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Journal Article

Climate predictability experiments with a general circulation model


Bengtsson,  Lennart
MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

Arpe,  Klaus
MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

Roeckner,  Erich
MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

Schulzweida,  Uwe
MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Bengtsson, L., Arpe, K., Roeckner, E., & Schulzweida, U. (1996). Climate predictability experiments with a general circulation model. Climate Dynamics, 12, 261-278. doi:10.1007/BF00219500.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-C0D1-9
The atmospheric response to the evolution of the global sea surface temperatures from 1979 to 1992 is studied using the Max-Planck-Institut 19 level atmospheric general circulation model, ECHAM3 at T 42 resolution. Five separate 14-year integrations are performed and results are presented for each individual realization and for the ensemble-averaged response. The results are compared to a 30-year control integration using a climate monthly mean state of the sea surface temperatures and to analysis data. It is found that the ECHAM3 model, by and large, does reproduce the observed response pattern to El Niño and La Niña. During the El Niño events, the subtropical jet streams in both hemispheres are intensified and displaced equatorward, and there is a tendency towards weak upper easterlies over the equator. The Southern Oscillation is a very stable feature of the integrations and is accurately reproduced in all experiments. The inter-annual variability at middle- and high-latitudes, on the other hand, is strongly dominated by chaotic dynamics, and the tropical SST forcing only modulates the atmospheric circulation. The potential predictability of the model is investigated for six different regions. Signal to noise ratio is large in most parts of the tropical belt, of medium strength in the western hemisphere and generally small over the European area. The ENSO signal is most pronounced during the boreal spring. A particularly strong signal in the precipitation field in the extratropics during spring can be found over the southern United States. Western Canada is normally warmer during the warm ENSO phase, while northern Europe is warmer than normal during the ENSO cold phase. The reason is advection of warm air due to a more intense Pacific low than normal during the warm ENSO phase and a more intense Icelandic low than normal during the cold ENSO phase, respectively.