, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 37-52

A new snow parameterization for the Météo-France climate model

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Both observational and numerical studies demonstrate the sensitivity of the atmosphere to variations in the extent and mass of snow cover. There is therefore a need for simple but realistic snow parameterizations in forecast and climate models. A new snow hydrology scheme has recently been developed at Météo-France for use in the ARPEGE climate model and has been successfully tested against local field measurements in stand-alone experiments. This study describes the global validation of the parameterization in a 3-year integration for the present-day climate within the T42L30 version of ARPEGE. Results are compared with those from a control simulation and with available observed climatologies, in order to assess the impact of the new snow parameterization on the simulated surface climate. The seasonal cycle of the Northern Hemisphere snow cover is clearly improved when using the new scheme. The snow pack is still slightly overestimated in winter, but its poleward retreat is better reproduced during the melting season. As a consequence, the modified GCM performs well in simulating the springtime continental heating, which may play a strong role in the simulation of the Asian summer monsoon.