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Ngar-Cheung Lau and Jeffrey J. Ploshay

Abstract

The impacts of climate change on the North America–North Atlantic–Europe sector are studied using a coupled general circulation model: the Climate Model, version 3 (CM3) and a high-resolution atmosphere-only model, the High Resolution Atmospheric Model (HiRAM)—both developed at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. The CM3 experiment is conducted under two climate change scenarios for the 1860–2100 period. The sea surface temperature (SST) forcing prescribed in the “time slice” integrations with HiRAM is derived from observations for the 1979–2008 period and projection by CM3 for the 2086–95 period.

The wintertime response in the late twenty-first century is characterized by an enhancement of the positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation in sea level pressure (SLP) and poleward and eastward displacements of the Atlantic jet stream and storm track. The forcing pattern due to eddy vorticity fluxes in the perturbed storm track matches well with the response pattern of the SLP field in the late twenty-first century. The model results suggest that the above circulation changes are linked to the gradient of the altered SST forcing in the North Atlantic.

In summer, the projected enhancement of convection over the eastern tropical Pacific is accompanied by a wave train spanning the North America–North Atlantic–Europe sector. This quasi-stationary circulation pattern is associated with diminished storm track activity at 40°–50°N and an eddy forcing pattern similar to the summertime SLP response in the late twenty-first century.

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Andrew T. Wittenberg, Anthony Rosati, Ngar-Cheung Lau, and Jeffrey J. Ploshay

Abstract

Multicentury integrations from two global coupled ocean–atmosphere–land–ice models [Climate Model versions 2.0 (CM2.0) and 2.1 (CM2.1), developed at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory] are described in terms of their tropical Pacific climate and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The integrations are run without flux adjustments and provide generally realistic simulations of tropical Pacific climate. The observed annual-mean trade winds and precipitation, sea surface temperature, surface heat fluxes, surface currents, Equatorial Undercurrent, and subsurface thermal structure are well captured by the models. Some biases are evident, including a cold SST bias along the equator, a warm bias along the coast of South America, and a westward extension of the trade winds relative to observations. Along the equator, the models exhibit a robust, westward-propagating annual cycle of SST and zonal winds. During boreal spring, excessive rainfall south of the equator is linked to an unrealistic reversal of the simulated meridional winds in the east, and a stronger-than-observed semiannual signal is evident in the zonal winds and Equatorial Undercurrent.

Both CM2.0 and CM2.1 have a robust ENSO with multidecadal fluctuations in amplitude, an irregular period between 2 and 5 yr, and a distribution of SST anomalies that is skewed toward warm events as observed. The evolution of subsurface temperature and current anomalies is also quite realistic. However, the simulated SST anomalies are too strong, too weakly damped by surface heat fluxes, and not as clearly phase locked to the end of the calendar year as in observations. The simulated patterns of tropical Pacific SST, wind stress, and precipitation variability are displaced 20°–30° west of the observed patterns, as are the simulated ENSO teleconnections to wintertime 200-hPa heights over Canada and the northeastern Pacific Ocean. Despite this, the impacts of ENSO on summertime and wintertime precipitation outside the tropical Pacific appear to be well simulated. Impacts of the annual-mean biases on the simulated variability are discussed.

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Myong-In Lee, Siegfried D. Schubert, Max J. Suarez, Isaac M. Held, Arun Kumar, Thomas L. Bell, Jae-Kyung E. Schemm, Ngar-Cheung Lau, Jeffrey J. Ploshay, Hyun-Kyung Kim, and Soo-Hyun Yoo

Abstract

This study examines the sensitivity of the North American warm season diurnal cycle of precipitation to changes in horizontal resolution in three atmospheric general circulation models, with a primary focus on how the parameterized moist processes respond to improved resolution of topography and associated local/regional circulations on the diurnal time scale. It is found that increasing resolution (from approximately 2° to ½° in latitude–longitude) has a mixed impact on the simulated diurnal cycle of precipitation. Higher resolution generally improves the initiation and downslope propagation of moist convection over the Rockies and the adjacent Great Plains. The propagating signals, however, do not extend beyond the slope region, thereby likely contributing to a dry bias in the Great Plains. Similar improvements in the propagating signals are also found in the diurnal cycle over the North American monsoon region as the models begin to resolve the Gulf of California and the surrounding steep terrain. In general, the phase of the diurnal cycle of precipitation improves with increasing resolution, though not always monotonically. Nevertheless, large errors in both the phase and amplitude of the diurnal cycle in precipitation remain even at the highest resolution considered here. These errors tend to be associated with unrealistically strong coupling of the convection to the surface heating and suggest that improved simulations of the diurnal cycle of precipitation require further improvements in the parameterizations of moist convection processes.

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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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