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Alexandre Laîné, Masa Kageyama, Pascale Braconnot, and Ramdane Alkama

Abstract

The temperature response to a greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration change is studied in an ocean–atmosphere coupled model—L’Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace Coupled Model, version 4 (IPSL-CM4)—for both a glacial and an interglacial context. The response to a GHG concentration changing from Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to preindustrial values is similar for both climatic contexts in terms of temperature pattern, but the magnitude is greater under modern ones. The model simulates the classical amplification of the temperature response in the northern high latitudes compared to lower latitudes and over the land surfaces compared to the ocean.

The physical reasons for the differential warming according to the latitude and to the surface type are studied through an analysis of the energy flux changes, which are decomposed to consider and quantify many different physical processes. The results highlight the role of many different factors in the thermal response to a GHG forcing for different regions, and stress, for instance, the large effect of increased water vapor concentration in the atmosphere. Concerning the land–sea warming ratio, several fluxes contribute to the final value of the ratio, with latent flux having the greatest influence. The different contributions are quantified. The comparison of the flux changes between the interglacial and glacial contexts shows that the differences are more than a simple effect of different surface emissions of the base state. It suggests that the climatic context is particularly important for the cloud and oceanic advection responses to the forcing, along with albedo effects.

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Gwendal Rivière, Ségolène Berthou, Guillaume Lapeyre, and Masa Kageyama

Abstract

The North Atlantic storminess of Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) fully coupled climate simulations is generally less intense than that of their preindustrial (PI) counterparts, despite having stronger baroclinicity. An explanation for this counterintuitive result is presented by comparing two simulations of the IPSL full climate model forced by Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (PMIP3) LGM and PI conditions. Two additional numerical experiments using a simplified dry general circulation model forced by idealized topography and a relaxation in temperature provide guidance for the dynamical interpretation. The forced experiment with idealized Rockies and an idealized Laurentide Ice Sheet has a less intense North Atlantic storm-track activity than the forced experiment with idealized Rockies only, despite similar baroclinicity. Both the climate and idealized runs satisfy or support the following statements. The reduced storm-track intensity can be explained by a reduced baroclinic conversion, which itself comes from a loss in eddy efficiency to tap the available potential energy as shown by energetic budgets. The eddy heat fluxes are northeastward oriented in the western Atlantic in LGM and are less well aligned with the mean temperature gradient than in PI. The southern slope of the Laurentide Ice Sheet topography forces the eddy geopotential isolines to be zonally oriented at low levels in its proximity. This distorts the tubes of constant eddy geopotential in such a way that they tilt northwestward with height during baroclinic growth in LGM while they are more optimally westward tilted in PI.

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Alexandre Laîné, Masa Kageyama, David Salas-Mélia, Gilles Ramstein, Serge Planton, Sébastien Denvil, and Sophie Tyteca

Abstract

Different possible behaviors of winter Northern Hemisphere storm tracks under 4 × CO2 forcing are considered by analyzing the response of two of the ocean–atmosphere coupled models that were run for the fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-AR4), namely the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace’s global coupled model (IPSL-CM4) and the Centre National de Recherches Meteorologiques’s coupled ocean–atmosphere model (CNRM-CM3). It is interesting to compare these models due to their very different responses, especially concerning the North Atlantic storm track.

A local energetics study of the synoptic variability in both models is performed, derived from the eddy energy equations, including diabatic terms. The ability of both models to simulate the present-day eddy energetics is considered, indicating no major discrepancies.

Both models indicate that the primary cause for synoptic activity changes at the western end of the storm tracks is related to the baroclinic conversion process, due to mean temperature gradient changes in some localized regions of the western oceanic basins, but also resulting from changes in the eddy efficiency to convert energy from the mean flow. Farther downstream, latent heat release during the developing and mature stages of eddies becomes an important eddy energy source especially in terms of changes between 4 × CO2 and preindustrial conditions. This diabatic process amplifies the upstream synoptic (hence usually baroclinic) changes, with more and/or stronger storms implying more latent heat being released (and the converse being true for weaker synoptic activity). This amplification is asymmetrical for the models considered under the simulated 4 × CO2 conditions, due to a greater amount of water vapor contained in warmer air and hence the potential for more condensation for a given synoptic activity. The magnitude of the reduced latent heating is attenuated, whereas increased latent heating is strengthened. Ageostrophic geopotential fluxes are also important in relocating eddy kinetic energy, especially in the vertical.

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Virginie Guemas, David Salas-Mélia, Masa Kageyama, Hervé Giordani, and Aurore Voldoire

Abstract

This study investigates the nonlinear processes by which the ocean diurnal variations can affect the intraseasonal sea surface temperature (SST) variability in the Atlantic Ocean. The Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques one-dimensional ocean model (CNRMOM1D) is forced with the 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) surface fluxes with a 1-h frequency in solar heat flux in a first simulation and with a daily forcing frequency in a second simulation. This model has a vertical resolution of 1 m near the surface. The comparison between both experiments shows that the daily mean surface temperature is modified by about 0.3°–0.5°C if the ocean diurnal variations are represented, and this correction can persist for 15–40 days in the midlatitudes and more than 60 days in the tropics. The so-called rectification mechanism, by which the ocean diurnal warming enhances the intraseasonal SST variability by 20%–40%, is found to be robust in the tropics. In contrast, in the midlatitudes, diurnal variations in wind stress and nonsolar heat flux are shown to affect the daily mean SST. For example, an intense wind stress or nonsolar heat flux toward the atmosphere during the first half of the day followed by weak fluxes during the second half result in a shallow mixed layer. The following day, the preconditioning results in heat being trapped near the surface and the daily mean surface temperature being higher than if these diurnal variations in surface forcings were not resolved.

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Didier Swingedouw, Juliette Mignot, Pascale Braconnot, Eloi Mosquet, Masa Kageyama, and Ramdane Alkama

Abstract

The response of climate to freshwater input in the North Atlantic (NA) has raised a lot of concern about the issue of climate stability since the discovery of abrupt coolings during the last glacial period. Such coolings have usually been related to a weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), probably associated with massive iceberg surges or meltwater pulses. Additionally, the recent increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has also raised the possibility of a melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which may impact the future AMOC, and thereby the climate. In this study, the extent to which the mean climate influences the freshwater release linked to ice sheet melting in the NA and the associated climatic response is explored. For this purpose the simulations of several climatic states [last interglacial, Last Glacial Maximum, mid-Holocene, preindustrial, and future (2 × CO2)] are considered, and the climatic response to a freshwater input computed interactively according to a surface heat flux budget over the ice sheets is analyzed. It is shown that the AMOC response is not linear with the freshwater input and depends on the mean climate state. The climatic responses to these different AMOC changes share qualitative similarities for the general picture, notably a cooling in the Northern Hemisphere and a southward shift of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) in the Atlantic and across the Panama Isthmus. The cooling in the Northern Hemisphere is related to the sea ice cover response, which strongly depends on the responses of the atmospheric circulation, the local oceanic heat transport, and the density threshold of the oceanic convection sites. These feedbacks and the magnitude of temperature and precipitation changes outside the North Atlantic depend on the mean climate.

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Gwendal Rivière, Alexandre Laîné, Guillaume Lapeyre, David Salas-Mélia, and Masa Kageyama

Abstract

Upper-tropospheric Rossby wave–breaking processes are examined in coupled ocean–atmosphere simulations of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and of the modern era. LGM statistics of the Northern Hemisphere in winter, computed from the Paleoclimate Modeling Intercomparison Project Phase II (PMIP2) dataset, are compared with those from preindustrial simulations and from the 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40). Particular attention is given to the role of wave-breaking events in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) for each simulation. Anticyclonic (AWB) and cyclonic (CWB) wave-breaking events during LGM are shown to be less and more frequent, respectively, than in the preindustrial climate, especially in the Pacific. This is consistent with the slight equatorward shift of the eddy-driven jets in the LGM runs. The most remarkable feature of the simulated LGM climate is that it presents much weaker latitudinal fluctuations of the eddy-driven jets. This is accompanied by less dispersion in the wave-breaking events. A physical interpretation is provided in terms of the fluctuations of the low-level baroclinicity at the entrance of the storm tracks. The NAO in the preindustrial simulations and in ERA-40 is characterized by strong latitudinal fluctuations of the Atlantic eddy-driven jet as well as by significant changes in the nature of the wave breaking. During the positive phase, the eddy-driven jet moves to the north with more AWB events than usual and is well separated from the subtropical African jet. The negative phase exhibits a more equatorward Atlantic jet and more CWB events. In contrast, the LGM NAO is less well marked by the latitudinal vacillation of the Atlantic jet and for some models this property disappears entirely. The LGM NAO corresponds more to acceleration–deceleration or extension–retraction of the Atlantic jet. The hemispheric point of view of the Arctic Oscillation exhibits similar changes.

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Mark A. Cane, Pascale Braconnot, Amy Clement, Hezi Gildor, Sylvie Joussaume, Masa Kageyama, Myriam Khodri, Didier Paillard, Simon Tett, and Eduardo Zorita

Abstract

This paper briefly surveys areas of paleoclimate modeling notable for recent progress. New ideas, including hypotheses giving a pivotal role to sea ice, have revitalized the low-order models used to simulate the time evolution of glacial cycles through the Pleistocene, a prohibitive length of time for comprehensive general circulation models (GCMs). In a recent breakthrough, however, GCMs have succeeded in simulating the onset of glaciations. This occurs at times (most recently, 115 kyr b.p.) when high northern latitudes are cold enough to maintain a snow cover and tropical latitudes are warm, enhancing the moisture source. More generally, the improvement in models has allowed simulations of key periods such as the Last Glacial Maximum and the mid-Holocene that compare more favorably and in more detail with paleoproxy data. These models now simulate ENSO cycles, and some of them have been shown to reproduce the reduction of ENSO activity observed in the early to middle Holocene. Modeling studies have demonstrated that the reduction is a response to the altered orbital configuration at that time. An urgent challenge for paleoclimate modeling is to explain and to simulate the abrupt changes observed during glacial epochs (i.e., Dansgaard–Oescher cycles, Heinrich events, and the Younger Dryas). Efforts have begun to simulate the last millennium. Over this time the forcing due to orbital variations is less important than the radiance changes due to volcanic eruptions and variations in solar output. Simulations of these natural variations test the models relied on for future climate change projections. They provide better estimates of the internal and naturally forced variability at centennial time scales, elucidating how unusual the recent global temperature trends are.

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