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Critical Southern Ocean climate model biases traced to atmospheric model cloud errors

Critical Southern Ocean climate model biases traced to atmospheric model cloud errors
Critical Southern Ocean climate model biases traced to atmospheric model cloud errors
The Southern Ocean is a pivotal component of the global climate system yet it is poorly represented in climate models, with significant biases in upper-ocean temperatures, clouds and winds. Combining Atmospheric and Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project (AMIP5/CMIP5) simulations, with observations and equilibrium heat budget theory, we show that across the CMIP5 ensemble variations in sea surface temperature biases in the 40–60°S Southern Ocean are primarily caused by AMIP5 atmospheric model net surface flux bias variations, linked to cloud-related short-wave errors. Equilibration of the biases involves local coupled sea surface temperature bias feedbacks onto the surface heat flux components. In combination with wind feedbacks, these biases adversely modify upper-ocean thermal structure. Most AMIP5 atmospheric models that exhibit small net heat flux biases appear to achieve this through compensating errors. We demonstrate that targeted developments to cloud-related parameterisations provide a route to better represent the Southern Ocean in climate models and projections.
Hyder, Patrick
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Edwards, John M.
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Allan, Richard P.
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Hewitt, Helene T.
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Bracegirdle, Thomas J.
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Gregory, Jonathan M.
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Wood, Richard A.
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Meijers, Andrew J. S.
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Mulcahy, Jane
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Field, Paul
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Furtado, Kalli
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Bodas-salcedo, Alejandro
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Williams, Keith D.
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Copsey, Dan
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Josey, Simon A.
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Liu, Chunlei
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Roberts, Chris D.
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Sanchez, Claudio
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Ridley, Jeff
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Thorpe, Livia
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Hardiman, Steven C.
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Mayer, Michael
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Berry, David I.
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Belcher, Stephen E.
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Hyder, Patrick
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Edwards, John M.
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Allan, Richard P.
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Hewitt, Helene T.
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Bracegirdle, Thomas J.
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Gregory, Jonathan M.
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Wood, Richard A.
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Meijers, Andrew J. S.
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Mulcahy, Jane
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Field, Paul
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Furtado, Kalli
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Bodas-salcedo, Alejandro
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Williams, Keith D.
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Copsey, Dan
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Josey, Simon A.
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Liu, Chunlei
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Roberts, Chris D.
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Sanchez, Claudio
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Ridley, Jeff
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Thorpe, Livia
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Hardiman, Steven C.
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Mayer, Michael
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Berry, David I.
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Belcher, Stephen E.
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Hyder, Patrick, Edwards, John M., Allan, Richard P., Hewitt, Helene T., Bracegirdle, Thomas J., Gregory, Jonathan M., Wood, Richard A., Meijers, Andrew J. S., Mulcahy, Jane, Field, Paul, Furtado, Kalli, Bodas-salcedo, Alejandro, Williams, Keith D., Copsey, Dan, Josey, Simon A., Liu, Chunlei, Roberts, Chris D., Sanchez, Claudio, Ridley, Jeff, Thorpe, Livia, Hardiman, Steven C., Mayer, Michael, Berry, David I. and Belcher, Stephen E. (2018) Critical Southern Ocean climate model biases traced to atmospheric model cloud errors. Nature Communications, 9 (1), [3625]. (doi:10.1038/s41467-018-05634-2).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The Southern Ocean is a pivotal component of the global climate system yet it is poorly represented in climate models, with significant biases in upper-ocean temperatures, clouds and winds. Combining Atmospheric and Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project (AMIP5/CMIP5) simulations, with observations and equilibrium heat budget theory, we show that across the CMIP5 ensemble variations in sea surface temperature biases in the 40–60°S Southern Ocean are primarily caused by AMIP5 atmospheric model net surface flux bias variations, linked to cloud-related short-wave errors. Equilibration of the biases involves local coupled sea surface temperature bias feedbacks onto the surface heat flux components. In combination with wind feedbacks, these biases adversely modify upper-ocean thermal structure. Most AMIP5 atmospheric models that exhibit small net heat flux biases appear to achieve this through compensating errors. We demonstrate that targeted developments to cloud-related parameterisations provide a route to better represent the Southern Ocean in climate models and projections.

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s41467-018-05634-2 - Version of Record
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Accepted/In Press date: 18 July 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 September 2018
Published date: 11 September 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 424151
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/424151
PURE UUID: 32cbb3b3-0557-4e2f-b110-4c59717ab786

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Date deposited: 05 Oct 2018 11:30
Last modified: 25 Nov 2021 21:19

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Contributors

Author: Patrick Hyder
Author: John M. Edwards
Author: Richard P. Allan
Author: Helene T. Hewitt
Author: Thomas J. Bracegirdle
Author: Jonathan M. Gregory
Author: Richard A. Wood
Author: Andrew J. S. Meijers
Author: Jane Mulcahy
Author: Paul Field
Author: Kalli Furtado
Author: Alejandro Bodas-salcedo
Author: Keith D. Williams
Author: Dan Copsey
Author: Simon A. Josey
Author: Chunlei Liu
Author: Chris D. Roberts
Author: Claudio Sanchez
Author: Jeff Ridley
Author: Livia Thorpe
Author: Steven C. Hardiman
Author: Michael Mayer
Author: David I. Berry
Author: Stephen E. Belcher

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