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Grant Branstator
,
Haiyan Teng
,
Gerald A. Meehl
,
Masahide Kimoto
,
Jeff R. Knight
,
Mojib Latif
, and
A. Rosati

Abstract

Initial-value predictability measures the degree to which the initial state can influence predictions. In this paper, the initial-value predictability of six atmosphere–ocean general circulation models in the North Pacific and North Atlantic is quantified and contrasted by analyzing long control integrations with time invariant external conditions. Through the application of analog and multivariate linear regression methodologies, average predictability properties are estimated for forecasts initiated from every state on the control trajectories. For basinwide measures of predictability, the influence of the initial state tends to last for roughly a decade in both basins, but this limit varies widely among the models, especially in the North Atlantic. Within each basin, predictability varies regionally by as much as a factor of 10 for a given model, and the locations of highest predictability are different for each model. Model-to-model variations in predictability are also seen in the behavior of prominent intrinsic basin modes. Predictability is primarily determined by the mean of forecast distributions rather than the spread about the mean. Horizontal propagation plays a large role in the evolution of these signals and is therefore a key factor in differentiating the predictability of the various models.

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Shang-Ping Xie
,
Clara Deser
,
Gabriel A. Vecchi
,
Jian Ma
,
Haiyan Teng
, and
Andrew T. Wittenberg

Abstract

Spatial variations in sea surface temperature (SST) and rainfall changes over the tropics are investigated based on ensemble simulations for the first half of the twenty-first century under the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission scenario A1B with coupled ocean–atmosphere general circulation models of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) and National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Despite a GHG increase that is nearly uniform in space, pronounced patterns emerge in both SST and precipitation. Regional differences in SST warming can be as large as the tropical-mean warming. Specifically, the tropical Pacific warming features a conspicuous maximum along the equator and a minimum in the southeast subtropics. The former is associated with westerly wind anomalies whereas the latter is linked to intensified southeast trade winds, suggestive of wind–evaporation–SST feedback. There is a tendency for a greater warming in the northern subtropics than in the southern subtropics in accordance with asymmetries in trade wind changes. Over the equatorial Indian Ocean, surface wind anomalies are easterly, the thermocline shoals, and the warming is reduced in the east, indicative of Bjerknes feedback. In the midlatitudes, ocean circulation changes generate narrow banded structures in SST warming. The warming is negatively correlated with wind speed change over the tropics and positively correlated with ocean heat transport change in the northern extratropics. A diagnostic method based on the ocean mixed layer heat budget is developed to investigate mechanisms for SST pattern formation.

Tropical precipitation changes are positively correlated with spatial deviations of SST warming from the tropical mean. In particular, the equatorial maximum in SST warming over the Pacific anchors a band of pronounced rainfall increase. The gross moist instability follows closely relative SST change as equatorial wave adjustments flatten upper-tropospheric warming. The comparison with atmospheric simulations in response to a spatially uniform SST warming illustrates the importance of SST patterns for rainfall change, an effect overlooked in current discussion of precipitation response to global warming. Implications for the global and regional response of tropical cyclones are discussed.

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Laura Landrum
,
Bette L. Otto-Bliesner
,
Eugene R. Wahl
,
Andrew Conley
,
Peter J. Lawrence
,
Nan Rosenbloom
, and
Haiyan Teng

Abstract

An overview of a simulation referred to as the “Last Millennium” (LM) simulation of the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4), is presented. The CCSM4 LM simulation reproduces many large-scale climate patterns suggested by historical and proxy-data records, with Northern Hemisphere (NH) and Southern Hemisphere (SH) surface temperatures cooling to the early 1800s Common Era by ~0.5°C (NH) and ~0.3°C (SH), followed by warming to the present. High latitudes of both hemispheres show polar amplification of the cooling from the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) to the Little Ice Age (LIA) associated with sea ice increases. The LM simulation does not reproduce La Niña–like cooling in the eastern Pacific Ocean during the MCA relative to the LIA, as has been suggested by proxy reconstructions. Still, dry medieval conditions over the southwestern and central United States are simulated in agreement with proxy indicators for these regions. Strong global cooling is associated with large volcanic eruptions, with indications of multidecadal colder climate in response to larger eruptions. The CCSM4’s response to large volcanic eruptions captures some reconstructed patterns of temperature changes over Europe and North America, but not those of precipitation in the Asian monsoon region. The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) has higher variance at centennial periods in the LM simulation compared to the 1850 nontransient run, suggesting a long-term Atlantic Ocean response to natural forcings. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO), and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability modes show little or no change. CCSM4 does not simulate a persistent positive NAO or a prolonged period of negative PDO during the MCA, as suggested by some proxy reconstructions.

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Gerald A. Meehl
,
Warren M. Washington
,
Julie M. Arblaster
,
Aixue Hu
,
Haiyan Teng
,
Jennifer E. Kay
,
Andrew Gettelman
,
David M. Lawrence
,
Benjamin M. Sanderson
, and
Warren G. Strand

Abstract

Future climate change projections for phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) are presented for the Community Earth System Model version 1 that includes the Community Atmospheric Model version 5 [CESM1(CAM5)]. These results are compared to the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) and include simulations using the representative concentration pathway (RCP) mitigation scenarios, and extensions for those scenarios beyond 2100 to 2300. Equilibrium climate sensitivity of CESM1(CAM5) is 4.10°C, which is higher than the CCSM4 value of 3.20°C. The transient climate response is 2.33°C, compared to the CCSM4 value of 1.73°C. Thus, even though CESM1(CAM5) includes both the direct and indirect effects of aerosols (CCSM4 had only the direct effect), the overall climate system response including forcing and feedbacks is greater in CESM1(CAM5) compared to CCSM4. The Atlantic Ocean meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) in CESM1(CAM5) weakens considerably in the twenty-first century in all the RCP scenarios, and recovers more slowly in the lower forcing scenarios. The total aerosol optical depth (AOD) changes from ~0.12 in 2006 to ~0.10 in 2100, compared to a preindustrial 1850 value of 0.08, so there is less negative forcing (a net positive forcing) from that source during the twenty-first century. Consequently, the change from 2006 to 2100 in aerosol direct forcing in CESM1(CAM5) contributes to greater twenty-first century warming relative to CCSM4. There is greater Arctic warming and sea ice loss in CESM1(CAM5), with an ice-free summer Arctic occurring by about 2060 in RCP8.5 (2040s in September) as opposed to about 2100 in CCSM4 (2060s in September).

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Gerald A. Meehl
,
Warren M. Washington
,
Benjamin D. Santer
,
William D. Collins
,
Julie M. Arblaster
,
Aixue Hu
,
David M. Lawrence
,
Haiyan Teng
,
Lawrence E. Buja
, and
Warren G. Strand

Abstract

Climate change scenario simulations with the Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3), a global coupled climate model, show that if concentrations of all greenhouse gases (GHGs) could have been stabilized at the year 2000, the climate system would already be committed to 0.4°C more warming by the end of the twenty-first century. Committed sea level rise by 2100 is about an order of magnitude more, percentage-wise, compared to sea level rise simulated in the twentieth century. This increase in the model is produced only by thermal expansion of seawater, and does not take into account melt from ice sheets and glaciers, which could at least double that number. Several tenths of a degree of additional warming occurs in the model for the next 200 yr in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) B1 and A1B scenarios after stabilization in the year 2100, but with twice as much sea level rise after 100 yr, and doubling yet again in the next 100 yr to 2300. At the end of the twenty-first century, the warming in the tropical Pacific for the A2, A1B, and B1 scenarios resembles an El Niño–like response, likely due to cloud feedbacks in the model as shown in an earlier version. Greatest warming occurs at high northern latitudes and over continents. The monsoon regimes intensify somewhat in the future warmer climate, with decreases of sea level pressure at high latitudes and increases in the subtropics and parts of the midlatitudes. There is a weak summer midlatitude soil moisture drying in this model as documented in previous models. Sea ice distributions in both hemispheres are somewhat overextensive, but with about the right ice thickness at the end of the twentieth century. Future decreases in sea ice with global warming are proportional to the temperature response from the forcing scenarios, with the high forcing scenario, A2, producing an ice-free Arctic in summer by the year 2100.

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Gerald A. Meehl
,
Warren M. Washington
,
Julie M. Arblaster
,
Aixue Hu
,
Haiyan Teng
,
Claudia Tebaldi
,
Benjamin N. Sanderson
,
Jean-Francois Lamarque
,
Andrew Conley
,
Warren G. Strand
, and
James B. White III

Abstract

Results are presented from experiments performed with the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) for the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5). These include multiple ensemble members of twentieth-century climate with anthropogenic and natural forcings as well as single-forcing runs, sensitivity experiments with sulfate aerosol forcing, twenty-first-century representative concentration pathway (RCP) mitigation scenarios, and extensions for those scenarios beyond 2100–2300. Equilibrium climate sensitivity of CCSM4 is 3.20°C, and the transient climate response is 1.73°C. Global surface temperatures averaged for the last 20 years of the twenty-first century compared to the 1986–2005 reference period for six-member ensembles from CCSM4 are +0.85°, +1.64°, +2.09°, and +3.53°C for RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0, and RCP8.5, respectively. The ocean meridional overturning circulation (MOC) in the Atlantic, which weakens during the twentieth century in the model, nearly recovers to early twentieth-century values in RCP2.6, partially recovers in RCP4.5 and RCP6, and does not recover by 2100 in RCP8.5. Heat wave intensity is projected to increase almost everywhere in CCSM4 in a future warmer climate, with the magnitude of the increase proportional to the forcing. Precipitation intensity is also projected to increase, with dry days increasing in most subtropical areas. For future climate, there is almost no summer sea ice left in the Arctic in the high RCP8.5 scenario by 2100, but in the low RCP2.6 scenario there is substantial sea ice remaining in summer at the end of the century.

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Gerald A. Meehl
,
Lisa Goddard
,
George Boer
,
Robert Burgman
,
Grant Branstator
,
Christophe Cassou
,
Susanna Corti
,
Gokhan Danabasoglu
,
Francisco Doblas-Reyes
,
Ed Hawkins
,
Alicia Karspeck
,
Masahide Kimoto
,
Arun Kumar
,
Daniela Matei
,
Juliette Mignot
,
Rym Msadek
,
Antonio Navarra
,
Holger Pohlmann
,
Michele Rienecker
,
Tony Rosati
,
Edwin Schneider
,
Doug Smith
,
Rowan Sutton
,
Haiyan Teng
,
Geert Jan van Oldenborgh
,
Gabriel Vecchi
, and
Stephen Yeager

This paper provides an update on research in the relatively new and fast-moving field of decadal climate prediction, and addresses the use of decadal climate predictions not only for potential users of such information but also for improving our understanding of processes in the climate system. External forcing influences the predictions throughout, but their contributions to predictive skill become dominant after most of the improved skill from initialization with observations vanishes after about 6–9 years. Recent multimodel results suggest that there is relatively more decadal predictive skill in the North Atlantic, western Pacific, and Indian Oceans than in other regions of the world oceans. Aspects of decadal variability of SSTs, like the mid-1970s shift in the Pacific, the mid-1990s shift in the northern North Atlantic and western Pacific, and the early-2000s hiatus, are better represented in initialized hindcasts compared to uninitialized simulations. There is evidence of higher skill in initialized multimodel ensemble decadal hindcasts than in single model results, with multimodel initialized predictions for near-term climate showing somewhat less global warming than uninitialized simulations. Some decadal hindcasts have shown statistically reliable predictions of surface temperature over various land and ocean regions for lead times of up to 6–9 years, but this needs to be investigated in a wider set of models. As in the early days of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) prediction, improvements to models will reduce the need for bias adjustment, and increase the reliability, and thus usefulness, of decadal climate predictions in the future.

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