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Michael Sigmond and John F. Scinocca

Abstract

Employing a comprehensive atmospheric general circulation model, the authors have shown in a previous study that the time-mean Northern Hemisphere (NH) winter circulation response to a CO2 doubling perturbation depends significantly on parameterized orographic gravity wave drag (OGWD) parameter settings, which are essentially related to the strength of OGWD. A possible implication is that aspects of the greenhouse gas–induced circulation response could depend directly on the formulation and internal parameters settings of the OGWD scheme. Such a result would further heighten the importance of OGWD parameterizations for climate studies and have far-reaching implications for modeled projections of future climate change.

In this study the causal relationship between OGWD and changes in time-mean NH wintertime circulation response to CO2 doubling is investigated. This is accomplished by introducing a methodology that allows one to hold the OGWD forcing fixed to its 1 × CO2 value when CO2 is doubled. Employing this methodology for perturbation experiments with different strengths of OGWD, the authors find that the changes in OGWD forcing due to CO2 doubling have essentially no impact on the time-mean zonal-mean zonal wind response. The primary conclusion is that the OGWD influence is limited to its impact on the 1 × CO2 basic-state climatology, which defines the propagation characteristics of resolved waves. Different strengths of OGWD result in control basic states with different refractive properties for the resolved waves. It is shown that the action of resolved waves, as well as their sensitivity to such differences in the control climatology, explains essentially all of the NH wintertime circulation sensitivity identified here and in a previous study. Implications for climate change projections and climate-model development are discussed.

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Tiffany A. Shaw, Michael Sigmond, Theodore G. Shepherd, and John F. Scinocca

Abstract

The Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model is used to examine the sensitivity of simulated climate to conservation of momentum in gravity wave drag parameterization. Momentum conservation requires that the parameterized gravity wave momentum flux at the top of the model be zero and corresponds to the physical boundary condition of no momentum flux at the top of the atmosphere. Allowing momentum flux to escape the model domain violates momentum conservation. Here the impact of momentum conservation in two sets of model simulations is investigated.

In the first set, the simulation of present-day climate for two model-lid height configurations, 0.001 and 10 hPa, which are identical below 10 hPa, is considered. The impact of momentum conservation on the climate with the model lid at 0.001 hPa is minimal, which is expected because of the small amount of gravity wave momentum flux reaching 0.001 hPa. When the lid is lowered to 10 hPa and momentum is conserved, there is only a modest impact on the climate in the Northern Hemisphere; however, the Southern Hemisphere climate is more adversely affected by the deflection of resolved waves near the model lid. When momentum is not conserved in the 10-hPa model the climate is further degraded in both hemispheres, particularly in winter at high latitudes, and the impact of momentum conservation extends all the way to the surface.

In the second set of simulations, the impact of momentum conservation and model-lid height on the modeled response to ozone depletion in the Southern Hemisphere is considered, and it is found that the response can display significant sensitivity to both factors. In particular, both the lower-stratospheric polar temperature and surface responses are significantly altered when the lid is lowered, with the effect being most severe when momentum is not conserved. The implications with regard to the current round of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model projections are discussed.

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Isla R. Simpson, Theodore G. Shepherd, Peter Hitchcock, and John F. Scinocca

Abstract

Many global climate models (GCMs) have trouble simulating southern annular mode (SAM) variability correctly, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere summer season where it tends to be too persistent. In this two-part study, a suite of experiments with the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (CMAM) is analyzed to improve the understanding of the dynamics of SAM variability and its deficiencies in GCMs. Here, an examination of the eddy–mean flow feedbacks is presented by quantification of the feedback strength as a function of zonal scale and season using a new methodology that accounts for intraseasonal forcing of the SAM.

In the observed atmosphere, in the summer season, a strong negative feedback by planetary-scale waves, in particular zonal wavenumber 3, is found in a localized region in the southwest Pacific. It cancels a large proportion of the positive feedback by synoptic- and smaller-scale eddies in the zonal mean, resulting in a very weak overall eddy feedback on the SAM. CMAM is deficient in this negative feedback by planetary-scale waves, making a substantial contribution to its bias in summertime SAM persistence. Furthermore, this bias is not alleviated by artificially improving the climatological circulation, suggesting that climatological circulation biases are not the cause of the planetary wave feedback deficiency in the model.

Analysis of the summertime eddy feedbacks in the models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) confirms that this is indeed a common problem among GCMs, suggesting that understanding this planetary wave feedback and the reason for its deficiency in GCMs is key to improving the fidelity of simulated SAM variability in the summer season.

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Isla R. Simpson, Peter Hitchcock, Theodore G. Shepherd, and John F. Scinocca

Abstract

A common bias among global climate models (GCMs) is that they exhibit tropospheric southern annular mode (SAM) variability that is much too persistent in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) summertime. This is of concern for the ability to accurately predict future SH circulation changes, so it is important that it be understood and alleviated. In this two-part study, specifically targeted experiments with the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (CMAM) are used to improve understanding of the enhanced summertime SAM persistence. Given the ubiquity of this bias among comprehensive GCMs, it is likely that the results will be relevant for other climate models.

Here, in Part I, the influence of climatological circulation biases on SAM variability is assessed, with a particular focus on two common biases that could enhance summertime SAM persistence: the too-late breakdown of the Antarctic stratospheric vortex and the equatorward bias in the SH tropospheric midlatitude jet. Four simulations are used to investigate the role of each of these biases in CMAM. Nudging and bias correcting procedures are used to systematically remove zonal-mean stratospheric variability and/or remove climatological zonal wind biases. The SAM time-scale bias is not alleviated by improving either the timing of the stratospheric vortex breakdown or the climatological jet structure. Even in the absence of stratospheric variability and with an improved climatological circulation, the model time scales are biased long. This points toward a bias in internal tropospheric dynamics that is not caused by the tropospheric jet structure bias. The underlying cause of this is examined in more detail in Part II of this study.

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Charles McLandress, Andreas I. Jonsson, David A. Plummer, M. Catherine Reader, John F. Scinocca, and Theodore G. Shepherd

Abstract

A version of the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model that is coupled to an ocean is used to investigate the separate effects of climate change and ozone depletion on the dynamics of the Southern Hemisphere (SH) stratosphere. This is achieved by performing three sets of simulations extending from 1960 to 2099: 1) greenhouse gases (GHGs) fixed at 1960 levels and ozone depleting substances (ODSs) varying in time, 2) ODSs fixed at 1960 levels and GHGs varying in time, and 3) both GHGs and ODSs varying in time. The response of various dynamical quantities to the GHG and ODS forcings is shown to be additive; that is, trends computed from the sum of the first two simulations are equal to trends from the third. Additivity is shown to hold for the zonal mean zonal wind and temperature, the mass flux into and out of the stratosphere, and the latitudinally averaged wave drag in SH spring and summer, as well as for final warming dates. Ozone depletion and recovery causes seasonal changes in lower-stratosphere mass flux, with reduced polar downwelling in the past followed by increased downwelling in the future in SH spring, and the reverse in SH summer. These seasonal changes are attributed to changes in wave drag caused by ozone-induced changes in the zonal mean zonal winds. Climate change, on the other hand, causes a steady decrease in wave drag during SH spring, which delays the breakdown of the vortex, resulting in increased wave drag in summer.

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Charles McLandress, Theodore G. Shepherd, John F. Scinocca, David A. Plummer, Michael Sigmond, Andreas I. Jonsson, and M. Catherine Reader

Abstract

The separate effects of ozone depleting substances (ODSs) and greenhouse gases (GHGs) on forcing circulation changes in the Southern Hemisphere extratropical troposphere are investigated using a version of the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (CMAM) that is coupled to an ocean. Circulation-related diagnostics include zonal wind, tropopause pressure, Hadley cell width, jet location, annular mode index, precipitation, wave drag, and eddy fluxes of momentum and heat. As expected, the tropospheric response to the ODS forcing occurs primarily in austral summer, with past (1960–99) and future (2000–99) trends of opposite sign, while the GHG forcing produces more seasonally uniform trends with the same sign in the past and future. In summer the ODS forcing dominates past trends in all diagnostics, while the two forcings contribute nearly equally but oppositely to future trends. The ODS forcing produces a past surface temperature response consisting of cooling over eastern Antarctica, and is the dominant driver of past summertime surface temperature changes when the model is constrained by observed sea surface temperatures. For all diagnostics, the response to the ODS and GHG forcings is additive; that is, the linear trend computed from the simulations using the combined forcings equals (within statistical uncertainty) the sum of the linear trends from the simulations using the two separate forcings. Space–time spectra of eddy fluxes and the spatial distribution of transient wave drag are examined to assess the viability of several recently proposed mechanisms for the observed poleward shift in the tropospheric jet.

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Jia-Lin Lin, George N. Kiladis, Brian E. Mapes, Klaus M. Weickmann, Kenneth R. Sperber, Wuyin Lin, Matthew C. Wheeler, Siegfried D. Schubert, Anthony Del Genio, Leo J. Donner, Seita Emori, Jean-Francois Gueremy, Frederic Hourdin, Philip J. Rasch, Erich Roeckner, and John F. Scinocca

Abstract

This study evaluates the tropical intraseasonal variability, especially the fidelity of Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) simulations, in 14 coupled general circulation models (GCMs) participating in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). Eight years of daily precipitation from each model’s twentieth-century climate simulation are analyzed and compared with daily satellite-retrieved precipitation. Space–time spectral analysis is used to obtain the variance and phase speed of dominant convectively coupled equatorial waves, including the MJO, Kelvin, equatorial Rossby (ER), mixed Rossby–gravity (MRG), and eastward inertio–gravity (EIG) and westward inertio–gravity (WIG) waves. The variance and propagation of the MJO, defined as the eastward wavenumbers 1–6, 30–70-day mode, are examined in detail.

The results show that current state-of-the-art GCMs still have significant problems and display a wide range of skill in simulating the tropical intraseasonal variability. The total intraseasonal (2–128 day) variance of precipitation is too weak in most of the models. About half of the models have signals of convectively coupled equatorial waves, with Kelvin and MRG–EIG waves especially prominent. However, the variances are generally too weak for all wave modes except the EIG wave, and the phase speeds are generally too fast, being scaled to excessively deep equivalent depths. An interesting result is that this scaling is consistent within a given model across modes, in that both the symmetric and antisymmetric modes scale similarly to a certain equivalent depth. Excessively deep equivalent depths suggest that these models may not have a large enough reduction in their “effective static stability” by diabatic heating.

The MJO variance approaches the observed value in only 2 of the 14 models, but is less than half of the observed value in the other 12 models. The ratio between the eastward MJO variance and the variance of its westward counterpart is too small in most of the models, which is consistent with the lack of highly coherent eastward propagation of the MJO in many models. Moreover, the MJO variance in 13 of the 14 models does not come from a pronounced spectral peak, but usually comes from part of an overreddened spectrum, which in turn is associated with too strong persistence of equatorial precipitation. The two models that arguably do best at simulating the MJO are the only ones having convective closures/triggers linked in some way to moisture convergence.

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