, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 103-134

The second Hadley Centre coupled ocean-atmosphere GCM: model description, spinup and validation

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Abstract.

 This study describes a new coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model (OAGCM) developed for studies of climate change and results from a hindcast experiment. The model includes various physical and technical improvements relative to an earlier version of the Hadley Centre OAGCM. A coupled spinup process is used to bring the model to equilibrium. Compared to uncoupled spinup methods this is computationally more expensive, but helps to counter climate drift arising from inadequate sampling of short time scale coupled variability when the components are equilibrated separately. Including sea ice advection and enhancing reference surface salinities in high southern latitudes in austral winter to promote bottom water formation during spinup appears to have stabilized the high-latitude drift exhibited in the earlier model’s control run. In the present study, the atmospheric control climate is stable on multi-century time scales with a drift in global average surface air temperature of only +0.016 K/century, despite a small residual drift in the deep ocean. The control climate is an improvement over the earlier model in several respects, notably in its variability on short time scales. Two anomaly runs are presented incorporating estimated forcing changes over the period 1860 to 1990 arising from greenhouse gases alone and from greenhouse gases plus the radiative scattering effect of sulphate aerosols. These allow validation of the model against the instrumental climate record. Inclusion of aerosol forcing gives a significantly better simulation of historical temperature patterns, although comparisons against recent sea ice trends are equivocal. These studies emphasize the potential importance of including additional forcing terms apart from greenhouse gases in climate simulations, and refining estimates of their spatial distribution and magnitude.

Received: 1 February 1996 / Accepted 22 August 1996