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Curt Covey, Aiguo Dai, Richard S. Lindzen, and Daniel R. Marsh

Abstract

For atmospheric tides driven by solar heating, the database of climate model output used in the most recent assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms and extends the authors’ earlier results based on the previous generation of models. Both the present study and the earlier one examine the surface pressure signature of the tides, but the new database removes a shortcoming of the earlier study in which model simulations were not strictly comparable to observations. The present study confirms an approximate consistency among observations and all model simulations, despite variation of model tops from 31 to 144 km. On its face, this result is surprising because the dominant (semidiurnal) component of the tides is forced mostly by ozone heating around 30–70-km altitude. Classical linear tide calculations and occasional numerical experimentation have long suggested that models with low tops achieve some consistency with observations by means of compensating errors, with wave reflection from the model top making up for reduced ozone forcing. Future work with the new database may confirm this hypothesis by additional classical calculations and analyses of the ozone heating profiles and wave reflection in Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) models. The new generation of models also extends CMIP's purview to free-atmosphere fields including the middle atmosphere and above.

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Anne K. Smith, Nicholas M. Pedatella, Daniel R. Marsh, and Tomoko Matsuo

Abstract

The NCAR Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM) is used to investigate the dynamical influence of the lower and middle atmosphere on the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere. In simulations using a methodology adapted from the “specified dynamics” (nudged) version of the model, horizontal winds and temperature over part of the vertical range of the atmosphere are relaxed toward results from a previous simulation that serves as the true simulation, equivalent to meteorological analysis. In the upper mesosphere, the magnitude of the divergence of the constrained simulations from the true simulation depends on the vertical extent and frequency of the data used for nudging the model and grows with altitude. The simulations quantify the error growth of the model dynamical fields when data and forcing terms are known exactly and there are no model biases. The error growth rate and the ultimate discrepancy between the nudged and true fields depend strongly on the method used for representing gravity wave drag. The largest error growth occurs when the gravity wave parameterization uses interactive wave sources that depend on convective activity or fronts. Errors are reduced when the same parameterization is used with smoothly varying specified wave sources. The smallest errors are seen when the parameterized gravity wave drag is replaced by linear Rayleigh friction damping on the wind speed. These comparisons demonstrate the role of gravity waves in transporting the variability of the troposphere into the mesosphere and lower thermosphere.

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Daniel R. Marsh, Michael J. Mills, Douglas E. Kinnison, Jean-Francois Lamarque, Natalia Calvo, and Lorenzo M. Polvani

Abstract

The NCAR Community Earth System Model (CESM) now includes an atmospheric component that extends in altitude to the lower thermosphere. This atmospheric model, known as the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM), includes fully interactive chemistry, allowing, for example, a self-consistent representation of the development and recovery of the stratospheric ozone hole and its effect on the troposphere. This paper focuses on analysis of an ensemble of transient simulations using CESM1(WACCM), covering the period from the preindustrial era to present day, conducted as part of phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project. Variability in the stratosphere, such as that associated with stratospheric sudden warmings and the development of the ozone hole, is in good agreement with observations. The signals of these phenomena propagate into the troposphere, influencing near-surface winds, precipitation rates, and the extent of sea ice. In comparison of tropospheric climate change predictions with those from a version of CESM that does not fully resolve the stratosphere, the global-mean temperature trends are indistinguishable. However, systematic differences do exist in other climate variables, particularly in the extratropics. The magnitude of the difference can be as large as the climate change response itself. This indicates that the representation of stratosphere–troposphere coupling could be a major source of uncertainty in climate change projections in CESM.

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Gabriele G. Pfister, Sebastian D. Eastham, Avelino F. Arellano, Bernard Aumont, Kelley C. Barsanti, Mary C. Barth, Andrew Conley, Nicholas A. Davis, Louisa K. Emmons, Jerome D. Fast, Arlene M. Fiore, Benjamin Gaubert, Steve Goldhaber, Claire Granier, Georg A. Grell, Marc Guevara, Daven K. Henze, Alma Hodzic, Xiaohong Liu, Daniel R. Marsh, John J. Orlando, John M. C. Plane, Lorenzo M. Polvani, Karen H. Rosenlof, Allison L. Steiner, Daniel J. Jacob, and Guy P. Brasseur

ABSTRACT

To explore the various couplings across space and time and between ecosystems in a consistent manner, atmospheric modeling is moving away from the fractured limited-scale modeling strategy of the past toward a unification of the range of scales inherent in the Earth system. This paper describes the forward-looking Multi-Scale Infrastructure for Chemistry and Aerosols (MUSICA), which is intended to become the next-generation community infrastructure for research involving atmospheric chemistry and aerosols. MUSICA will be developed collaboratively by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and university and government researchers, with the goal of serving the international research and applications communities. The capability of unifying various spatiotemporal scales, coupling to other Earth system components, and process-level modularization will allow advances in both fundamental and applied research in atmospheric composition, air quality, and climate and is also envisioned to become a platform that addresses the needs of policy makers and stakeholders.

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