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Spherical Harmonic Analysis of a Model-Generated Climatology

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  • 1 Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, The City College, CUNY, New York, NY 10031
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Abstract

Monthly mean fields of 850 mb temperature (T850), 500 mb geopetential height (G500) and sea level pressure (SLP) were generated in the course of a 5-year climate simulation run with a global general circulation model. Both the model-generated climatology and an observed climatology were subjected to spherical harmonic analysis, with separate analyses of the globe and the Northern Hemisphere. Comparison of the dominant harmonics of the two climatologies indicates that more than 95% of the area-weighted spatial variance of G500 and more than 90% of that of T850 are explained by fewer than three components, and that the model adequately simulates these large-scale characteristics. On the other hand, as many as 25 harmonies are needed to explain 95% of the observed variance of SLP, and the model simulation of this field is much less satisfactory. The model climatology is also evaluated in terms of the annual cycles of the dominant harmonies.

Abstract

Monthly mean fields of 850 mb temperature (T850), 500 mb geopetential height (G500) and sea level pressure (SLP) were generated in the course of a 5-year climate simulation run with a global general circulation model. Both the model-generated climatology and an observed climatology were subjected to spherical harmonic analysis, with separate analyses of the globe and the Northern Hemisphere. Comparison of the dominant harmonics of the two climatologies indicates that more than 95% of the area-weighted spatial variance of G500 and more than 90% of that of T850 are explained by fewer than three components, and that the model adequately simulates these large-scale characteristics. On the other hand, as many as 25 harmonies are needed to explain 95% of the observed variance of SLP, and the model simulation of this field is much less satisfactory. The model climatology is also evaluated in terms of the annual cycles of the dominant harmonies.

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