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Two tales of initializing decadal climate predictions experiments with the ECHAM5/MPI-OM model

MPS-Authors
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Matei,  D.
Director’s Research Group OES, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Pohlmann,  H.
Director’s Research Group OES, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Jungclaus,  J.
Director’s Research Group OES, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Mueller,  W.
Director’s Research Group OES, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Haak,  H.
Director’s Research Group OES, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Marotzke,  J.
Director’s Research Group OES, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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jcli-d-11-00633.1.pdf
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Citation

Matei, D., Pohlmann, H., Jungclaus, J., Mueller, W., Haak, H., & Marotzke, J. (2012). Two tales of initializing decadal climate predictions experiments with the ECHAM5/MPI-OM model. Journal of Climate, 25, 8502-8523. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00633.1.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-30DE-9
Abstract
This paper investigates the impact of different ocean initialization strategies on the forecast skill of decadal prediction experiments performed with the ECHAM5/Max Planck Institute Ocean Model (MPI-OM) coupled model. The ocean initializations assimilate three-dimensional temperature and salinity anomalies from two different ocean state estimates, the ocean reanalysis of the German contribution to Estimating the Circulation and Climate of theOcean (GECCO) and an ensemble ofMPI-OM ocean experiments forced with the NCEP–NCAR atmospheric reanalysis. The results show that North Atlantic and Mediterranean sea surface temperature (SST) variations can be skillfully predicted up to a decade ahead and with greater skill than by both uninitialized simulations and persistence forecasts. The regional distribution of SST predictive skill is similar in both initialization approaches; however, higher skill is found for the NCEP hindcasts than for the GECCO hindcasts when a combination of predictive skill measures is used. Skillful predictions of surface air temperature are obtained over northwestern Europe, northern Africa, and central-eastern Asia. The North Atlantic subpolar gyre region stands out as the region with the highest predictive skill beyond the warming trend, in both SST and upper-ocean heatcontent predictions. Here the NCEP hindcasts deliver the best results due to a more accurate initialization of the observed variability. The dominantmechanism for North Atlantic climate predictability is of dynamical origin and can be attributed to the initialization of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, thus explaining the reoccurrence of high predictive skill within the second pentad of the hindcasts experiments. The results herein demonstrate that ocean experiments forced with the observed history of the atmospheric state constitute a simple but successful alternative strategy for the initialization of skillful climate predictions over the next decade.