, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 459-472
Date: 11 Jan 2006

Evaluation of an ensemble of Arctic regional climate models: spatiotemporal fields during the SHEBA year

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Abstract

Simulations of eight different regional climate models (RCMs) have been performed for the period September 1997–September 1998, which coincides with the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) project period. Each of the models employed approximately the same domain covering the western Arctic, the same horizontal resolution of 50 km, and the same boundary forcing. The models differ in their vertical resolution as well as in the treatments of dynamics and physical parameterizations. Both the common features and differences of the simulated spatiotemporal patterns of geopotential, temperature, cloud cover, and long-/shortwave downward radiation between the individual model simulations are investigated. With this work, we quantify the scatter among the models and therefore the magnitude of disagreement and unreliability of current Arctic RCM simulations. Even with the relatively constrained experimental design we notice a considerable scatter among the different RCMs. We found the largest across-model scatter in the 2 m temperature over land, in the surface radiation fluxes, and in the cloud cover which implies a reduced confidence level for these variables.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00382-006-0157-1