The climatology of the middle atmosphere in a vertically extended version of the met office’s climate model. Part I: Mean state

Peer Reviewed

Hardiman SC, Butchart N, Osprey SM, Gray LJ, Bushell AC, & Hinton TJ

Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 67, Issue 5, pages 1509-1525, 2010, 10.1175/2009JAS3337.1.

The climatology of a stratosphere-resolving version of the Met Office’s climate model is studied and validated against ECMWF reanalysis data. Ensemble integrations are carried out at two different horizontal resolutions. Along with a realistic climatology and annual cycle in zonal mean zonal wind and temperature, several physical effects are noted in the model. The time of final warming of the winter polar vortex is found to descend monotonically in the Southern Hemisphere, as would be expected for purely radiative forcing. In the Northern Hemisphere, however, the time of final warming is driven largely by dynamical effects in the lower stratosphere and radiative effects in the upper stratosphere, leading to the earliest transition to westward winds being seen in the midstratosphere. A realistic annual cycle in stratospheric water vapor concentrations—the tropical “tape recorder”—is captured. Tropical variability in the zonal mean zonal wind is found to be in better agreement with the reanalysis for the model run at higher horizontal resolution because the simulated quasi-biennial oscillation has a more realistic amplitude. Unexpectedly, variability in the extratropics becomes less realistic under increased resolution because of reduced resolved wave drag and increased orographic gravity wave drag. Overall, the differences in climatology between the simulations at high and moderate horizontal resolution are found to be small.

Keywords: Climate models, Stratosphere, Climate variability
Categories: Antarctic, Arctic, Natural Science