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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Well-known problems trouble coupled general circulation models of the eastern Atlantic and Pacific Ocean basins. Model climates are significantly more symmetric about the equator than is observed. Model sea surface temperatures are biased warm south and southeast of the equator, and the atmosphere is too rainy within a band south of the equator. Near-coastal eastern equatorial SSTs are too warm, producing a zonal SST gradient in the Atlantic opposite in sign to that observed. The U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability Program (CLIVAR) Eastern Tropical Ocean Synthesis Working Group (WG) has pursued an updated assessment of coupled model SST biases, focusing on the surface energy balance components, on regional error sources from clouds, deep convection, winds, and ocean eddies; on the sensitivity to model resolution; and on remote impacts. Motivated by the assessment, the WG makes the following recommendations: 1) encourage identification of the specific parameterizations contributing to the biases in individual models, as these can be model dependent; 2) restrict multimodel intercomparisons to specific processes; 3) encourage development of high-resolution coupled models with a concurrent emphasis on parameterization development of finer-scale ocean and atmosphere features, including low clouds; 4) encourage further availability of all surface flux components from buoys, for longer continuous time periods, in persistently cloudy regions; and 5) focus on the eastern basin coastal oceanic upwelling regions, where further opportunities for observational–modeling synergism exist.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
    Format: text
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  • 2
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    In:  [Poster] In: EGU General Assembly, 13.-18.04, Vienna, Austria .
    Publication Date: 2012-02-23
    Type: Conference or Workshop Item , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2017-02-22
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 97 (2016): 2305-2327, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00274.1.
    Description: Well-known problems trouble coupled general circulation models of the eastern Atlantic and Pacific Ocean basins. Model climates are significantly more symmetric about the equator than is observed. Model sea surface temperatures are biased warm south and southeast of the equator, and the atmosphere is too rainy within a band south of the equator. Near-coastal eastern equatorial SSTs are too warm, producing a zonal SST gradient in the Atlantic opposite in sign to that observed. The U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability Program (CLIVAR) Eastern Tropical Ocean Synthesis Working Group (WG) has pursued an updated assessment of coupled model SST biases, focusing on the surface energy balance components, on regional error sources from clouds, deep convection, winds, and ocean eddies; on the sensitivity to model resolution; and on remote impacts. Motivated by the assessment, the WG makes the following recommendations: 1) encourage identification of the specific parameterizations contributing to the biases in individual models, as these can be model dependent; 2) restrict multimodel intercomparisons to specific processes; 3) encourage development of high-resolution coupled models with a concurrent emphasis on parameterization development of finer-scale ocean and atmosphere features, including low clouds; 4) encourage further availability of all surface flux components from buoys, for longer continuous time periods, in persistently cloudy regions; and 5) focus on the eastern basin coastal oceanic upwelling regions, where further opportunities for observational–modeling synergism exist.
    Description: PZ, BK, and RM acknowledge support from NOAA Grant NA14OAR4310278, and PZ acknowledges support from NSF AGS-1233874. BM acknowledges support from the Regional and Global Climate Modeling Program of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Cooperative Agreement DE-FC02-97ER62402. PC acknowledges support from U.S. NSF Grants OCE-1334707 and AGS-1462127, and NOAA Grant NA11OAR4310154. PC also acknowledges support from China’s National Basic Research Priorities Programme (2013CB956204) and the Natural Science Foundation of China (41222037 and 41221063). TF acknowledges support from NSF Grant OCE-0745508 and NASA Grant NNX14AM71G. PB acknowledges support from the BMBF SACUS (03G0837A) project. TT and PB acknowledge support from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7 20072013) under Grant Agreement 603521 for the PREFACE Project. ES and ZW acknowledge support from NSF AGS-1338427, NOAA NA14OAR4310160, and NASA NNX14AM19G; and ES is grateful for further support from the National Monsoon Mission, Ministry of Earth Sciences, India.
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2008-01-01
    Print ISSN: 0894-8755
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-0442
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences , Physics
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2014-12-01
    Description: Warm sea-surface temperature (SST) biases in the southeastern tropical Atlantic (SETA), which is defined by a region from 5°E to the west coast of southern Africa and from 10°S to 30°S, are a common problem in many current and previous generation climate models. The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) ensemble provides a useful framework to tackle the complex issues concerning causes of the SST bias. In this study, we tested a number of previously proposed mechanisms responsible for the SETA SST bias and found the following results. First, the multi-model ensemble mean shows a positive shortwave radiation bias of ~20 W m−2, consistent with models’ deficiency in simulating low-level clouds. This shortwave radiation error, however, is overwhelmed by larger errors in the simulated surface turbulent heat and longwave radiation fluxes, resulting in excessive heat loss from the ocean. The result holds for atmosphere-only model simulations from the same multi-model ensemble, where the effect of SST biases on surface heat fluxes is removed, and is not sensitive to whether the analysis region is chosen to coincide with the maximum warm SST bias along the coast or with the main SETA stratocumulus deck away from the coast. This combined with the fact that there is no statistically significant relationship between simulated SST biases and surface heat flux biases among CMIP5 models suggests that the shortwave radiation bias caused by poorly simulated low-level clouds is not the leading cause of the warm SST bias. Second, the majority of CMIP5 models underestimate upwelling strength along the Benguela coast, which is linked to the unrealistically weak alongshore wind stress simulated by the models. However, a correlation analysis between the model simulated vertical velocities and SST biases does not reveal a statistically significant relationship between the two, suggesting that the deficient coastal upwelling in the models is not simply related to the warm SST bias via vertical heat advection. Third, SETA SST biases in CMIP5 models are correlated with surface and subsurface ocean temperature biases in the equatorial region, suggesting that the equatorial temperature bias remotely contributes to the SETA SST bias. Finally, we found that all CMIP5 models simulate a southward displaced Angola–Benguela front (ABF), which in many models is more than 10° south of its observed location. Furthermore, SETA SST biases are most significantly correlated with ABF latitude, which suggests that the inability of CMIP5 models to accurately simulate the ABF is a leading cause of the SETA SST bias. This is supported by simulations with the oceanic component of one of the CMIP5 models, which is forced with observationally derived surface fluxes. The results show that even with the observationally derived surface atmospheric forcing, the ocean model generates a significant warm SST bias near the ABF, underlining the important role of ocean dynamics in SETA SST bias problem. Further model simulations were conducted to address the impact of the SETA SST biases. The results indicate a significant remote influence of the SETA SST bias on global model simulations of tropical climate, underscoring the importance and urgency to reduce the SETA SST bias in global climate models. ©2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
    Print ISSN: 0930-7575
    Electronic ISSN: 1432-0894
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2012-03-01
    Description: Most coupled general circulation models (GCMs) perform poorly in the tropical Atlantic in terms of climatological seasonal cycle and interannual variability. The reasons for this poor performance are investigated in a suite of sensitivity experiments with the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) coupled GCM. The experiments show that a significant portion of the equatorial SST biases in the model is due to weaker than observed equatorial easterlies during boreal spring. Due to these weak easterlies, the tilt of the equatorial thermocline is reduced, with shoaling in the west and deepening in the east. The erroneously deep thermocline in the east prevents cold tongue formation in the following season despite vigorous upwelling, thus inhibiting the Bjerknes feedback. It is further shown that the surface wind errors are due, in part, to deficient precipitation over equatorial South America and excessive precipitation over equatorial Africa, which already exist in the uncoupled atmospheric GCM. Additional tests indicate that the precipitation biases are highly sensitive to land surface conditions such as albedo and soil moisture. This suggests that improving the representation of land surface processes in GCMs offers a way of improving their performance in the tropical Atlantic. The weaker than observed equatorial easterlies also contribute remotely, via equatorial and coastal Kelvin waves, to the severe warm SST biases along the southwest African coast. However, the strength of the subtropical anticyclone and along-shore winds also play an important role. ©2011 Springer-Verlag
    Print ISSN: 0930-7575
    Electronic ISSN: 1432-0894
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2014-01-01
    Description: Coupled general circulation model (GCM) simulations participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) are analyzed with respect to their performance in the equatorial Atlantic. In terms of the mean state, 29 out of 33 models examined continue to suffer from serious biases including an annual mean zonal equatorial SST gradient whose sign is opposite to observations. Westerly surface wind biases in boreal spring play an important role in the reversed SST gradient by deepening the thermocline in the eastern equatorial Atlantic and thus reducing upwelling efficiency and SST cooling in the following months. Both magnitude and seasonal evolution of the biases are very similar to what was found previously for CMIP3 models, indicating that improvements have only been modest. The weaker than observed equatorial easterlies are also simulated by atmospheric GCMs forced with observed SST. They are related to both continental convection and the latitudinal position of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). Particularly the latter has a strong influence on equatorial zonal winds in both the seasonal cycle and interannual variability. The dependence of equatorial easterlies on ITCZ latitude shows a marked asymmetry. From the equator to 15°N, the equatorial easterlies intensify approximately linearly with ITCZ latitude. When the ITCZ is south of the equator, on the other hand, the equatorial easterlies are uniformly weak. Despite serious mean state biases, several models are able to capture some aspects of the equatorial mode of interannual SST variability, including amplitude, pattern, phase locking to boreal summer, and duration of events. The latitudinal position of the boreal spring ITCZ, through its influence on equatorial surface winds, appears to play an important role in initiating warm events. ©2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
    Print ISSN: 0930-7575
    Electronic ISSN: 1432-0894
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2010-08-01
    Description: Atmospheric moisture transport from the Atlantic to the Pacific basin plays an important role in regulating North Atlantic salinity and thus the strength of the thermohaline circulation. Potential changes in the strength of this moisture transport are investigated for two different climate-change scenarios: North Atlantic cooling representative of Heinrich events, and increased greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing. The effect of North Atlantic cooling is studied using a coupled regional model with comparatively high resolution that successfully simulates Central American gap winds and other important aspects of the region. Cooler North Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST) in this model leads to a regional decrease of atmospheric moisture but also to an increase in wind speed across Central America via an anomalous pressure gradient. The latter effect dominates, resulting in a 0.13 Sv (1 Sv = 106 m3 s−1) increase in overall moisture transport to the Pacific basin. In fresh water forcing simulations with four different general circulation models, the wind speed effect is also present but not strong enough to completely offset the effect of moisture decrease except in one model. The influence of GHG forcing is studied using simulations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change archive. In these simulations atmospheric moisture increases globally, resulting in an increase of moisture transport by 0.25 Sv from the Atlantic to Pacific. Thus, in both scenarios, moisture transport changes act to stabilize the thermohaline circulation. The notion that the Andes effectively block moisture transport from the Atlantic to the Pacific basin is not supported by the simulations and atmospheric reanalyses examined here. This indicates that such a blocking effect does not exist or else that higher resolution is needed to adequately represent the steep orography of the Andes. ©2009 Springer-Verlag
    Print ISSN: 0930-7575
    Electronic ISSN: 1432-0894
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2008-10-01
    Description: Many coupled ocean–atmosphere general circulation models (GCMs) suffer serious biases in the tropical Atlantic including a southward shift of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) in the annual mean, a westerly bias in equatorial surface winds, and a failure to reproduce the eastern equatorial cold tongue in boreal summer. The present study examines an ensemble of coupled GCMs and their uncoupled atmospheric component to identify common sources of error. It is found that the westerly wind bias also exists in the atmospheric GCMs forced with observed sea surface temperature, but only in boreal spring. During this time sea-level pressure is anomalously high (low) in the western (eastern) equatorial Atlantic, which appears to be related to deficient (excessive) precipitation over tropical South America (Africa). In coupled simulations, this westerly bias leads to a deepening of the thermocline in the east, which prevents the equatorial cold tongue from developing in boreal summer. Thus reducing atmospheric model errors during boreal spring may lead to improved coupled simulations of tropical Atlantic climate. ©2008 Springer-Verlag
    Print ISSN: 0930-7575
    Electronic ISSN: 1432-0894
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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  • 10
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