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Evaluation of twentieth-century Atlantic Warm Pool simulations in historical CMIP5 runs

Abstract

State-of-the-art coupled global climate models are evaluated for their simulation of the Atlantic Warm Pool (AWP). Historical runs from 17 coupled climate models included in the Fifth Phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) serve as the basis for this model evaluation study. The model simulations are directly compared to observations and reanalysis data to evaluate the climatological features and variability of the AWP within each individual model. Results reveal that a select number of models—namely the GISS-E2-R, CSIRO-Mk3.6, and MPI-ESM-LR—are successful at resolving an appropriately sized AWP with some reasonable climatological features. However, these three models exhibit an erroneously broad seasonal peak of the AWP, and its variability is significantly underestimated. Furthermore, all of the CMIP5 models exhibit a significant cold bias across the tropical Atlantic basin, which hinders their ability to accurately resolve the AWP.

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Acknowledgments

We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP5, and thank the climate modeling groups listed in Table 1 for producing and making available their model output. We also thank the U.S. Department of Energy’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison for providing coordinating support and leading development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals. Furthermore, we acknowledge that the Reanalysis 2 data were provided by NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD, Boulder, Colorado, USA, from their Web site at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/. We are grateful for the thoughtful comments and suggestions provided by three anomous reviewers. Additionally, we thank Kathy Fearon for her helpful comments and revisions during the editing process. Finally, we thank Christopher Selman for helping to download the CMIP5 data, J-P Michael for helping to detrend the data, and Steven DiNapoli for providing the scripts used to calculate the AWPAI. This work was supported by grants from NOAA (NA12OAR4310078, NA10OAR4310215, NA11OAR4310110), USGS (06HQGR0125), and USDA (027865).

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Correspondence to Michael E. Kozar.

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Kozar, M.E., Misra, V. Evaluation of twentieth-century Atlantic Warm Pool simulations in historical CMIP5 runs. Clim Dyn 41, 2375–2391 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-012-1604-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-012-1604-9

Keywords

  • Atlantic Warm Pool
  • CMIP5
  • Tropical North Atlantic Climate