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Johanna Baehr
,
Helmuth Haak
,
Steven Alderson
,
Stuart A. Cunningham
,
Johann H. Jungclaus
, and
Jochem Marotzke

Abstract

It is investigated how changes in the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC) might be reliably detected within a few decades, using the observations provided by the RAPID-MOC 26°N array. Previously, detectability of MOC changes had been investigated with a univariate MOC time series exhibiting strong internal variability, which would prohibit the detection of MOC changes within a few decades. Here, a modification of K. Hasselmann’s fingerprint technique is used: (simulated) observations are projected onto a time-independent spatial pattern of natural variability to derive a time-dependent detection variable. The fixed spatial pattern of natural variability is derived by regressing the zonal density gradient along 26°N against the strength of the MOC at 26°N within the coupled ECHAM5/Max Planck Institute Ocean Model’s (MPI-OM) control climate simulation. This pattern is confirmed against the observed anomalies found between the 1957 and the 2004 hydrographic occupations of the section. Onto this fixed spatial pattern of natural variability, both the existing hydrographic observations and simulated observations mimicking the RAPID-MOC 26°N array in three realizations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenario A1B are projected. For a random observation error of 0.01 kg m−3, and only using zonal density gradients between 1700- and 3100-m depth, statistically significant detection occurs with 95% reliability after about 30 yr, in the model and climate change scenario analyzed here. Compared to using a single MOC time series as the detection variable, continuous observations of zonal density gradients reduce the detection time by 50%. For the five hydrographic occupations of the 26°N transect, none of the analyzed depth ranges shows a significant trend between 1957 and 2004, implying that there was no MOC trend over the past 50 yr.

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Daniela Matei
,
Holger Pohlmann
,
Johann Jungclaus
,
Wolfgang Müller
,
Helmuth Haak
, and
Jochem Marotzke

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of different ocean initialization strategies on the forecast skill of decadal prediction experiments performed with the ECHAM5/Max Planck Institute Ocean Model (MPI-OM) coupled model. The ocean initializations assimilate three-dimensional temperature and salinity anomalies from two different ocean state estimates, the ocean reanalysis of the German contribution to Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean (GECCO) and an ensemble of MPI-OM ocean experiments forced with the NCEP–NCAR atmospheric reanalysis. The results show that North Atlantic and Mediterranean sea surface temperature (SST) variations can be skillfully predicted up to a decade ahead and with greater skill than by both uninitialized simulations and persistence forecasts. The regional distribution of SST predictive skill is similar in both initialization approaches; however, higher skill is found for the NCEP hindcasts than for the GECCO hindcasts when a combination of predictive skill measures is used. Skillful predictions of surface air temperature are obtained over northwestern Europe, northern Africa, and central-eastern Asia. The North Atlantic subpolar gyre region stands out as the region with the highest predictive skill beyond the warming trend, in both SST and upper-ocean heat-content predictions. Here the NCEP hindcasts deliver the best results due to a more accurate initialization of the observed variability. The dominant mechanism for North Atlantic climate predictability is of dynamical origin and can be attributed to the initialization of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, thus explaining the reoccurrence of high predictive skill within the second pentad of the hindcasts experiments. The results herein demonstrate that ocean experiments forced with the observed history of the atmospheric state constitute a simple but successful alternative strategy for the initialization of skillful climate predictions over the next decade.

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Andrew J. Weaver
,
Jochem Marotzke
,
Patrick F. Cummins
, and
E. S. Sarachik

Abstract

The stability and internal variability of the ocean's thermohaline circulation is investigated using a coarse-resolution general circulation model of an idealized ocean basin, in one hemisphere. The model circulation is driven, in addition to wind forcing, by restoring the surface temperature to prescribed values, and by specifying freshwater fluxes in the surface salinity budget (mixed boundary conditions). All forcing functions are constant in time.

The surface freshwater forcing is the dominant factor in determining the model's stability and internal variability. Increasing the relative importance of freshwater flux versus thermal forcing, in turn, one stable steady state of the model, two stable ones, one stable, and one unstable equilibrium, or no stable steady states at all are found. If the freshwater forcing is sufficiently strong, self-sustained oscillations exist in the deep-water formation rate, which last thousands of years. One type of oscillation occurs on the time scale of decades and is associated with the advection of high-latitude salinity anomalies. The other type has a diffusive time scale of centuries or longer and marks periods of complete absence of deep-water formation followed by violent overturning events (flushes).

When a stochastic component is added to the steady freshwater flux forcing, internal decadal variability persists if the background steady freshwater flux is sufficiently strong. Periodic flushes also exist under stochastic forcing; with increasing magnitude of the stochastic term the frequency of the flush events increases while their intensity decreases.

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Matthew D. Palmer
,
Alberto C. Naveira Garabato
,
John D. Stark
,
Joël J-M. Hirschi
, and
Jochem Marotzke

Abstract

A regional general circulation model (GCM) of the Indian Ocean is used to investigate the influence of prescribed diapycnal diffusivity (Kd ) on quasi-steady states of the meridional overturning circulation (MOC). The model has open boundaries at 35°S and 123°E where velocity, temperature, and salinity are prescribed at each time step. The results suggest that quasi-steady overturning states in the Indian Ocean are reached on centennial time scales. The size and structure of the MOC are controlled by the distribution of Kd and the southern boundary conditions. The distribution of Kd required to support an overturning circulation in the model interior of a magnitude equal to that prescribed at the southern boundary is estimated using a 1D advection–diffusion balance in isopycnal layers. Implementing this approach, 70%–90% of the prescribed deep inflow can be supported in quasi-steady state. Thus one is able to address the systematic discrepancy between past estimates of the deep MOC based on hydrographic sections and those based on GCM results. However, the Kd values required to support a substantial MOC in the model are much larger than current observation-based estimates, particularly for the upper 3000 m. The two estimates of the flow field near 32°S used to force the southern boundary imply a highly nonuniform distribution of Kd , as do recent estimates of Kd based on hydrographic observations. This work highlights the need to improve and implement realistic estimates of (nonuniform) Kd in ocean and coupled ocean–atmosphere GCMs when investigating quasi-equilibrium model states.

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Jin-Song von Storch
,
Carsten Eden
,
Irina Fast
,
Helmuth Haak
,
Daniel Hernández-Deckers
,
Ernst Maier-Reimer
,
Jochem Marotzke
, and
Detlef Stammer

Abstract

This paper presents an estimate of the oceanic Lorenz energy cycle derived from a simulation forced by 6-hourly fluxes obtained from NCEP–NCAR reanalysis-1. The total rate of energy generation amounts to 6.6 TW, of which 1.9 TW is generated by the time-mean winds and 2.2 TW by the time-varying winds. The dissipation of kinetic energy amounts to 4.4 TW, of which 3 TW originate from the dissipation of eddy kinetic energy. The energy exchange between reservoirs is dominated by the baroclinic pathway and the pathway that distributes the energy generated by the time-mean winds. The former converts 0.7 to 0.8 TW mean available potential energy to eddy available potential energy and finally to eddy kinetic energy, whereas the latter converts 0.5 TW mean kinetic energy to mean available potential energy.

This energy cycle differs from the atmospheric one in two aspects. First, the generation of the mean kinetic and mean available potential energy is each, to a first approximation, balanced by the dissipation. The interaction of the oceanic general circulation with mesoscale eddies is hence less crucial than the corresponding interaction in the atmosphere. Second, the baroclinic pathway in the ocean is facilitated not only by the surface buoyancy flux but also by the winds through a conversion of 0.5 TW mean kinetic energy to mean available potential energy. In the atmosphere, the respective conversion is almost absent and the baroclinic energy pathway is driven solely by the differential heating.

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Jochem Marotzke
,
Wolfgang A. Müller
,
Freja S. E. Vamborg
,
Paul Becker
,
Ulrich Cubasch
,
Hendrik Feldmann
,
Frank Kaspar
,
Christoph Kottmeier
,
Camille Marini
,
Iuliia Polkova
,
Kerstin Prömmel
,
Henning W. Rust
,
Detlef Stammer
,
Uwe Ulbrich
,
Christopher Kadow
,
Armin Köhl
,
Jürgen Kröger
,
Tim Kruschke
,
Joaquim G. Pinto
,
Holger Pohlmann
,
Mark Reyers
,
Marc Schröder
,
Frank Sienz
,
Claudia Timmreck
, and
Markus Ziese

Abstract

Mittelfristige Klimaprognose (MiKlip), an 8-yr German national research project on decadal climate prediction, is organized around a global prediction system comprising the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model (MPI-ESM) together with an initialization procedure and a model evaluation system. This paper summarizes the lessons learned from MiKlip so far; some are purely scientific, others concern strategies and structures of research that target future operational use.

Three prediction system generations have been constructed, characterized by alternative initialization strategies; the later generations show a marked improvement in hindcast skill for surface temperature. Hindcast skill is also identified for multiyear-mean European summer surface temperatures, extratropical cyclone tracks, the quasi-biennial oscillation, and ocean carbon uptake, among others. Regionalization maintains or slightly enhances the skill in European surface temperature inherited from the global model and also displays hindcast skill for wind energy output. A new volcano code package permits rapid modification of the predictions in response to a future eruption.

MiKlip has demonstrated the efficacy of subjecting a single global prediction system to a major research effort. The benefits of this strategy include the rapid cycling through the prediction system generations, the development of a sophisticated evaluation package usable by all MiKlip researchers, and regional applications of the global predictions. Open research questions include the optimal balance between model resolution and ensemble size, the appropriate method for constructing a prediction ensemble, and the decision between full-field and anomaly initialization.

Operational use of the MiKlip system is targeted for the end of the current decade, with a recommended generational cycle of 2–3 years.

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Melvyn Shapiro
,
Jagadish Shukla
,
Gilbert Brunet
,
Carlos Nobre
,
Michel Béland
,
Randall Dole
,
Kevin Trenberth
,
Richard Anthes
,
Ghassem Asrar
,
Leonard Barrie
,
Philippe Bougeault
,
Guy Brasseur
,
David Burridge
,
Antonio Busalacchi
,
Jim Caughey
,
Deliang Chen
,
John Church
,
Takeshi Enomoto
,
Brian Hoskins
,
Øystein Hov
,
Arlene Laing
,
Hervé Le Treut
,
Jochem Marotzke
,
Gordon McBean
,
Gerald Meehl
,
Martin Miller
,
Brian Mills
,
John Mitchell
,
Mitchell Moncrieff
,
Tetsuo Nakazawa
,
Haraldur Olafsson
,
Tim Palmer
,
David Parsons
,
David Rogers
,
Adrian Simmons
,
Alberto Troccoli
,
Zoltan Toth
,
Louis Uccellini
,
Christopher Velden
, and
John M. Wallace

The necessity and benefits for establishing the international Earth-system Prediction Initiative (EPI) are discussed by scientists associated with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) World Weather Research Programme (WWRP), World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), International Geosphere–Biosphere Programme (IGBP), Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), and natural-hazards and socioeconomic communities. The proposed initiative will provide research and services to accelerate advances in weather, climate, and Earth system prediction and the use of this information by global societies. It will build upon the WMO, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and the International Council for Science (ICSU) to coordinate the effort across the weather, climate, Earth system, natural-hazards, and socioeconomic disciplines. It will require (i) advanced high-performance computing facilities, supporting a worldwide network of research and operational modeling centers, and early warning systems; (ii) science, technology, and education projects to enhance knowledge, awareness, and utilization of weather, climate, environmental, and socioeconomic information; (iii) investments in maintaining existing and developing new observational capabilities; and (iv) infrastructure to transition achievements into operational products and services.

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