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Toni Mitovski
,
Ian Folkins
,
Knut von Salzen
, and
Michael Sigmond

Abstract

Radiosonde measurements and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) 3B42 rainfall are used to construct composite anomaly patterns of temperature, relative humidity, and divergence about high rainfall events in the western Pacific. The observed anomaly patterns are compared with anomaly patterns from four general circulation models [Third and Fourth Generation Atmospheric General Circulation Model (AGCM3 and AGCM4), Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Climate Model version 2.1 (GFDL CM2.1), and European Center Hamburg Model version 5 (ECHAM5)] and two reanalysis products [40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) and ERA-Interim]. In general, the models and reanalyses do not fully represent the timing, strength, or altitude of the midlevel congestus divergence that precedes peak rainfall or the midlevel stratiform convergence that occurs after peak rainfall. The surface cold pools that develop in response to high rainfall events are also either not present or somewhat weaker than observations. Surface cold pools originate from the downward transport within mesoscale downdrafts of midtropospheric air with low moist static energy into the boundary layer. Differences between the modeled and observed response to high rainfall events suggest that the convective parameterizations used by the models and reanalyses discussed here may underrepresent the strength of the mesoscale downdraft circulation.

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Jason Cole
,
Howard W. Barker
,
Norman G. Loeb
, and
Knut von Salzen

Abstract

Coincident top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiative fluxes and cloud optical properties for portions of clouds whose tops are exposed to space within several pressure ranges are used to evaluate how a GCM realizes its all-sky radiative fluxes and vertical structure. In particular, observations of cloud properties and radiative fluxes from the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) Science Team are used to assess the Canadian Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis atmospheric global climate model (CanAM4). Through comparison of CanAM4 with CERES observations it was found that, while the July-mean all-sky TOA shortwave and longwave fluxes simulated by CanAM4 agree well with those observed, this agreement rests on compensating biases in simulated cloud properties and radiative fluxes for low, middle, and high clouds. Namely, low and middle cloud albedos simulated by CanAM4 are larger than those observed by CERES attributable to CanAM4 simulating cloud optical depths via large liquid water paths that are too large but are partly compensated by too small cloud fractions. It was also found that CanAM4 produces 2D histograms of cloud fraction and cloud albedo for low, middle, and high clouds that are significantly different than generated using the CERES observations.

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Kun Wu
,
Jiangnan Li
,
Jason Cole
,
Xianglei Huang
,
Knut von Salzen
, and
Feng Zhang

Abstract

Three aspects of longwave (LW) radiation processes are investigated using numerical experiments with the Canadian Atmospheric Global Climate Model version 4.3 (CanAM4.3). These are the overlapping LW and shortwave (SW) radiation, scattering by clouds, and specification of ocean emissivity. For the overlapping of solar and infrared spectra, using a single band scheme was compared against a method directly inputting solar energy. Offline calculations show that for high clouds using the single band can cause an overestimate of the downward LW flux, whereas a method that accounts for input solar energy in the LW yields results that are more accurate. Longwave scattering by clouds traps more infrared energy in the atmosphere and reduces the outgoing radiation to space. Simulations with CanAM4.3 show that cloud LW scattering can enhance the LW cooling rate above the tropopause and reduce it inside the troposphere, resulting in warmer temperatures, especially in the tropics and low latitudes. This implies a larger temperature gradient toward the polar region, which causes a strengthening of the Hadley circulation and shifting of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). The increase in lower tropospheric temperature also affects the lower troposphere water vapor and precipitation. Sensitivity to the specification of ocean emissivity is examined by comparing a broadband scheme dependent on the surface wind and solar zenith angle against one that resolves the wavelength dependence. Experiments with CanAM4.3 show that the two oceanic emissivity schemes can produce over 1 W m−2 seasonal mean difference of the upward flux at the surface.

Open access
Leon D. Rotstayn
,
Emily L. Plymin
,
Mark A. Collier
,
Olivier Boucher
,
Jean-Louis Dufresne
,
Jing-Jia Luo
,
Knut von Salzen
,
Stephen J. Jeffrey
,
Marie-Alice Foujols
,
Yi Ming
, and
Larry W. Horowitz

Abstract

The effects of declining anthropogenic aerosols in representative concentration pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5) are assessed in four models from phase 5 the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), with a focus on annual, zonal-mean atmospheric temperature structure and zonal winds. For each model, the effect of declining aerosols is diagnosed from the difference between a projection forced by RCP4.5 for 2006–2100 and another that has identical forcing, except that anthropogenic aerosols are fixed at early twenty-first-century levels. The response to declining aerosols is interpreted in terms of the meridional structure of aerosol radiative forcing, which peaks near 40°N and vanishes at the South Pole.

Increasing greenhouse gases cause amplified warming in the tropical upper troposphere and strengthening midlatitude jets in both hemispheres. However, for declining aerosols the vertically averaged tropospheric temperature response peaks near 40°N, rather than in the tropics. This implies that for declining aerosols the tropospheric meridional temperature gradient generally increases in the Southern Hemisphere (SH), but in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) it decreases in the tropics and subtropics. Consistent with thermal wind balance, the NH jet then strengthens on its poleward side and weakens on its equatorward side, whereas the SH jet strengthens more than the NH jet. The asymmetric response of the jets is thus consistent with the meridional structure of aerosol radiative forcing and the associated tropospheric warming: in the NH the latitude of maximum warming is roughly collocated with the jet, whereas in the SH warming is strongest in the tropics and weakest at high latitudes.

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