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Land-atmosphere coupling strength and climate sensitivity

PI: David Lawrence
Institution: National Center for Atmospheric Research
We intend to investigate whether or not the degree of land-atmosphere coupling strength affects local climate sensitivity. Land-atmosphere coupling strength in a range of climate models has been objectively diagnosed in a recent model intercomparison study, the Global Land-Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE, Koster et al 2004). The results of GLACE show that coupling strength varies considerably between climate models for a variety of reasons that are not yet fully understood. The question we would like to address is the following: Does the inherent strength of a particular model's land-atmosphere coupling have a significant impact on it's simulation of climate and climate change? The large differences in inherent coupling strength amongst current GCMs permits us to indirectly evaluate this by evaluating IPCC GCM climate change simulations in the context of each model's coupling strength. Six modeling groups participated in both the GLACE and IPCC experiments are are thus available for comparison (CCCma, CSIRO-CC3, GFDL, UKMO, CCSR, NCAR). These models span the range of coupling strengths determined in the GLACE study.

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