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Investigating spatial patterns of large-scale surface climate change in OAGCMs

PI: Jason Lowe
Institution: Met Office Hadley Centre
Additional Investigators: Peter Good
To characterise features of surface climate change in the AR4 OAGCMs.
To begin an investigation of the mechanisms of change.

Several large-scale features are apparent in the surface patterns of change in transient OAGCM simulations; such as the land-sea contrast and polar amplification. In previous assessment reports the geographical patterns of the ratio of time mean changes to intra model spread have been considered, and we aim to do this for the climate projections in the fourth assessment report and characterise their robust and non-robust features.

The second stage of our project will involve trying to understand what causes the models to agree in some regions, and for some large scale features, but not for others. In the first instance we will use output from the Hadley Centre perturbed physics ensemble (QUMP) to suggest controlling factors for features of interest. Later, budget calculations will be used to investigate the mechanisms in the Hadley Centre models in more detail.

Download IPCC data from PCMDI.
Plot basic statistics for multi model ensembles of T1.5m, PPN, soil moisture and PMSL. We will characterise regions using the ratio of (mean change)/(standard deviation), look at the positioning of sharp gradients, and at polar amplification and the land-sea contrasts.
Identify mechanisms that determine features of change:-
For each identified feature, refer to QUMP ensemble and use this to provide guidance on what controls sensitivity of surface climate features in each region. Does this appear consistent with the inter model structural differences?
If time allows, investigate what determines the patterns of change in the Hadley Centre models using:- local budget calculations and (later) GCM resolution regional simulations.

The evaluation of mechanisms will also be informed by efforts to analyse the contributions of local feedbacks to climate sensitivity plus perturbed SST experiments, which will be done elsewhere in the Hadley Centre program.

T1.5m, PPN (convective and large scale), soil moisture and PMSL.
(Radiative fluxes will be needed for local contribution to climate sensitivity.)

From anomaly simulations (1%, A2, A1B and B1) and control.
  • Good, P.G. and J. Lowe, 2006: Emergent behavior and uncertainty in multi-model climate projections of precipitation trends at small spatial scales. J. Clim. Accepted. Abstract. Edit.

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