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

Hyder, Patrick; Edwards, John M.; Allan, Richard P.; Hewitt, Helene T.; Bracegirdle, Thomas J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8868-4739; Gregory, Jonathan M.; Wood, Richard A.; Meijers, Andrew J.S. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3876-7736; 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.; Mayar, Michael; Berry, David I.; Belcher, Stephen E.. 2018 Critical Southern Ocean climate model biases traced to atmospheric model cloud errors. Nature Communications, 9, 3625. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-05634-2

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Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0/. © The Author(s) 2018 Hyder.pdf - Published Version Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0. 990kB
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Abstract/Summary

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.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-05634-2
ISSN: 20411723
Date made live: 13 Sep 2018 15:11 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/520578

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