Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 20 items for

  • Author or Editor: R. J. Stouffer x
  • All content x
Clear All Modify Search
S. Manabe and R. J. Stouffer

Abstract

ABSTRACT NOT AVAILABLE

Full access
S. Manabe and R. J. Stouffer

Abstract

Two stable equilibria have been obtained from a global model of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system developed at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of NOAA. The model used for this study consists of general circulation models of the atmosphere and the world oceans and a simple model of land surface. Starting from two different initial conditions, “asynchronous” time integrations of the coupled model, under identical boundary conditions, lead to two stable equilibria. In one equilibrium, the North Atlantic Oman has a vigorous thermohaline circulation and relatively saline and warm surface water. In the other equilibrium, there is no thermohaline circulation, and an intense halocline exists in the surface layer at high latitudes. In both integration the, air-sea exchange of water is adjusted to remove a systematic bias of the model that surpresses the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic. Nevertheless these results raise the intriguing possibility that the coupled system may have at least two equilibria. They also suggest that the themohaline overturning in the North Atlantic is mainly responsible for making the surface salinity of the northern North Atlantic higher than that of the northern North Pacific. Finally, a discussion is made on the paleoclimatic implications of these results for the large and abrupt transition between the Alleröd and Younger Dryas events which occurred about 11 000 years ago.

Full access
R. J. Stouffer and R. T. Wetherald

Abstract

This study documents the temperature variance change in two different versions of a coupled ocean–atmosphere general circulation model forced with estimates of future increases of greenhouse gas (GHG) and aerosol concentrations. The variance changes are examined using an ensemble of 8 transient integrations for the older model version and 10 transient integrations for the newer one. Monthly and annual data are used to compute the mean and variance changes. Emphasis is placed upon computing and analyzing the variance changes for the middle of the twenty-first century and compared with those found in a control integration.

The large-scale variance of lower-tropospheric temperature (including surface air temperature) generally decreases in high latitudes particularly during fall due to a delayed onset of sea ice as the climate warms. Sea ice acts to insolate the atmosphere from the much larger heat capacity of the ocean. Therefore, the near-surface temperature variance tends to be larger over the sea ice–covered regions, than the nearby ice-free regions. The near-surface temperature variance also decreases during the winter and spring due to a general reduction in the extent of sea ice during winter and spring.

Changes in storminess were also examined and were found to have relatively little effect upon the reduction of temperature variance. Generally small changes of surface air temperature variance occurred in low and midlatitudes over both land and oceanic areas year-round. An exception to this was a general reduction of variance in the equatorial Pacific Ocean for the newer model. Small increases in the surface air temperature variance occur in mid- to high latitudes during the summer months, suggesting the possibility of more frequent and longer-lasting heat waves in response to increasing GHGs.

Full access
T. Delworth, S. Manabe, and R. J. Stouffer

Abstract

A fully coupled ocean-atmosphere model is shown to have irregular oscillations of the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean with a time scale of approximately 50 years. The irregular oscillation appears to be driven by density anomalies in the sinking region of the thermohaline circulation (approximately 52°N to 72°N) combined with much smaller density anomalies of opposite sign in the broad, rising region. The spatial pattern of see surface temperature anomalies associated with this irregular oscillation bears an encouraging resemblance to a pattern of observed interdecadal variability in the North Atlantic. The anomalies of sea surface temperature induce model surface air temperature anomalies over the northern North Atlantic, Arctic, and northwestern Europe.

Full access
S. Manabe, M. J. Spelman, and R. J. Stouffer

Abstract

This study investigates the seasonal variation of the transient response of a coupled ocean-atmosphere model to a gradual increase (or decrease) of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The model is a general circulation model of the coupled atmosphere-ocean-land surface system with a global computational domain, smoothed geography, and seasonal variation of insolation.

It was found that the increase of surface air temperature in response to a gradual increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide is at a maximum over the Arctic Ocean and its surroundings in the late fall and winter. On the other hand, the Arctic warming is at a minimum in summer. In sharp contrast to the situation in the Arctic Ocean, the increase of surface air temperature and its seasonal variation in the circumpolar ocean of the Southern Hemisphere are very small because of the vertical mixing of heat over a deep water column.

In response to the gradual increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide, soil moisture is reduced during the June-July-August period over most of the continents in the Northern Hemisphere with the notable exception of the Indian subcontinent, where it increases. The summer reduction of soil moisture in the Northern Hemisphere is relatively large over the region stretching from the northern United States to western Canada, eastern China, southern Europe, Scandinavia, and most of the Russian Republic. During the December-January-February period, soil moisture increases in middle and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. The increase is relatively large over the western portion of the Russian Republic and the central portion of Canada. On the other hand, it is reduced in the subtropics, particularly over Southeast Asia and Mexico.

Because of the reduction (or delay) in the warming of the oceanic surface due to the thermal inertia of the oceans, the increase of the moisture supply from the oceans to continents is reduced, thereby contributing to the reduction of both soil moisture and runoff over the continents in middle and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. This mechanism enhances the summer reduction of soil moisture and lessens its increase during winter in these latitudes.

The changes in surface air temperature and soil moisture in response to the gradual reduction of atmospheric CO2 are opposite in sign but have seasonal and geographical distributions that are broadly similar to the response to the gradual CO2 increase described above.

Full access
S. Manabe, R. J. Stouffer, M. J. Spelman, and K. Bryan

Abstract

This study investigates the response of a climate model to a gradual increase or decrease of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The model is a general circulation model of the coupled atmosphere-ocean-land surface system with global geography and seasonal variation of insulation. To offset the bias of the coupled model toward settling into an unrealistic state, the fluxes of heat and water at the ocean-atmosphere interface are adjusted by amounts that vary with season and geography but do not change from one year to the next. Starting from a quasi-equilibrium climate, three numerical time integrations of the coupled model are performed with gradually increasing, constant, and gradually decreasing concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

It is noted that the simulated response of sea surface temperature is very slow over the northern North Atlantic and the Circumpolar Ocean of the Southern Hemisphere where vertical mixing of water penetrates very deeply. However, in most of the Northern Hemisphere and low latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, the distribution of the change in surface air temperature of the model at the time of doubling (or halving) of atmospheric carbon dioxide resembles the equilibrium response of an atmospheric-mixed layer ocean model to CO2 doubling (or halving). For example, the rise of annual mean surface air temperature in response to the gradual increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide increases with latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere and is larger over continents than oceans.

When the time-dependent response of the model oceans to the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide is compared with the corresponding response to the CO2, reduction at an identical rate, the penetration of the cold anomaly in the latter case is significantly deeper than that of the warm anomaly in the former case. The lack of symmetry in the penetration depth of a thermal anomaly between the two cases is associated with the difference in static stability, which is due mainly to the change in the vertical distribution of salinity in high latitudes and temperature changes in middle and low latitudes.

Despite the difference in penetration depth and accordingly, the effective thermal inertia of the oceans between the two experiments, the time-dependent response of the global mean surface air temperature in the CO2 reduction experiment is similar in magnitude to the corresponding response in the CO2 growth experiment. In the former experiment with a colder climate, snow and sea ice with high surface albedo cover a much larger area, thereby enhancing their positive feedback effect upon surface air temperature. On the other hand, surface cooling is reduced due to the larger effective thermal inertia of the oceans. Because of the compensation between these two effects, the magnitude of surface air temperature response turned out to be similar between the two experiments.

Full access
R. L. Beadling, J. L. Russell, R. J. Stouffer, and P. J. Goodman

Abstract

Observationally based metrics derived from the Rapid Climate Change (RAPID) array are used to assess the large-scale ocean circulation in the subtropical North Atlantic simulated in a suite of fully coupled climate models that contributed to phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). The modeled circulation at 26.5°N is decomposed into four components similar to those RAPID observes to estimate the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC): the northward-flowing western boundary current (WBC), the southward transport in the upper midocean, the near-surface Ekman transport, and the southward deep ocean transport. The decadal-mean AMOC and the transports associated with its flow are captured well by CMIP5 models at the start of the twenty-first century. By the end of the century, under representative concentration pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5), averaged across models, the northward transport of waters in the upper WBC is projected to weaken by 7.6 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1; −21%). This reduced northward flow is a combined result of a reduction in the subtropical gyre return flow in the upper ocean (−2.9 Sv; −12%) and a weakened net southward transport in the deep ocean (−4.4 Sv; −28%) corresponding to the weakened AMOC. No consistent long-term changes of the Ekman transport are found across models. The reduced southward transport in the upper ocean is associated with a reduction in wind stress curl (WSC) across the North Atlantic subtropical gyre, largely through Sverdrup balance. This reduced WSC and the resulting decrease in the horizontal gyre transport is a robust feature found across the CMIP5 models under increased CO2 forcing.

Open access
R. L. Beadling, J. L. Russell, R. J. Stouffer, P. J. Goodman, and M. Mazloff

Abstract

The Southern Ocean (SO) is vital to Earth’s climate system due to its dominant role in exchanging carbon and heat between the ocean and atmosphere and transforming water masses. Evaluating the ability of fully coupled climate models to accurately simulate SO circulation and properties is crucial for building confidence in model projections and advancing model fidelity. By analyzing multiple biases collectively across large model ensembles, physical mechanisms governing the diverse mean-state SO circulation found across models can be identified. This analysis 1) assesses the ability of a large ensemble of models contributed to phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) to simulate observationally based metrics associated with an accurate representation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), and 2) presents a framework by which the quality of the simulation can be categorized and mechanisms governing the resulting circulation can be deduced. Different combinations of biases in critical metrics including the magnitude and position of the zonally averaged westerly wind stress maximum, wind-driven surface divergence, surface buoyancy fluxes, and properties and transport of North Atlantic Deep Water entering the SO produce distinct mean-state ACC transports. Relative to CMIP3, the quality of the CMIP5 SO simulations has improved. Eight of the thirty-one models simulate an ACC within observational uncertainty (2σ) for approximately the right reasons; that is, the models achieve accuracy in the surface wind stress forcing and the representation of the difference in the meridional density across the current. Improved observations allow for a better assessment of the SO circulation and its properties.

Full access
J. M. Gregory, R. J. Stouffer, S. C. B. Raper, P. A. Stott, and N. A. Rayner

Abstract

A probability distribution for values of the effective climate sensitivity, with a lower bound of 1.6 K (5th percentile), is obtained on the basis of the increase in ocean heat content in recent decades from analyses of observed interior-ocean temperature changes, surface temperature changes measured since 1860, and estimates of anthropogenic and natural radiative forcing of the climate system. Radiative forcing is the greatest source of uncertainty in the calculation; the result also depends somewhat on the rate of ocean heat uptake in the late nineteenth century, for which an assumption is needed as there is no observational estimate. Because the method does not use the climate sensitivity simulated by a general circulation model, it provides an independent observationally based constraint on this important parameter of the climate system.

Full access
Joellen L. Russell, Keith W. Dixon, Anand Gnanadesikan, Ronald J. Stouffer, and J. R. Toggweiler

Abstract

A coupled climate model with poleward-intensified westerly winds simulates significantly higher storage of heat and anthropogenic carbon dioxide by the Southern Ocean in the future when compared with the storage in a model with initially weaker, equatorward-biased westerlies. This difference results from the larger outcrop area of the dense waters around Antarctica and more vigorous divergence, which remains robust even as rising atmospheric greenhouse gas levels induce warming that reduces the density of surface waters in the Southern Ocean. These results imply that the impact of warming on the stratification of the global ocean may be reduced by the poleward intensification of the westerlies, allowing the ocean to remove additional heat and anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Full access