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David E. Rupp, Sihan Li, Philip W. Mote, Neil Massey, Sarah N. Sparrow, and David C. H. Wallom

Abstract

The impacts of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies and anthropogenic greenhouse gases on the likelihood of extreme drought occurring in the central United States in the year 2012 were investigated using large-ensemble simulations from a global atmospheric climate model. Two sets of experiments were conducted. In the first, the simulated hydroclimate of 2012 was compared to a baseline period (1986–2014) to investigate the impact of SSTs. In the second, the hydroclimate in a world with 2012-level anthropogenic forcing was compared to five “counterfactual” versions of a 2012 world under preindustrial forcing. SST anomalies in 2012 increased the simulated likelihood of an extreme summer precipitation deficit (e.g., the deficit with a 2% exceedance probability) by a factor of 5. The likelihood of an extreme summer soil moisture deficit increased by a similar amount, due in great part to a large spring soil moisture deficit carrying over into summer. An anthropogenic impact on precipitation was detectable in the simulations, doubling the likelihood of what would have been a rainfall deficit with a 2% exceedance probability under preindustrial-level forcings. Despite this reduction in rainfall, summer soil moisture during extreme drought was essentially unaffected by anthropogenic forcing because of 1) evapotranspiration declining roughly one-to-one with a decrease in precipitation due to severe water supply constraint and despite higher evaporative demand and 2) a decrease in stomatal conductance, and therefore a decrease in potential transpiration, with higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

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Seung-Ki Min, Yeon-Hee Kim, In-Hong Park, Donghyun Lee, Sarah Sparrow, David Wallom, and Dáithí Stone
Open access
Neven Stjepan Fučkar, Friederike E.L. Otto, Flavio Lehner, Izidine Pinto, Emma Howard, Sarah Sparrow, Sihan Li, and David Wallom
Free access
Sarah Sparrow, Richard J. Millar, Kuniko Yamazaki, Neil Massey, Adam C. Povey, Andy Bowery, Roy G. Grainger, David Wallom, and Myles Allen

Abstract

A very large ensemble is used to identify subgrid-scale parameter settings for the HadCM3 model that are capable of best simulating the ocean state over the recent past (1980–2010). A simple particle filtering technique based upon the agreement of basin mean sea surface temperature (SST) and upper 700-m ocean heat content with EN3 observations is applied to an existing perturbed physics ensemble with initial conditions perturbations. A single set of subgrid-scale parameter values was identified from the wide range of initial parameter sets that gave the best agreement with ocean observations for the period studied. The parameter set, different from the standard model parameters, has a transient climate response of 1.68 K. The selected parameter set shows an improved agreement with EN3 decadal-mean SST patterns and the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) at 26°N as measured by the Rapid Climate Change (RAPID) array. Particle filtering techniques as demonstrated here could have a useful role in improving the starting point for traditional model-tuning exercises in coupled climate models.

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Yang Chen, Wei Chen, Qin Su, Feifei Luo, Sarah Sparrow, David Wallom, Fangxing Tian, Buwen Dong, Simon F. B. Tett, and Fraser C. Lott
Open access
Carly R. Tozer, James S. Risbey, Michael Grose, Didier P. Monselesan, Dougal T. Squire, Amanda S. Black, Doug Richardson, Sarah N. Sparrow, Sihan Li, and David Wallom
Free access