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Assessment of IPCC Simulations of the Antarctic Surface Climate

PI: Richard Cullather
Institution: Columbia University
Additional Investigators: Marilyn Raphael, Marika Holland
The goals of this study are (1) to assess the state of the art in year 2000 control simulations for the Antarctic continent and immediately adjacent oceanic regions, and time permitting (2) analysis of changes to these conditions under 2x and simulations. The variables of primary interest are the surface moisture flux, near-surface air temperature, the katabatic wind regime, and surface pressure. The models to be investigated are the NCAR CCSM-3, the GFDL CM2.0, GFDL CM2.1, and the GISS ModelE. For the control simulations, model evaluation is complicated by the suspect quality of analyzed fields in high southern latitudes and by the profound changes in conditions including large temperature trends and alterations in the annual cycle of atmospheric pressure. Comparisons will be made with available in situ manned and automatic weather station observations and with climatologies derived from the glaciological record.

The main task will be to characterize the spatial and temporal differences with observations among the various models. In the second part, the main focus will be on quantifying the Antarctic polar amplification in climate models, and in assessing the potential Antarctic contribution to sea level change resulting from changes to the surface moisture flux.

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    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory  |  Physical & Life Sciences Directorate