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Colin M. Zarzycki
,
Michael N. Levy
,
Christiane Jablonowski
,
James R. Overfelt
,
Mark A. Taylor
, and
Paul A. Ullrich

Abstract

A variable-resolution option has been added within the spectral element (SE) dynamical core of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)–NCAR Community Atmosphere Model (CAM). CAM-SE allows for static refinement via conforming quadrilateral meshes on the cubed sphere. This paper investigates the effect of mesh refinement in a climate model by running variable-resolution (var-res) simulations on an aquaplanet. The variable-resolution grid is a 2° (~222 km) grid with a refined patch of 0.25° (~28 km) resolution centered at the equator. Climatology statistics from these simulations are compared to globally uniform runs of 2° and 0.25°.

A significant resolution dependence exists when using the CAM version 4 (CAM4) subgrid physical parameterization package across scales. Global cloud fraction decreases and equatorial precipitation increases with finer horizontal resolution, resulting in drastically different climates between the uniform grid runs and a physics-induced grid imprinting in the var-res simulation. Using CAM version 5 (CAM5) physics significantly improves cloud scaling at different grid resolutions. Additional precipitation at the equator in the high-resolution mesh results in collocated zonally anomalous divergence in both var-res simulations, although this feature is much weaker in CAM5 than CAM4. The equilibrium solution at each grid spacing within the var-res simulations captures the majority of the resolution signal of the corresponding globally uniform grids. The var-res simulation exhibits good performance with respect to wave propagation, including equatorial regions where waves pass through grid transitions. In addition, the increased frequency of high-precipitation events in the refined 0.25° area within the var-res simulations matches that observed in the global 0.25° simulations.

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Rachel A. Stratton
,
Catherine A. Senior
,
Simon B. Vosper
,
Sonja S. Folwell
,
Ian A. Boutle
,
Paul D. Earnshaw
,
Elizabeth Kendon
,
Adrian P. Lock
,
Andrew Malcolm
,
James Manners
,
Cyril J. Morcrette
,
Christopher Short
,
Alison J. Stirling
,
Christopher M. Taylor
,
Simon Tucker
,
Stuart Webster
, and
Jonathan M. Wilkinson

Abstract

A convection-permitting multiyear regional climate simulation using the Met Office Unified Model has been run for the first time on an Africa-wide domain. The model has been run as part of the Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) Improving Model Processes for African Climate (IMPALA) project, and its configuration, domain, and forcing data are described here in detail. The model [Pan-African Convection-Permitting Regional Climate Simulation with the Met Office UM (CP4-Africa)] uses a 4.5-km horizontal grid spacing at the equator and is run without a convection parameterization, nested within a global atmospheric model driven by observations at the sea surface, which does include a convection scheme. An additional regional simulation, with identical resolution and physical parameterizations to the global model, but with the domain, land surface, and aerosol climatologies of CP4-Africa, has been run to aid in the understanding of the differences between the CP4-Africa and global model, in particular to isolate the impact of the convection parameterization and resolution. The effect of enforcing moisture conservation in CP4-Africa is described and its impact on reducing extreme precipitation values is assessed. Preliminary results from the first five years of the CP4-Africa simulation show substantial improvements in JJA average rainfall compared to the parameterized convection models, with most notably a reduction in the persistent dry bias in West Africa, giving an indication of the benefits to be gained from running a convection-permitting simulation over the whole African continent.

Open access