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Edward W. Doddridge, John Marshall, Hajoon Song, Jean-Michel Campin, and Maxwell Kelley

Abstract

The observational record shows a substantial 40-yr upward trend in summertime westerly winds over the Southern Ocean, as characterized by the southern annular mode (SAM) index. Enhanced summertime westerly winds have been linked to cold summertime sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies. Previous studies have suggested that Ekman transport or upwelling is responsible for this seasonal cooling. Here, another process is presented in which enhanced vertical mixing, driven by summertime wind anomalies, moves heat downward, cooling the sea surface and simultaneously warming the subsurface waters. The anomalously cold SSTs draw heat from the atmosphere into the ocean, leading to increased depth-integrated ocean heat content. The subsurface heat is returned to the surface mixed layer during the autumn and winter as the mixed layer deepens, leading to anomalously warm SSTs and potentially reducing sea ice cover. Observational analyses and numerical experiments support our proposed mechanism, showing that enhanced vertical mixing produces subsurface warming and cools the surface mixed layer. Nevertheless, the dominant driver of surface cooling remains uncertain; the relative importance of advective and mixing contributions to the surface cooling is model dependent. Modeling results suggest that sea ice volume is more sensitive to summertime winds than sea ice extent, implying that enhanced summertime westerly winds may lead to thinner sea ice in the following winter, if not lesser ice extent. Thus, strong summertime winds could precondition the sea ice cover for a rapid retreat in the following melt season.

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Marvin A. Geller, Tiehan Zhou, Reto Ruedy, Igor Aleinov, Larissa Nazarenko, Nikolai L. Tausnev, Shan Sun, Maxwell Kelley, and Ye Cheng

Abstract

Previous versions of GISS climate models have either used formulations of Rayleigh drag to represent unresolved gravity wave interactions with the model-resolved flow or have included a rather complicated treatment of unresolved gravity waves that, while being climate interactive, involved the specification of a relatively large number of parameters that were not well constrained by observations and also was computationally very expensive. Here, the authors introduce a relatively simple and computationally efficient specification of unresolved orographic and nonorographic gravity waves and their interaction with the resolved flow. Comparisons of the GISS model winds and temperatures with no gravity wave parameterization; with only orographic gravity wave parameterization; and with both orographic and nonorographic gravity wave parameterizations are shown to illustrate how the zonal mean winds and temperatures converge toward observations. The authors also show that the specifications of orographic and nonorographic gravity waves must be different in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Then results are presented where the nonorographic gravity wave sources are specified to represent sources from convection in the intertropical convergence zone and spontaneous emission from jet imbalances. Finally, a strategy to include these effects in a climate-dependent manner is suggested.

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Benjamin I. Cook, Richard Seager, A. Park Williams, Michael J. Puma, Sonali McDermid, Maxwell Kelley, and Larissa Nazarenko

Abstract

In the mid-twentieth century (1948–57), North America experienced a severe drought forced by cold tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs). If these SSTs recurred, it would likely cause another drought, but in a world substantially warmer than the one in which the original event took place. We use a 20-member ensemble of the GISS climate model to investigate the drought impacts of a repetition of the mid-twentieth-century SST anomalies in a significantly warmer world. Using observed SSTs and mid-twentieth-century forcings (Hist-DRGHT), the ensemble reproduces the observed precipitation deficits during the cold season (October–March) across the Southwest, southern plains, and Mexico and during the warm season (April–September) in the southern plains and the Southeast. Under analogous SST forcing and enhanced warming (Fut-DRGHT, ≈3 K above preindustrial), cold season precipitation deficits are ameliorated in the Southwest and southern plains and intensified in the Southeast, whereas during the warm season precipitation deficits are enhanced across North America. This occurs primarily from greenhouse gas–forced trends in mean precipitation, rather than changes in SST teleconnections. Cold season runoff deficits in Fut-DRGHT are significantly amplified over the Southeast, but otherwise similar to Hist-DRGHT over the Southwest and southern plains. In the warm season, however, runoff and soil moisture deficits during Fut-DRGHT are significantly amplified across the southern United States, a consequence of enhanced precipitation deficits and increased evaporative losses due to warming. Our study highlights how internal variability and greenhouse gas–forced trends in hydroclimate are likely to interact over North America, including how changes in both precipitation and evaporative demand will affect future drought.

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Daehyun Kim, Adam H. Sobel, Anthony D. Del Genio, Yonghua Chen, Suzana J. Camargo, Mao-Sung Yao, Maxwell Kelley, and Larissa Nazarenko

Abstract

The tropical subseasonal variability simulated by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies general circulation model, Model E2, is examined. Several versions of Model E2 were developed with changes to the convective parameterization in order to improve the simulation of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). When the convective scheme is modified to have a greater fractional entrainment rate, Model E2 is able to simulate MJO-like disturbances with proper spatial and temporal scales. Increasing the rate of rain reevaporation has additional positive impacts on the simulated MJO. The improvement in MJO simulation comes at the cost of increased biases in the mean state, consistent in structure and amplitude with those found in other GCMs when tuned to have a stronger MJO. By reinitializing a relatively poor-MJO version with restart files from a relatively better-MJO version, a series of 30-day integrations is constructed to examine the impacts of the parameterization changes on the organization of tropical convection. The poor-MJO version with smaller entrainment rate has a tendency to allow convection to be activated over a broader area and to reduce the contrast between dry and wet regimes so that tropical convection becomes less organized. Besides the MJO, the number of tropical-cyclone-like vortices simulated by the model is also affected by changes in the convection scheme. The model simulates a smaller number of such storms globally with a larger entrainment rate, while the number increases significantly with a greater rain reevaporation rate.

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Suzana J. Camargo, Claudia F. Giulivi, Adam H. Sobel, Allison A. Wing, Daehyun Kim, Yumin Moon, Jeffrey D. O. Strong, Anthony D. Del Genio, Maxwell Kelley, Hiroyuki Murakami, Kevin A. Reed, Enrico Scoccimarro, Gabriel A. Vecchi, Michael F. Wehner, Colin Zarzycki, and Ming Zhao

Abstract

Here we explore the relationship between the global climatological characteristics of tropical cyclones (TCs) in climate models and the modeled large-scale environment across a large number of models. We consider the climatology of TCs in 30 climate models with a wide range of horizontal resolutions. We examine if there is a systematic relationship between the climatological diagnostics for the TC activity [number of tropical cyclones (NTC) and accumulated cyclone energy (ACE)] by hemisphere in the models and the environmental fields usually associated with TC activity, when examined across a large number of models. For low-resolution models, there is no association between a conducive environment and TC activity, when integrated over space (tropical hemisphere) and time (all years of the simulation). As the model resolution increases, for a couple of variables, in particular vertical wind shear, there is a statistically significant relationship in between the models’ TC characteristics and the environmental characteristics, but in most cases the relationship is either nonexistent or the opposite of what is expected based on observations. It is important to stress that these results do not imply that there is no relationship between individual models’ environmental fields and their TC activity by basin with respect to intraseasonal or interannual variability or due to climate change. However, it is clear that when examined across many models, the models’ mean state does not have a consistent relationship with the models’ mean TC activity. Therefore, other processes associated with the model physics, dynamical core, and resolution determine the climatological TC activity in climate models.

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