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Scott M. Osprey
,
Lesley J. Gray
,
Steven C. Hardiman
,
Neal Butchart
,
Andrew C. Bushell
, and
Tim J. Hinton

Abstract

Stratospheric variability is examined in a vertically extended version of the Met Office global climate model. Equatorial variability includes the simulation of an internally generated quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) and semiannual oscillation (SAO). Polar variability includes an examination of the frequency of sudden stratospheric warmings (SSW) and annular mode variability. Results from two different horizontal resolutions are also compared. Changes in gravity wave filtering at the higher resolution result in a slightly longer QBO that extends deeper into the lower stratosphere. At the higher resolution there is also a reduction in the occurrence rate of sudden stratospheric warmings, in better agreement with observations. This is linked with reduced levels of resolved waves entering the high-latitude stratosphere. Covariability of the tropical and extratropical stratosphere is seen, linking the phase of the QBO with disturbed NH winters, although this linkage is sporadic, in agreement with observations. Finally, tropospheric persistence time scales and seasonal variability for the northern and southern annular modes are significantly improved at the higher resolution, consistent with findings from other studies.

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Andrew C. Bushell
,
Neal Butchart
,
Stephen H. Derbyshire
,
David R. Jackson
,
Glenn J. Shutts
,
Simon B. Vosper
, and
Stuart Webster

Abstract

Analysis of a high-resolution, convection-permitting simulation of the tropical Indian Ocean has revealed empirical relationships between precipitation and gravity wave vertical momentum flux on grid scales typical of earth system models. Hence, the authors take a rough functional form, whereby the wave flux source spectrum has an amplitude proportional to the square root of total precipitation, to represent gravity wave source strengths in the Met Office global model’s spectral nonorographic scheme. Key advantages of the new source are simplicity and responsiveness to changes in convection processes without dependence upon model-specific details of their representation. Thus, the new source scheme is potentially a straightforward adaptation for a class of spectral gravity wave schemes widely used for current state-of-the-art earth system models. Against an invariant source, the new parameterized source generates launch-level flux amplitudes with greater spatial and temporal variability, producing probability density functions for absolute momentum flux over the ocean that have extended tails of large-amplitude, low-occurrence events. Such distributions appear more realistic in comparison with reported balloon observations. Source intermittency at the launch level affects mean fluxes at higher levels in two ways: directly, as a result of upward propagation of the new source variation, and indirectly, through changes in filtering characteristics that arise from intermittency. Initial assessment of the new scheme in the Met Office global model indicates an improved representation of the quasi-biennial oscillation and sensitivity that offers potential for further impact in the future.

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Steven C. Hardiman
,
Ian A. Boutle
,
Andrew C. Bushell
,
Neal Butchart
,
Mike J. P. Cullen
,
Paul R. Field
,
Kalli Furtado
,
James C. Manners
,
Sean F. Milton
,
Cyril Morcrette
,
Fiona M. O’Connor
,
Ben J. Shipway
,
Chris Smith
,
David N. Walters
,
Martin R. Willett
,
Keith D. Williams
,
Nigel Wood
,
N. Luke Abraham
,
James Keeble
,
Amanda C. Maycock
,
John Thuburn
, and
Matthew T. Woodhouse

Abstract

A warm bias in tropical tropopause temperature is found in the Met Office Unified Model (MetUM), in common with most models from phase 5 of CMIP (CMIP5). Key dynamical, microphysical, and radiative processes influencing the tropical tropopause temperature and lower-stratospheric water vapor concentrations in climate models are investigated using the MetUM. A series of sensitivity experiments are run to separate the effects of vertical advection, ice optical and microphysical properties, convection, cirrus clouds, and atmospheric composition on simulated tropopause temperature and lower-stratospheric water vapor concentrations in the tropics. The numerical accuracy of the vertical advection, determined in the MetUM by the choice of interpolation and conservation schemes used, is found to be particularly important. Microphysical and radiative processes are found to influence stratospheric water vapor both through modifying the tropical tropopause temperature and through modifying upper-tropospheric water vapor concentrations, allowing more water vapor to be advected into the stratosphere. The representation of any of the processes discussed can act to significantly reduce biases in tropical tropopause temperature and stratospheric water vapor in a physical way, thereby improving climate simulations.

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