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Tido Semmler
,
Daniela Jacob
,
K. Heinke Schlünzen
, and
Ralf Podzun

Abstract

The Arctic plays a major role in the global circulation, and its water and energy budget is not as well explored as that in other regions of the world. The aim of this study is to calculate the climatological mean water and energy fluxes depending on the season and on the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) through the lower, lateral, and upper boundaries of the Arctic atmosphere north of 70°N. The relevant fluxes are derived from results of the regional climate model (REMO 5.1), which is applied to the Arctic region for the time period 1979–2000. Model forcing data are a combination of 15-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-15) data and analysis data. The annual and seasonal total water and energy fluxes derived from REMO 5.1 results are very similar to the fluxes calculated from observational and reanalysis data, although there are some differences in the components. The agreement between simulated and observed total fluxes shows that these fluxes are reliable. Even if differences between high and low NAO situations occur in our simulation consistent with previous studies, these differences are mostly smaller than the large uncertainties due to a small sample size of the NAO high and low composites.

Full access
Torben Schmith
,
Shuting Yang
,
Emily Gleeson
, and
Tido Semmler

Abstract

The surface of the world’s oceans has been warming since the beginning of industrialization. In addition to this, multidecadal sea surface temperature (SST) variations of internal origin exist. Evidence suggests that the North Atlantic Ocean exhibits the strongest multidecadal SST variations and that these variations are connected to the overturning circulation.

This work investigates the extent to which these internal multidecadal variations have contributed to enhancing or diminishing the trend induced by the external radiative forcing, globally and in the North Atlantic. A model study is carried out wherein the analyses of a long control simulation with constant radiative forcing at preindustrial level and of an ensemble of simulations with historical forcing from 1850 until 2005 are combined. First, it is noted that global SST trends calculated from the different historical simulations are similar, while there is a large disagreement between the North Atlantic SST trends. Then the control simulation is analyzed, where a relationship between SST anomalies and anomalies in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) for multidecadal and longer time scales is identified. This relationship enables the extraction of the AMOC-related SST variability from each individual member of the ensemble of historical simulations and then the calculation of the SST trends with the AMOC-related variability excluded. For the global SST trends this causes only a little difference while SST trends with AMOC-related variability excluded for the North Atlantic show closer agreement than with the AMOC-related variability included. From this it is concluded that AMOC variability has contributed significantly to North Atlantic SST trends since the mid nineteenth century.

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Tido Semmler
,
Daniela Jacob
,
K. Heinke Schlünzen
, and
Ralf Podzun

Abstract

The influence of two simple descriptions for the sea ice distribution on boundary layer values is investigated by comparing model results from the regional climate model REMO with measured data in the Fram Strait in April 1999. One method for determining the sea ice distribution in REMO is to diagnose the sea ice cover from the prescribed surface temperature and allow each grid cell to be either completely free of ice or completely covered by ice (REMO-original). The other one is to employ a partial sea ice concentration in each REMO grid cell with the input data derived from satellite data (REMO-partial). Surface fluxes are average values of the ice and water partial fluxes. There is a clearly better agreement between measured and simulated surface and boundary layer temperatures and humidities when using REMO-partial compared to REMO-original. The closed ice cover in REMO-original leads to downward sensible heat fluxes over ice, whereas the ice cover with leads and polynyas in REMO-partial leads to smaller downward or even upward sensible heat fluxes. The introduction of the partial sea ice concentration smoothes unrealistically sharp gradients between ice-covered and ice-free regions. which can influence cloud cover and precipitation. An additional result of the study is that the simulation of the albedo could be improved in allowing a larger range of sea ice albedos and introducing a water albedo dependent on sun zenith angle.

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Jan Streffing
,
Tido Semmler
,
Lorenzo Zampieri
, and
Thomas Jung

ABSTRACT

The impact of Arctic sea ice decline on the weather and climate in midlatitudes is still much debated, with observations suggesting a strong link and models a much weaker link. In this study, we use the atmospheric model OpenIFS in a set of model experiments following the protocol outlined in the Polar Amplification Model Intercomparison Project (PAMIP) to investigate whether the simulated atmospheric response to future changes in Arctic sea ice fundamentally depends on model resolution. More specifically, we increase the horizontal resolution of the model from 125 to 39 km with 91 vertical levels; in a second step, resolution is further increased to 16 km with 137 levels in the vertical. The model does produce a response to sea ice decline with a weaker midlatitude Atlantic jet and increased blocking in the high-latitude Atlantic, but no sensitivity to resolution can be detected with 100 members. Furthermore, we find that the ensemble convergence toward the mean is not impacted by the model resolutions considered here.

Open access
Ray McGrath
,
Tido Semmler
,
Conor Sweeney
, and
Shiyu Wang

Abstract

Radiosonde data are a valuable resource in the detection of climate change in the upper atmosphere. Long time series of stratospheric temperature data, carefully screened and corrected to remove errors, are available for this purpose. Normal reporting practice usually ascribes a fixed time and position (the station location) to all data reported in the ascent. In reality, the ascent may take around 90 min to complete and the spatial drift of the radiosonde may exceed 200 km. This note examines the magnitude of the errors associated with this practice using simulated radiosonde data generated from the ECMWF reanalysis archive. The results suggest that the temperature errors, while generally small in the troposphere, are locally significant in the stratosphere, particularly in the jet stream areas. However, the impact of the drift errors on global climate statistics is very small. Errors in the wind and humidity data are also examined.

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Antonio Sánchez-Benítez
,
Helge Goessling
,
Felix Pithan
,
Tido Semmler
, and
Thomas Jung

Abstract

Extreme weather events are triggered by atmospheric circulation patterns and shaped by slower components, including soil moisture and sea surface temperature, and by the background climate. This separation of factors is exploited by the storyline approach in which an atmospheric model is nudged toward the observed dynamics using different climate boundary conditions to explore their influence. The storyline approach disregards uncertain climatic changes in the frequency and intensity of dynamical conditions, focusing instead on the thermodynamic influence of climate on extreme events. Here we demonstrate an advanced storyline approach that employs a coupled climate model (AWI-CM-1-1-MR) in which the large-scale free-troposphere dynamics are nudged toward ERA5 data. Five-member ensembles are run for present-day (2017–19), preindustrial, +2-K, and +4-K climates branching off from CMIP6 historical and scenario simulations of the same model. In contrast to previous studies, which employed atmosphere-only models, feedbacks between extreme events and the ocean and sea ice state, and the dependence of such feedbacks on the climate, are consistently simulated. Our setup is capable of reproducing observed anomalies of relevant unconstrained parameters, including near-surface temperature, cloud cover, soil moisture, sea surface temperature, and sea ice concentration. Focusing on the July 2019 European heat wave, we find that the strongest warming amplification expands from southern to central Europe over the course of the twenty-first century. The warming reaches up to 10 K in the 4-K-warmer climate, suggesting that an analogous event would entail peak temperatures around 50°C in central Europe.

Significance Statement

This work explores a new storyline method to determine the impact of climate change on specific recent extreme events. The observed evolution of the large-scale atmospheric circulation is imposed in a coupled climate model. Variations in climate parameters, including ocean temperatures and sea ice, are well reproduced. By varying the background climate, including CO2 concentrations, it is demonstrated how the July 2019 European heat wave could have evolved in preindustrial times and in warmer climates. For example, up to 10°C warmer peak temperatures could occur in central Europe in a 4°C warmer climate. The method should be explored for other types of extreme events and has the potential to make climate change more tangible and to inform adaptation measures.

Open access
Tido Semmler
,
Lukrecia Stulic
,
Thomas Jung
,
Natalia Tilinina
,
Camila Campos
,
Sergey Gulev
, and
Darko Koracin

Abstract

Arctic sea ice decline is expected to continue throughout the twenty-first century as a result of increased greenhouse gas concentrations. Here we investigate the impact of a strong Arctic sea ice decline on the atmospheric circulation and low pressure systems in the Northern Hemisphere through numerical experimentation with a coupled climate model. More specifically, a large ensemble of 1-yr-long integrations, initialized on 1 June with Arctic sea ice thickness artificially reduced by 80%, is compared to corresponding unperturbed control experiments. The sensitivity experiment shows an ice-free Arctic from July to October; during autumn the largest near-surface temperature increase of about 15 K is found in the central Arctic, which goes along with a reduced meridional temperature gradient, a decreased jet stream, and a southward shifted Northern Hemisphere storm track; and the near-surface temperature response in winter and spring reduces substantially due to relatively fast sea ice growth during the freezing season. Changes in the maximum Eady growth rate are generally below 5% and hardly significant, with reduced vertical wind shear and reduced vertical stability counteracting each other. The reduced vertical wind shear manifests itself in a decrease of synoptic activity by up to 10% and shallower cyclones while the reduced vertical stability along with stronger diabatic heating due to more available moisture may be responsible for the stronger deepening rates and thus faster cyclone development once a cyclone starts to form. Furthermore, precipitation minus evaporation decreases over the Arctic because the increase in evaporation outweighs that for precipitation, with implications for the ocean stratification and hence ocean circulation.

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EC-Earth

A Seamless Earth-System Prediction Approach in Action

Wilco Hazeleger
,
Camiel Severijns
,
Tido Semmler
,
Simona Ştefănescu
,
Shuting Yang
,
Xueli Wang
,
Klaus Wyser
,
Emanuel Dutra
,
José M. Baldasano
,
Richard Bintanja
,
Philippe Bougeault
,
Rodrigo Caballero
,
Annica M. L. Ekman
,
Jens H. Christensen
,
Bart van den Hurk
,
Pedro Jimenez
,
Colin Jones
,
Per Kållberg
,
Torben Koenigk
,
Ray McGrath
,
Pedro Miranda
,
Twan van Noije
,
Tim Palmer
,
José A. Parodi
,
Torben Schmith
,
Frank Selten
,
Trude Storelvmo
,
Andreas Sterl
,
Honoré Tapamo
,
Martin Vancoppenolle
,
Pedro Viterbo
, and
Ulrika Willén
Full access
Pablo Ortega
,
Edward W. Blockley
,
Morten Køltzow
,
François Massonnet
,
Irina Sandu
,
Gunilla Svensson
,
Juan C. Acosta Navarro
,
Gabriele Arduini
,
Lauriane Batté
,
Eric Bazile
,
Matthieu Chevallier
,
Rubén Cruz-García
,
Jonathan J. Day
,
Thierry Fichefet
,
Daniela Flocco
,
Mukesh Gupta
,
Kerstin Hartung
,
Ed Hawkins
,
Claudia Hinrichs
,
Linus Magnusson
,
Eduardo Moreno-Chamarro
,
Sergio Pérez-Montero
,
Leandro Ponsoni
,
Tido Semmler
,
Doug Smith
,
Jean Sterlin
,
Michael Tjernström
,
Ilona Välisuo
, and
Thomas Jung

Abstract

The Arctic environment is changing, increasing the vulnerability of local communities and ecosystems, and impacting its socio-economic landscape. In this context, weather and climate prediction systems can be powerful tools to support strategic planning and decision-making at different time horizons. This article presents several success stories from the H2020 project APPLICATE on how to advance Arctic weather and seasonal climate prediction, synthesizing the key lessons learned throughout the project and providing recommendations for future model and forecast system development.

Open access