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A. Navarra, W. F. Stern, and K. Miyakoda

Abstract

Spectral atmospheric general circulation models (GCMS) have been used for many years for the simulation and prediction of the atmospheric circulation, and their value has been widely recognized. Over the years, however, some deficiencies have been noticed. One of the major drawbacks is the inability of the spectral spherical harmonies transform to represent discontinuous features, resulting in Gibbs oscillations. In particular, precipitation and cloud fields present annoying ripple patterns, which may obscure true drought episodes in climate runs. Other fields, such as the surface winds along the Andes, are also plagued by the fictitious oscillations. On the other hand, it is not certain to what extent the large-scale flow may be affected. An attempt is made in this paper to alleviate this problem by changing the spectral representation of the fields in the GCM. The technique is to apply various filters to reduce the Gibbs oscillations. Lanczos and Cesaro filters are tested for both one and two dimensions. In addition, for two-dimensional applications an isotropic filter is tested. This filter is based on the Cesaro summation principle with a constraint on the total wavenumber. At the end, two-dimensional physical space filters are proposed that can retain high-mountain peak values. Two applications of these filters are presented.

In the first application the method is applied to the orography field by filtering out sharp gradients or discontinuities. The numerical results with this method show some improvement in the cloud and precipitation fields, along with some improvement of the surface wind pattern, resulting in an overall better simulation.

In the second application, a Gibbs reduction technique is applied to the condensation process. In this paper the moist-adiabatic adjustment scheme is used for the cumulus parameterization, in addition to large-scale condensation. Numerical results with this method to reduce Gibbs oscillations due to condensation show some improvement in the distribution of rainfall, and the procedure significantly reduces the need for negative filling of moisture. Currently, however, this approach is only partially successful. The negative moisture area at high latitudes can be, to some extent, controlled by an empirical procedure, but the filter approach is not sophisticated enough to satisfactorily remove the complex Gibbs oscillations present in the condensation field.

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W. F. Stern and J. J. Ploshay

Abstract

Major revisions to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory's (GFDL) continuous data-assimilation system have been implemented and tested. Shortcomings noted during the original processing of data from FGGE [First GARP (Global Atmospheric Research Program) Global Experiment) served as the basis for thew improvements. This new system has been used to reanalyze the two FGGE special observing periods. The main focus here will be on assessing the changes to the assimilation system using comparisons of rerun test results with results from the original FGGE processing.

The key new features in the current system include: a reduction in the assimilation cycle from 12 to 6 h; the use of a 6-h forecast first guess for the OI (optimum-interpolation analysis) as opposed to the previous use of persistence as a first guess; an extension of the OI search range from 250 to 500 km with an increase in the maximum number of observations used per analysis point from 8 to 12; the introduction of incremental linear normal-mode initialization, eliminating the periodic nonlinear normal-mode initialization; and an increase in the horizontal resolution of the assimilating model from 30 waves to 42 waves, rhomboidally truncated.

Tests of the new system show a significant reduction in the level of noise, improved consistency between mass and momentum analyses, and a better fit of the analyses to observations. In addition, the new system has demonstrated a greater ability to resolve rapidly moving and deepening transient features, with an indication of less rejection of surface pressure data.

In addition to the quantities archived during the original FGGE data processing, components of diabatic heating from the assimilating model have also been archived. They should be used with caution to the extent that they reflect model bias and spinup in addition to real features of the general circulation.

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F. Vitart, J. L. Anderson, and W. F. Stern

Abstract

Tropical storms simulated by a nine-member ensemble of GCM integrations forced by observed SSTs have been tracked by an objective procedure for the period 1980–88. Statistics on tropical storm frequency, intensity, and first location have been produced. Statistical tools such as the chi-square and the Kolmogorov–Smirnov test indicate that there is significant potential predictability of interannual variability of simulated tropical storm frequency, intensity, and first location over most of the ocean basins. The only common point between the nine members of the ensemble is the SST forcing. This implies that SSTs play a fundamental role in model tropical storm frequency, intensity, and first location interannual variability. Although the interannual variability of tropical storm statistics is clearly affected by SST forcing in the GCM, there is also a considerable amount of noise related to internal variability of the model. An ensemble of atmospheric model simulations allows one to filter this noise and gain a better understanding of the mechanisms leading to interannual tropical storm variability.

An EOF analysis of local SSTs over each ocean basin and a combined EOF analysis of vertical wind shear, 850-mb vorticity, and 200-mb vorticity have been performed. Over some ocean basins such as the western North Atlantic, the interannual frequency of simulated tropical storms is highly correlated to the first combined EOF, but it is not significantly correlated to the first EOF of local SSTs. This suggests that over these basins the SSTs have an impact on the simulated tropical storm statistics from a remote area through the large-scale circulation as in observations. Simulated and observed tropical storm statistics have been compared. The interannual variability of simulated tropical storm statistics is consistent with observations over the ocean basins where the model simulates a realistic interannual variability of the large-scale circulation.

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F. Vitart, J. L. Anderson, and W. F. Stern

Abstract

The present study examines the simulation of the number of tropical storms produced in GCM integrations with a prescribed SST. A 9-member ensemble of 10-yr integrations (1979–88) of a T42 atmospheric model forced by observed SSTs has been produced; each ensemble member differs only in the initial atmospheric conditions. An objective procedure for tracking-model-generated tropical storms is applied to this ensemble during the last 9 yr of the integrations (1980–88). The seasonal and monthly variations of tropical storm numbers are compared with observations for each ocean basin.

Statistical tools such as the Chi-square test, the F test, and the t test are applied to the ensemble number of tropical storms, leading to the conclusion that the potential predictability is particularly strong over the western North Pacific and the eastern North Pacific, and to a lesser extent over the western North Atlantic. A set of tools including the joint probability distribution and the ranked probability score are used to evaluate the simulation skill of this ensemble simulation. The simulation skill over the western North Atlantic basin appears to be exceptionally high, particularly during years of strong potential predictability.

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Y. Zheng, D. E. Waliser, W. F. Stern, and C. Jones

Abstract

This study compares the tropical intraseasonal oscillation (TISO) variability in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) coupled general circulation model (CGCM) and the stand-alone atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM). For the AGCM simulation, the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) were specified using those from the CGCM simulation. This was done so that any differences in the TISO that emerged from the two simulations could be attributed to the coupling process and not to a difference in the mean background state. The comparison focused on analysis of the rainfall, 200-mb velocity potential, and 850-mb zonal wind data from the two simulations, for both summer and winter periods, and included comparisons to analogous diagnostics using NCEP–NCAR reanalysis and Climate Prediction Center (CPC) Merged Analysis of Precipitation (CMAP) rainfall data.

The results of the analysis showed three principal differences in the TISO variability between the coupled and uncoupled simulations. The first was that the CGCM showed an improvement in the spatial variability associated with the TISO mode, particularly for boreal summer. Specifically, the AGCM exhibited almost no TISO variability in the Indian Ocean during boreal summer—a common shortcoming among AGCMs. The CGCM, on the other hand, did show a considerable enhancement in TISO variability in this region for this season. The second was that the wavenumber–frequency spectra of the AGCM exhibited an unrealistic peak in variability at low wavenumbers (1–3, depending on the variable) and about 3 cycles yr−1 (cpy). This unrealistic peak of variability was absent in the CGCM, which otherwise tended to show good agreement with the observations. The third difference was that the AGCM showed a less realistic phase lag between the TISO-related convection and SST anomalies. In particular, the CGCM exhibited a near-quadrature relation between precipitation and SST anomalies, which is consistent with observations, while the phase lag was reduced in the AGCM by about 1.5 pentads (∼1 week). The implications of the above results, including those for the notions of “perfect SST” and “two tier” experiments, are discussed, as are the caveats associated with the study's modeling framework and analysis.

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J. J. Ploshay, W. F. Stern, and K. Miyakoda

Abstract

The reanalysis of FGGE (First GARP (Global Atmospheric Research Program) Global Experiment) data for 128 days during two special observing periods has been performed, using an improved data-assimilation system and the revised FGGE level 11 dataset. The data-assimilation scheme features forward continuous (in lime) data injection in both the original and the new systems. However, the major revisions in the new system include a better first guess and a more efficient dynamical balancing for the assimilation of observed data. The results of the implementation of this system are assessed by intercomparisons among the new FGGE analysis of other institutions such as ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) and NMC (National Meteorological Center, Washington, D.C.), and also the original GFDL (Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory) analysis. The quality of the new GFDL analysis is now comparable to those of the other two institutions. However, the moisture analysis appears to be appreciably different, suggesting that the cumulus convection parameterizations and the boundary-layer moisture fluxes in the models are responsible for this discrepancy.

A detailed investigation of the results has been carried out by comparing the analyses with radiosonde observations. This verification reveals that temperature and wind differences have been reduced considerably from the original to the new GFDL analysis; they are now competitive with those of ECMWF and NMC, while with regard to the geopotential height, differences of the GFDL reanalysis are larger than the original GFDL as well as the ECMWF and the NMC. A comparative study is also made with UCLA analyses over Asia in connection with the Indian monsoon. The results indicate that the qualities of both analyses are comparable. The capability of representing Madden-Julian oscillations in the reanalysis and in the ECMWF and old GFDL analysis is investigated by comparing with satellite observations. It is revealed that these oscillations are successfully reproduced by the new analysis; however, the agreement with the satellite data is not quite satisfactory. The utilization of satellite-observed wind (satobs) and aircraft data (aireps) in the data assimilation needs particular care. It appears that the quality control of these data in the GFDL reanalysis is too restrictive; in other words, the toss-out criterion of wind data is too small. A consequence of the failure to accept some single-level data turns out to be a fairly large discrepancy in representing the maximum wind speed in the analysis. It is also discussed that the current forward continuous-injection scheme is not adequate to obtain diabatic quantities for the archive.

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Rym Msadek, T. L. Delworth, A. Rosati, W. Anderson, G. Vecchi, Y.-S. Chang, K. Dixon, R. G. Gudgel, W. Stern, A. Wittenberg, X. Yang, F. Zeng, R. Zhang, and S. Zhang

Abstract

Decadal prediction experiments were conducted as part of phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) using the GFDL Climate Model, version 2.1 (CM2.1) forecast system. The abrupt warming of the North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre (SPG) that was observed in the mid-1990s is considered as a case study to evaluate forecast capabilities and better understand the reasons for the observed changes. Initializing the CM2.1 coupled system produces high skill in retrospectively predicting the mid-1990s shift, which is not captured by the uninitialized forecasts. All the hindcasts initialized in the early 1990s show a warming of the SPG; however, only the ensemble-mean hindcasts initialized in 1995 and 1996 are able to reproduce the observed abrupt warming and the associated decrease and contraction of the SPG. Examination of the physical mechanisms responsible for the successful retrospective predictions indicates that initializing the ocean is key to predicting the mid-1990s warming. The successful initialized forecasts show an increased Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and North Atlantic Current transport, which drive an increased advection of warm saline subtropical waters northward, leading to a westward shift of the subpolar front and, subsequently, a warming and spindown of the SPG. Significant seasonal climate impacts are predicted as the SPG warms, including a reduced sea ice concentration over the Arctic, an enhanced warming over the central United States during summer and fall, and a northward shift of the mean ITCZ. These climate anomalies are similar to those observed during a warm phase of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation, which is encouraging for future predictions of North Atlantic climate.

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G. A. Vecchi, T. Delworth, R. Gudgel, S. Kapnick, A. Rosati, A. T. Wittenberg, F. Zeng, W. Anderson, V. Balaji, K. Dixon, L. Jia, H.-S. Kim, L. Krishnamurthy, R. Msadek, W. F. Stern, S. D. Underwood, G. Villarini, X. Yang, and S. Zhang

Abstract

Tropical cyclones (TCs) are a hazard to life and property and a prominent element of the global climate system; therefore, understanding and predicting TC location, intensity, and frequency is of both societal and scientific significance. Methodologies exist to predict basinwide, seasonally aggregated TC activity months, seasons, and even years in advance. It is shown that a newly developed high-resolution global climate model can produce skillful forecasts of seasonal TC activity on spatial scales finer than basinwide, from months and seasons in advance of the TC season. The climate model used here is targeted at predicting regional climate and the statistics of weather extremes on seasonal to decadal time scales, and comprises high-resolution (50 km × 50 km) atmosphere and land components as well as more moderate-resolution (~100 km) sea ice and ocean components. The simulation of TC climatology and interannual variations in this climate model is substantially improved by correcting systematic ocean biases through “flux adjustment.” A suite of 12-month duration retrospective forecasts is performed over the 1981–2012 period, after initializing the climate model to observationally constrained conditions at the start of each forecast period, using both the standard and flux-adjusted versions of the model. The standard and flux-adjusted forecasts exhibit equivalent skill at predicting Northern Hemisphere TC season sea surface temperature, but the flux-adjusted model exhibits substantially improved basinwide and regional TC activity forecasts, highlighting the role of systematic biases in limiting the quality of TC forecasts. These results suggest that dynamical forecasts of seasonally aggregated regional TC activity months in advance are feasible.

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I.-S. Kang, K. Jin, K.-M. Lau, J. Shukla, V. Krishnamurthy, S. D. Schubert, D. E. Waliser, W. F. Stern, V. Satyan, A. Kitoh, G. A. Meehl, M. Kanamitsu, V. Ya. Galin, Akimasa Sumi, G. Wu, Y. Liu, and J.-K. Kim

Abstract

The atmospheric anomalies for the 1997/98 El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) period have been analyzed and intercompared using the data simulated by the atmospheric general circulation models (GCMs) of 11 groups participating in the Monsoon GCM Intercomparison Project initiated by the Climate Variability and Prediction Program (CLIVAR)/Asian–Australian Monsoon Panel. Each participating GCM group performed a set of 10 ensemble simulations for 1 September 1996–31 August 1998 using the same sea surface temperature (SST) conditions but with different initial conditions. The present study presents an overview of the intercomparison project and the results of an intercomparison of the global atmospheric anomalies during the 1997/98 El Niño period. Particularly, the focus is on the tropical precipitation anomalies over the monsoon–ENSO region and the upper-tropospheric circulation anomalies in the Pacific–North American (PNA) region.

The simulated precipitation anomalies show that all of the models simulate the spatial pattern of the observed anomalies reasonably well in the tropical central Pacific, although there are large differences in the amplitudes. However, most of the models have difficulty in simulating the negative anomalies over the Maritime Continent during El Niño. The 200-hPa geopotential anomalies over the PNA region are reasonably well reproduced by most of the models. But, the models generally underestimate the amplitude of the PNA pattern. These weak amplitudes are related to the weak precipitation anomalies in the tropical Pacific. The tropical precipitation anomalies are found to be closely related to the SST anomalies not only during the El Niño seasons but also during the normal seasons that are typified by weak SST anomalies in the tropical Pacific. In particular, the pattern correlation values of the 11-model composite of the precipitation anomalies with the observed counterparts for the normal seasons are near 0.5 for the tropical region between 30°S and 30°N.

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Thomas L. Delworth, Anthony J. Broccoli, Anthony Rosati, Ronald J. Stouffer, V. Balaji, John A. Beesley, William F. Cooke, Keith W. Dixon, John Dunne, K. A. Dunne, Jeffrey W. Durachta, Kirsten L. Findell, Paul Ginoux, Anand Gnanadesikan, C. T. Gordon, Stephen M. Griffies, Rich Gudgel, Matthew J. Harrison, Isaac M. Held, Richard S. Hemler, Larry W. Horowitz, Stephen A. Klein, Thomas R. Knutson, Paul J. Kushner, Amy R. Langenhorst, Hyun-Chul Lee, Shian-Jiann Lin, Jian Lu, Sergey L. Malyshev, P. C. D. Milly, V. Ramaswamy, Joellen Russell, M. Daniel Schwarzkopf, Elena Shevliakova, Joseph J. Sirutis, Michael J. Spelman, William F. Stern, Michael Winton, Andrew T. Wittenberg, Bruce Wyman, Fanrong Zeng, and Rong Zhang

Abstract

The formulation and simulation characteristics of two new global coupled climate models developed at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) are described. The models were designed to simulate atmospheric and oceanic climate and variability from the diurnal time scale through multicentury climate change, given our computational constraints. In particular, an important goal was to use the same model for both experimental seasonal to interannual forecasting and the study of multicentury global climate change, and this goal has been achieved.

Two versions of the coupled model are described, called CM2.0 and CM2.1. The versions differ primarily in the dynamical core used in the atmospheric component, along with the cloud tuning and some details of the land and ocean components. For both coupled models, the resolution of the land and atmospheric components is 2° latitude × 2.5° longitude; the atmospheric model has 24 vertical levels. The ocean resolution is 1° in latitude and longitude, with meridional resolution equatorward of 30° becoming progressively finer, such that the meridional resolution is 1/3° at the equator. There are 50 vertical levels in the ocean, with 22 evenly spaced levels within the top 220 m. The ocean component has poles over North America and Eurasia to avoid polar filtering. Neither coupled model employs flux adjustments.

The control simulations have stable, realistic climates when integrated over multiple centuries. Both models have simulations of ENSO that are substantially improved relative to previous GFDL coupled models. The CM2.0 model has been further evaluated as an ENSO forecast model and has good skill (CM2.1 has not been evaluated as an ENSO forecast model). Generally reduced temperature and salinity biases exist in CM2.1 relative to CM2.0. These reductions are associated with 1) improved simulations of surface wind stress in CM2.1 and associated changes in oceanic gyre circulations; 2) changes in cloud tuning and the land model, both of which act to increase the net surface shortwave radiation in CM2.1, thereby reducing an overall cold bias present in CM2.0; and 3) a reduction of ocean lateral viscosity in the extratropics in CM2.1, which reduces sea ice biases in the North Atlantic.

Both models have been used to conduct a suite of climate change simulations for the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report and are able to simulate the main features of the observed warming of the twentieth century. The climate sensitivities of the CM2.0 and CM2.1 models are 2.9 and 3.4 K, respectively. These sensitivities are defined by coupling the atmospheric components of CM2.0 and CM2.1 to a slab ocean model and allowing the model to come into equilibrium with a doubling of atmospheric CO2. The output from a suite of integrations conducted with these models is freely available online (see http://nomads.gfdl.noaa.gov/).

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