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R. W. Lindsay and H. L. Stern

Abstract

A new Lagrangian sea ice model for the Arctic Ocean has been developed to accommodate the assimilation of integral measures of ice displacement over periods of days or weeks. The model is a two-layer (thick ice and open water) dynamic model with 600–700 cells spaced at roughly 100 km. The force balance equation is solved for each cell with standard wind and water stress terms, a Coriolis term, and an internal ice stress term. The internal stress is found using a viscous–plastic rheology and an elliptical yield curve. The strain rate is determined by the “Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics” formalism, which determines the spatial derivatives of the velocity by a weighted summation of the velocities of adjacent cells. A length scale of 150 km is used. The model is driven with observed geostrophic winds and climatological-mean ocean currents. Ice growth and melt are found from a seasonal- and thickness-based lookup table because the current focus is on the model dynamics. The model ice velocity simulations are compared to observed buoy motion. Over the 5-yr period 1993–97 the correlation of the daily averaged model velocity with buoy velocities is R = 0.76 (N = 42 553, rms difference = 0.072 m s−1, speed bias = +0.009 m s−1, angle bias = 8.0°). This compares favorably with the correlation of a state-of-the-art Eulerian coupled ice–ocean model, where R = 0.74 in the summer and 0.66 in the winter over the same 5-yr period.

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E. A. Fitzpatrick and W. R. Stern

Abstract

Over irrigated crops of cotton grown in a dry monsoonal environment, net radiation was measured daily over a period of one year together with total radiation, duration of sunshine, and wet and dry bulb screen temperature. Daily estimates of total, effective terrestrial, and net radiation were obtained from several empirical relationships, and these were compared with measured values. The reliability of alternative modes of estimating these components of the radiation balance was assessed.

When estimating total radiation from relative duration of sunshine, a hyperbolic relation was found more effective in accommodating low values than the commonly used linear relationship.

When estimating effective terrestrial radiation from a relationship used by Penman, it was necessary to derive constants appropriate to this environment using data an clear days. Effective terrestrial radiation was also estimated using a relationship based upon a proposal by Swinbank which does not include a vapor pressure term. Although wet-season estimates were found to be in significantly better agreement with observation when vapor pressure was included, satisfactory estimates can nevertheless be obtained without vapor pressure data. Significantly better estimates were obtained when total radiation was used rather than relative duration of sunshine in accounting for the effect of cloudiness on the downward long-wave radiation flux.

Errors in the estimated effective terrestrial radiation were found to be the major contributors to inaccuracy in the estimation of net radiation.

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R. W. Lindsay and H. L. Stern

Abstract

NASA's RADARSAT Geophysical Processor System (RGPS) uses sequential synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images to track the trajectories of some 30 000 points on the Arctic sea ice for periods of up to 6 months. Much of the Arctic basin is imaged and tracked every 3 days. The result is a highly detailed picture of how the sea ice moves and deforms. The points are initially spaced 10 km apart and are organized into four-cornered cells. The area and the strain rates are calculated for each cell for each new observation of its corners. The accuracy of the RGPS ice tracking, area changes, and deformation estimates is needed to make the dataset useful for analysis, model validation, and data assimilation. Two comparisons are made to assess the accuracy. The first compares the tracking performed at two different facilities (the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the Alaska SAR Facility in Fairbanks, Alaska), between which the primary difference is the operator intervention. The error standard deviation of the tracking, not including geolocation errors, is 100 m, which is the pixel size of the SAR images. The second comparison is made with buoy trajectories from the International Arctic Buoy Program. The squared correlation coefficient for RGPS and buoy displacements is 0.996. The median magnitude of the displacement differences is 323 m. The tracking errors give rise to error standard deviations of 0.5% day−1 in the divergence, shear, and vorticity. The uncertainty in the area change of a cell is 1.4% due to tracking errors and 3.2% due to resolving the cell boundary with only four points. The uncertainties in the area change and deformation invariants can be reduced substantially by averaging over a number of cells, at the expense of spatial resolution.

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K. Miyakoda, T. Gordon, R. Caverly, W. Stern, J. Sirutis, and W. Bourke

Abstract

January 1977 was a month noted for its extraordinary weather over North America. The winter was dominated by two persistent large amplitude ridges positioned over the west coast of North America and the Icelandic region of the Atlantic Ocean. A very intense trough reached deep into the eastern United States and caused one of the coldest Januaries on record. One-month integrations of various GCM's were conducted in order to test their ability to simulate this blocking event. Reasonably high resolution finite difference and spectral models available at GFDL were used. Each GCM was integrated from three different analyses of the initial conditions. For some models, a fairly accurate forecast was obtained and considerable skill was recognized in the simulation of the 30-day evolution in terms of the 5-day or 10-day mean flow fields, including the period of record breaking coldness over the eastern United States. The main conclusion is that proper treatment of the subgrid-scale processes as well as sufficient spatial resolution are essential for the simulations of this phenomenon as an initial value problem. Weak zonal wind poleward of about 40°N and upstream of the blocking ridge appears to be crucial for the successful simulation of the sustained blocking ridge.

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R. W. Lindsay, J. Zhang, A. Schweiger, M. Steele, and H. Stern

Abstract

The minimum of Arctic sea ice extent in the summer of 2007 was unprecedented in the historical record. A coupled ice–ocean model is used to determine the state of the ice and ocean over the past 29 yr to investigate the causes of this ice extent minimum within a historical perspective. It is found that even though the 2007 ice extent was strongly anomalous, the loss in total ice mass was not. Rather, the 2007 ice mass loss is largely consistent with a steady decrease in ice thickness that began in 1987. Since then, the simulated mean September ice thickness within the Arctic Ocean has declined from 3.7 to 2.6 m at a rate of −0.57 m decade−1. Both the area coverage of thin ice at the beginning of the melt season and the total volume of ice lost in the summer have been steadily increasing. The combined impact of these two trends caused a large reduction in the September mean ice concentration in the Arctic Ocean. This created conditions during the summer of 2007 that allowed persistent winds to push the remaining ice from the Pacific side to the Atlantic side of the basin and more than usual into the Greenland Sea. This exposed large areas of open water, resulting in the record ice extent anomaly.

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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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D. Kim, K. Sperber, W. Stern, D. Waliser, I.-S. Kang, E. Maloney, W. Wang, K. Weickmann, J. Benedict, M. Khairoutdinov, M.-I. Lee, R. Neale, M. Suarez, K. Thayer-Calder, and G. Zhang

Abstract

The ability of eight climate models to simulate the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) is examined using diagnostics developed by the U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) MJO Working Group. Although the MJO signal has been extracted throughout the annual cycle, this study focuses on the boreal winter (November–April) behavior. Initially, maps of the mean state and variance and equatorial space–time spectra of 850-hPa zonal wind and precipitation are compared with observations. Models best represent the intraseasonal space–time spectral peak in the zonal wind compared to that of precipitation. Using the phase–space representation of the multivariate principal components (PCs), the life cycle properties of the simulated MJOs are extracted, including the ability to represent how the MJO evolves from a given subphase and the associated decay time scales. On average, the MJO decay (e-folding) time scale for all models is shorter (∼20–29 days) than observations (∼31 days). All models are able to produce a leading pair of multivariate principal components that represents eastward propagation of intraseasonal wind and precipitation anomalies, although the fraction of the variance is smaller than observed for all models. In some cases, the dominant time scale of these PCs is outside of the 30–80-day band.

Several key variables associated with the model’s MJO are investigated, including the surface latent heat flux, boundary layer (925 hPa) moisture convergence, and the vertical structure of moisture. Low-level moisture convergence ahead (east) of convection is associated with eastward propagation in most of the models. A few models are also able to simulate the gradual moistening of the lower troposphere that precedes observed MJO convection, as well as the observed geographical difference in the vertical structure of moisture associated with the MJO. The dependence of rainfall on lower tropospheric relative humidity and the fraction of rainfall that is stratiform are also discussed, including implications these diagnostics have for MJO simulation. Based on having the most realistic intraseasonal multivariate empirical orthogonal functions, principal component power spectra, equatorial eastward propagating outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), latent heat flux, low-level moisture convergence signals, and vertical structure of moisture over the Eastern Hemisphere, the superparameterized Community Atmosphere Model (SPCAM) and the ECHAM4/Ocean Isopycnal Model (OPYC) show the best skill at representing the MJO.

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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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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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Leo J. Donner, Bruce L. Wyman, Richard S. Hemler, Larry W. Horowitz, Yi Ming, Ming Zhao, Jean-Christophe Golaz, Paul Ginoux, S.-J. Lin, M. Daniel Schwarzkopf, John Austin, Ghassan Alaka, William F. Cooke, Thomas L. Delworth, Stuart M. Freidenreich, C. T. Gordon, Stephen M. Griffies, Isaac M. Held, William J. Hurlin, Stephen A. Klein, Thomas R. Knutson, Amy R. Langenhorst, Hyun-Chul Lee, Yanluan Lin, Brian I. Magi, Sergey L. Malyshev, P. C. D. Milly, Vaishali Naik, Mary J. Nath, Robert Pincus, Jeffrey J. Ploshay, V. Ramaswamy, Charles J. Seman, Elena Shevliakova, Joseph J. Sirutis, William F. Stern, Ronald J. Stouffer, R. John Wilson, Michael Winton, Andrew T. Wittenberg, and Fanrong Zeng

Abstract

The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) has developed a coupled general circulation model (CM3) for the atmosphere, oceans, land, and sea ice. The goal of CM3 is to address emerging issues in climate change, including aerosol–cloud interactions, chemistry–climate interactions, and coupling between the troposphere and stratosphere. The model is also designed to serve as the physical system component of earth system models and models for decadal prediction in the near-term future—for example, through improved simulations in tropical land precipitation relative to earlier-generation GFDL models. This paper describes the dynamical core, physical parameterizations, and basic simulation characteristics of the atmospheric component (AM3) of this model. Relative to GFDL AM2, AM3 includes new treatments of deep and shallow cumulus convection, cloud droplet activation by aerosols, subgrid variability of stratiform vertical velocities for droplet activation, and atmospheric chemistry driven by emissions with advective, convective, and turbulent transport. AM3 employs a cubed-sphere implementation of a finite-volume dynamical core and is coupled to LM3, a new land model with ecosystem dynamics and hydrology. Its horizontal resolution is approximately 200 km, and its vertical resolution ranges approximately from 70 m near the earth’s surface to 1 to 1.5 km near the tropopause and 3 to 4 km in much of the stratosphere. Most basic circulation features in AM3 are simulated as realistically, or more so, as in AM2. In particular, dry biases have been reduced over South America. In coupled mode, the simulation of Arctic sea ice concentration has improved. AM3 aerosol optical depths, scattering properties, and surface clear-sky downward shortwave radiation are more realistic than in AM2. The simulation of marine stratocumulus decks remains problematic, as in AM2. The most intense 0.2% of precipitation rates occur less frequently in AM3 than observed. The last two decades of the twentieth century warm in CM3 by 0.32°C relative to 1881–1920. The Climate Research Unit (CRU) and Goddard Institute for Space Studies analyses of observations show warming of 0.56° and 0.52°C, respectively, over this period. CM3 includes anthropogenic cooling by aerosol–cloud interactions, and its warming by the late twentieth century is somewhat less realistic than in CM2.1, which warmed 0.66°C but did not include aerosol–cloud interactions. The improved simulation of the direct aerosol effect (apparent in surface clear-sky downward radiation) in CM3 evidently acts in concert with its simulation of cloud–aerosol interactions to limit greenhouse gas warming.

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