Climate Dynamics

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 81–95

An investigation of climate drift in a coupled atmosphere-ocean-sea ice model

  • Andrew M Moore
  • Hal B Gordon

DOI: 10.1007/BF00210338

Cite this article as:
Moore, A.M. & Gordon, H.B. Climate Dynamics (1994) 10: 81. doi:10.1007/BF00210338


Climate drift is a common and serious problem in most state-of-the-art coupled atmosphere-ocean-sea ice models. We consider the nature of climate drift in such a model, and in particular address the question of whether or not climate drift is inherent to the model, or whether the drift can be averted by a suitable choice of initial conditions or coupling procedure. The “synchronous” approach to coupling was adopted in which the ocean, atmosphere and sea ice models were spun-up independently to equilibrium using climatological forcing fields. The models were then coupled and integrated forward in time. Several experiments were performed which were designed to assess the impact of different coupling methodologies and changes in the initial conditions of the component models on the climate drift of the system. The results of our experiments indicate that climate drift is a problem inherent to the coupled model in that systematic errors in the components lead to incompatibilities in the surface fluxes required by the component models to maintain realistic climatologies. We conclude that climate drift can be averted only if the parameterizations of certain important physical processes are improved which should have the effect of reducing or eliminating these incompatibilities.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew M Moore
    • 1
  • Hal B Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Division of Atmospheric ResearchMordiallocAustralia
  2. 2.Bureau of Meteorology Research CentreMelbourneAustralia