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  • Chang, C.-Y., J. A. Carton, S. Grodsky, S. Nigam, 2007: Seasonal climate of the tropical Atlantic sector in the NCAR community climate system model 3: Error structure and probable causes of errors. J. Climate, 20, 1053-1070.

Abstract: The Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3) has a dipolelike pattern with a cold bias in the northern Tropics and a warm bias in the southeastern Tropics, which is reminiscent of the observed pattern of climate variability in boreal spring. Along the equator, in contrast, in boreal spring CCSM3 exhibits striking westerly winds with easterly winds in the upper troposphere, in turn reminiscent of the observed pattern of climate variability in boreal summer. The westerly winds cause a deepening of the eastern thermocline that keeps the east warm despite enhanced coastal upwelling. Thus, the bias in the seasonal cycle of the coupled model appears to project at least partially onto the spatial patterns of natural climate variability in this sector.

Information about the origin of the bias in CCSM3 is deduced from a comparison of CCSM3 with a simulation using specified historical SST to force the Community Atmospheric Model version 3 (CAM3). The patterns of bias in CAM3 resemble those apparent in CCSM3, including the appearance of substantially intensified subtropical bands of sea level pressure (SLP), indicating that the problem may be traced to difficulties in the atmospheric component model. Positive SLP bias also appears in the western tropical region, which may be related to deficient Amazonian precipitation. The positive SLP bias seems to be the cause of the anomalous westerly trade winds in boreal spring, and those in turn appear to be responsible for the anomalous deepening of the thermocline in the southeastern Tropics.

Last Updated: 2007-07-25

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