. Ramaswamy, Charles J. Seman, Elena Shevliakova, Joseph J. Sirutis, William F. Stern, Ronald J. Stouffer, R. John Wilson, Michael Winton, Andrew T. Wittenberg, and Fanrong Zeng

Abstract

The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) has developed a coupled general circulation model (CM3) for the atmosphere, oceans, land, and sea ice. The goal of CM3 is to address emerging issues in climate change, including aerosol–cloud interactions, chemistry–climate interactions, and coupling between the troposphere and stratosphere. The model is also designed to serve as the physical system component of earth system models and models for decadal prediction in the near-term future—for example, through improved simulations in tropical land precipitation relative to earlier-generation GFDL models. This paper describes the dynamical core, physical parameterizations, and basic simulation characteristics of the atmospheric component (AM3) of this model. Relative to GFDL AM2, AM3 includes new treatments of deep and shallow cumulus convection, cloud droplet activation by aerosols, subgrid variability of stratiform vertical velocities for droplet activation, and atmospheric chemistry driven by emissions with advective, convective, and turbulent transport. AM3 employs a cubed-sphere implementation of a finite-volume dynamical core and is coupled to LM3, a new land model with ecosystem dynamics and hydrology. Its horizontal resolution is approximately 200 km, and its vertical resolution ranges approximately from 70 m near the earth’s surface to 1 to 1.5 km near the tropopause and 3 to 4 km in much of the stratosphere. Most basic circulation features in AM3 are simulated as realistically, or more so, as in AM2. In particular, dry biases have been reduced over South America. In coupled mode, the simulation of Arctic sea ice concentration has improved. AM3 aerosol optical depths, scattering properties, and surface clear-sky downward shortwave radiation are more realistic than in AM2. The simulation of marine stratocumulus decks remains problematic, as in AM2. The most intense 0.2% of precipitation rates occur less frequently in AM3 than observed. The last two decades of the twentieth century warm in CM3 by 0.32°C relative to 1881–1920. The Climate Research Unit (CRU) and Goddard Institute for Space Studies analyses of observations show warming of 0.56° and 0.52°C, respectively, over this period. CM3 includes anthropogenic cooling by aerosol–cloud interactions, and its warming by the late twentieth century is somewhat less realistic than in CM2.1, which warmed 0.66°C but did not include aerosol–cloud interactions. The improved simulation of the direct aerosol effect (apparent in surface clear-sky downward radiation) in CM3 evidently acts in concert with its simulation of cloud–aerosol interactions to limit greenhouse gas warming.

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Stephen M. Griffies, Michael Winton, Leo J. Donner, Larry W. Horowitz, Stephanie M. Downes, Riccardo Farneti, Anand Gnanadesikan, William J. Hurlin, Hyun-Chul Lee, Zhi Liang, Jaime B. Palter, Bonita L. Samuels, Andrew T. Wittenberg, Bruce L. Wyman, Jianjun Yin, and Niki Zadeh

Abstract

This paper documents time mean simulation characteristics from the ocean and sea ice components in a new coupled climate model developed at the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL). The GFDL Climate Model version 3 (CM3) is formulated with effectively the same ocean and sea ice components as the earlier CM2.1 yet with extensive developments made to the atmosphere and land model components. Both CM2.1 and CM3 show stable mean climate indices, such as large-scale circulation and sea surface temperatures (SSTs). There are notable improvements in the CM3 climate simulation relative to CM2.1, including a modified SST bias pattern and reduced biases in the Arctic sea ice cover. The authors anticipate SST differences between CM2.1 and CM3 in lower latitudes through analysis of the atmospheric fluxes at the ocean surface in corresponding Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) simulations. In contrast, SST changes in the high latitudes are dominated by ocean and sea ice effects absent in AMIP simulations. The ocean interior simulation in CM3 is generally warmer than in CM2.1, which adversely impacts the interior biases.

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Jean-Christophe Golaz, Marc Salzmann, Leo J. Donner, Larry W. Horowitz, Yi Ming, and Ming Zhao

Abstract

The recently developed GFDL Atmospheric Model version 3 (AM3), an atmospheric general circulation model (GCM), incorporates a prognostic treatment of cloud drop number to simulate the aerosol indirect effect. Since cloud drop activation depends on cloud-scale vertical velocities, which are not reproduced in present-day GCMs, additional assumptions on the subgrid variability are required to implement a local activation parameterization into a GCM.

This paper describes the subgrid activation assumptions in AM3 and explores sensitivities by constructing alternate configurations. These alternate model configurations exhibit only small differences in their present-day climatology. However, the total anthropogenic radiative flux perturbation (RFP) between present-day and preindustrial conditions varies by ±50% from the reference, because of a large difference in the magnitude of the aerosol indirect effect. The spread in RFP does not originate directly from the subgrid assumptions but indirectly through the cloud retuning necessary to maintain a realistic radiation balance. In particular, the paper shows a linear correlation between the choice of autoconversion threshold radius and the RFP.

Climate sensitivity changes only minimally between the reference and alternate configurations. If implemented in a fully coupled model, these alternate configurations would therefore likely produce substantially different warming from preindustrial to present day.

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