, Volume 10, Issue 4-5, pp 181-204

An examination of internally generated variability in long climate simulations

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General circulation model experiments designed to estimate the magnitude and structure of internally generated variability and to help understand the mechanisms underlying this variability are described. The experiments consist of three multi-century integrations of a rhomboidal 15, 9 level, version of the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies atmospheric general circulation model: a run with fixed sea surface temperatures and equinox solar radiation, a run with seasonally varying climatological sea surface temperatures and seasonally varying solar forcing, and a run with seasonally varying solar forcing in which the state of the ocean is predicted by a 3° by 3°, 16 vertical level, nearly global domain version of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Modular Ocean Model. No flux correction is used in the coupled model integration. Selected surface fields of the three runs are compared to each other as well as to the observed climate. Statistical properties of variability on interannual time scales are compared between the runs. Evidence is presented that climate time scale variability in the simulations is produced by random weather time scale forcing due to the integrating effect of elements of the system with long memories. The importance of ocean variability for land climate variability is demonstrated and attributed to both the memory effect and coupled atmosphere-ocean instability.