Climate Dynamics

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 25–50

Comparison of NCAR community climate model (CCM) climates

  • James W. Hurrell
Article

Abstract

The simulated mean January and July climates of four versions of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate Model (CCM) are compared. The models include standard configurations of CCM1 and CCM2, as well as two widely-cited research versions, the Global Environmental and Ecological Simulation of Interactive Systems (GENESIS) model and the Climate Sensitivity and Carbon Dioxide (CSC02) model. Each CCM version was integrated for 10 years with a horizontal spectral resolution of rhomboidal 15 (R15). Additionally, the standard T42 version of CCM2 was integrated for 20 years. Monthly mean, annually repeating climatological sea surface temperatures provided a lower boundary condition for each of the model simulations. The CCM troposphere is generally too cold, especially in the polar upper troposphere in the summer hemisphere. This is least severe in CCM2 and most pronounced in CCM1. CSC02 is an exception with a substantial warm bias, especially in the tropical upper troposphere. Corresponding biases are evident in atmospheric moisture. The overall superior CCM2 thermodynamic behavior is principally compromised by a large warm and moist bias over the Northern Hemisphere middle and high latitudes during summer. Differences between the simulated and observed stationary wave patterns reveal sizeable amplitude errors and phase shifts in all CCM versions. A common problem evident in the upper troposphere is an erroneous cyclone pair that straddles the equatorial central Pacific in January. The overall January stationary wave error pattern in CCM2 and CSCO2 is suggestive of a reverse Pacific-North American teleconnection pattern originating from the tropical central Pacific. During July, common regional biases include simulated North Pacific troughs that are stronger and shifted to the west of observations, and each model overestimates the strength of the anticyclone pair associated with the summer monsoon circulation over India. The simulated major convergence and divergence centers tend to be very localized in all CCM versions, with a tendency in each model for the maximum divergent centers to be unrelistically concentrated in monsoon regions and tied to regions of steep orography. Maxima in CCM-simulated precipitation correspond to the simulated outflow maxima and are generally larger than observational estimates, and the associated atmospheric latent heating appears to contribute to the stationary wave errors. Comparisons of simulated radiative quantities to satellite measurements reveal that the overall CCM2 radiative balance is better than in the other CCM versions. An error common to all models is that too much solar radiation is absorbed in the middle latitudes during summer.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • James W. Hurrell
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulderUSA

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