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Peter R. Gent, Frank O. Bryan, Gokhan Danabasoglu, Scott C. Doney, William R. Holland, William G. Large, and James C. McWilliams

Abstract

This paper describes the global ocean component of the NCAR Climate System Model. New parameterizations of the effects of mesoscale eddies and of the upper-ocean boundary layer are included. Numerical improvements include a third-order upwind advection scheme and elimination of the artificial North Pole island in the original MOM 1.1 code. Updated forcing fields are used to drive the ocean-alone solution, which is integrated long enough so that it is in equilibrium. The ocean transports and potential temperature and salinity distributions are compared with observations. The solution sensitivity to the freshwater forcing distribution is highlighted, and the sensitivity to resolution is also briefly discussed.

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Susan C. Bates, Baylor Fox-Kemper, Steven R. Jayne, William G. Large, Samantha Stevenson, and Stephen G. Yeager

Abstract

Air–sea fluxes from the Community Climate System Model version 4 (CCSM4) are compared with the Coordinated Ocean-Ice Reference Experiment (CORE) dataset to assess present-day mean biases, variability errors, and late twentieth-century trend differences. CCSM4 is improved over the previous version, CCSM3, in both air–sea heat and freshwater fluxes in some regions; however, a large increase in net shortwave radiation into the ocean may contribute to an enhanced hydrological cycle. The authors provide a new baseline for assessment of flux variance at annual and interannual frequency bands in future model versions and contribute a new metric for assessing the coupling between the atmospheric and oceanic planetary boundary layer (PBL) schemes of any climate model. Maps of the ratio of CCSM4 variance to CORE reveal that variance on annual time scales has larger error than on interannual time scales and that different processes cause errors in mean, annual, and interannual frequency bands. Air temperature and specific humidity in the CCSM4 atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) follow the sea surface conditions much more closely than is found in CORE. Sensible and latent heat fluxes are less of a negative feedback to sea surface temperature warming in the CCSM4 than in the CORE data with the model’s PBL allowing for more heating of the ocean’s surface.

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Gokhan Danabasoglu, William G. Large, Joseph J. Tribbia, Peter R. Gent, Bruce P. Briegleb, and James C. McWilliams

Abstract

New features that may affect the behavior of the upper ocean in the Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3) are described. In particular, the addition of an idealized diurnal cycle of solar forcing where the daily mean solar radiation received in each daily coupling interval is distributed over 12 daylight hours is evaluated. The motivation for this simple diurnal cycle is to improve the behavior of the upper ocean, relative to the constant forcing over each day of previous CCSM versions. Both 1- and 3-h coupling intervals are also considered as possible alternatives that explicitly resolve the diurnal cycle of solar forcing. The most prominent and robust effects of all these diurnal cycles are found in the tropical oceans, especially in the Pacific. Here, the mean equatorial sea surface temperature (SST) is warmed by as much as 1°C, in better agreement with observations, and the mean boundary layer depth is reduced. Simple rectification of the diurnal cycle explains about half of the shallowing, but less than 0.1°C of the warming. The atmospheric response to prescribed warm SST anomalies of about 1°C displays a very different heat flux signature. The implication, yet to be verified, is that large-scale air–sea coupling is a prime mechanism for amplifying the rectified, daily averaged SST signals seen by the atmosphere. Although the use of upper-layer temperature for SST in CCSM3 underestimates the diurnal cycle of SST, many of the essential characteristics of diurnal cycling within the equatorial ocean are reproduced, including boundary layer depth, currents, and the parameterized vertical heat and momentum fluxes associated with deep-cycle turbulence. The conclusion is that the implementation of an idealized diurnal cycle of solar forcing may make more frequent ocean coupling and its computational complications unnecessary as improvements to the air–sea coupling in CCSM3 continue. A caveat here is that more frequent ocean coupling tends to reduce the long-term cooling trends typical of CCSM3 by heating already too warm ocean depths, but longer integrations are needed to determine robust features. A clear result is that the absence of diurnal solar forcing of the ocean has several undesirable consequences in CCSM3, including too large ENSO variability, much too cold Pacific equatorial SST, and no deep-cycle turbulence.

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Gokhan Danabasoglu, Susan C. Bates, Bruce P. Briegleb, Steven R. Jayne, Markus Jochum, William G. Large, Synte Peacock, and Steve G. Yeager

Abstract

The ocean component of the Community Climate System Model version 4 (CCSM4) is described, and its solutions from the twentieth-century (20C) simulations are documented in comparison with observations and those of CCSM3. The improvements to the ocean model physical processes include new parameterizations to represent previously missing physics and modifications of existing parameterizations to incorporate recent new developments. In comparison with CCSM3, the new solutions show some significant improvements that can be attributed to these model changes. These include a better equatorial current structure, a sharper thermocline, and elimination of the cold bias of the equatorial cold tongue all in the Pacific Ocean; reduced sea surface temperature (SST) and salinity biases along the North Atlantic Current path; and much smaller potential temperature and salinity biases in the near-surface Pacific Ocean. Other improvements include a global-mean SST that is more consistent with the present-day observations due to a different spinup procedure from that used in CCSM3. Despite these improvements, many of the biases present in CCSM3 still exist in CCSM4. A major concern continues to be the substantial heat content loss in the ocean during the preindustrial control simulation from which the 20C cases start. This heat loss largely reflects the top of the atmospheric model heat loss rate in the coupled system, and it essentially determines the abyssal ocean potential temperature biases in the 20C simulations. There is also a deep salty bias in all basins. As a result of this latter bias in the deep North Atlantic, the parameterized overflow waters cannot penetrate much deeper than in CCSM3.

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Markus Jochum, Bruce P. Briegleb, Gokhan Danabasoglu, William G. Large, Nancy J. Norton, Steven R. Jayne, Matthew H. Alford, and Frank O. Bryan

Abstract

The Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) is used to assess the climate impact of wind-generated near-inertial waves (NIWs). Even with high-frequency coupling, CCSM4 underestimates the strength of NIWs, so that a parameterization for NIWs is developed and included into CCSM4. Numerous assumptions enter this parameterization, the core of which is that the NIW velocity signal is detected during the model integration, and amplified in the shear computation of the ocean surface boundary layer module. It is found that NIWs deepen the ocean mixed layer by up to 30%, but they contribute little to the ventilation and mixing of the ocean below the thermocline. However, the deepening of the tropical mixed layer by NIWs leads to a change in tropical sea surface temperature and precipitation. Atmospheric teleconnections then change the global sea level pressure fields so that the midlatitude westerlies become weaker. Unfortunately, the magnitude of the real air-sea flux of NIW energy is poorly constrained by observations; this makes the quantitative assessment of their climate impact rather uncertain. Thus, a major result of the present study is that because of its importance for global climate the uncertainty in the observed tropical NIW energy has to be reduced.

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William D. Collins, Cecilia M. Bitz, Maurice L. Blackmon, Gordon B. Bonan, Christopher S. Bretherton, James A. Carton, Ping Chang, Scott C. Doney, James J. Hack, Thomas B. Henderson, Jeffrey T. Kiehl, William G. Large, Daniel S. McKenna, Benjamin D. Santer, and Richard D. Smith

Abstract

The Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3) has recently been developed and released to the climate community. CCSM3 is a coupled climate model with components representing the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, and land surface connected by a flux coupler. CCSM3 is designed to produce realistic simulations over a wide range of spatial resolutions, enabling inexpensive simulations lasting several millennia or detailed studies of continental-scale dynamics, variability, and climate change. This paper will show results from the configuration used for climate-change simulations with a T85 grid for the atmosphere and land and a grid with approximately 1° resolution for the ocean and sea ice. The new system incorporates several significant improvements in the physical parameterizations. The enhancements in the model physics are designed to reduce or eliminate several systematic biases in the mean climate produced by previous editions of CCSM. These include new treatments of cloud processes, aerosol radiative forcing, land–atmosphere fluxes, ocean mixed layer processes, and sea ice dynamics. There are significant improvements in the sea ice thickness, polar radiation budgets, tropical sea surface temperatures, and cloud radiative effects. CCSM3 can produce stable climate simulations of millennial duration without ad hoc adjustments to the fluxes exchanged among the component models. Nonetheless, there are still systematic biases in the ocean–atmosphere fluxes in coastal regions west of continents, the spectrum of ENSO variability, the spatial distribution of precipitation in the tropical oceans, and continental precipitation and surface air temperatures. Work is under way to extend CCSM to a more accurate and comprehensive model of the earth's climate system.

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Jennifer A. MacKinnon, Zhongxiang Zhao, Caitlin B. Whalen, Amy F. Waterhouse, David S. Trossman, Oliver M. Sun, Louis C. St. Laurent, Harper L. Simmons, Kurt Polzin, Robert Pinkel, Andrew Pickering, Nancy J. Norton, Jonathan D. Nash, Ruth Musgrave, Lynne M. Merchant, Angelique V. Melet, Benjamin Mater, Sonya Legg, William G. Large, Eric Kunze, Jody M. Klymak, Markus Jochum, Steven R. Jayne, Robert W. Hallberg, Stephen M. Griffies, Steve Diggs, Gokhan Danabasoglu, Eric P. Chassignet, Maarten C. Buijsman, Frank O. Bryan, Bruce P. Briegleb, Andrew Barna, Brian K. Arbic, Joseph K. Ansong, and Matthew H. Alford

Abstract

Diapycnal mixing plays a primary role in the thermodynamic balance of the ocean and, consequently, in oceanic heat and carbon uptake and storage. Though observed mixing rates are on average consistent with values required by inverse models, recent attention has focused on the dramatic spatial variability, spanning several orders of magnitude, of mixing rates in both the upper and deep ocean. Away from ocean boundaries, the spatiotemporal patterns of mixing are largely driven by the geography of generation, propagation, and dissipation of internal waves, which supply much of the power for turbulent mixing. Over the last 5 years and under the auspices of U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability Program (CLIVAR), a National Science Foundation (NSF)- and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-supported Climate Process Team has been engaged in developing, implementing, and testing dynamics-based parameterizations for internal wave–driven turbulent mixing in global ocean models. The work has primarily focused on turbulence 1) near sites of internal tide generation, 2) in the upper ocean related to wind-generated near inertial motions, 3) due to internal lee waves generated by low-frequency mesoscale flows over topography, and 4) at ocean margins. Here, we review recent progress, describe the tools developed, and discuss future directions.

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