Simulation of Arctic Climate with the Regional Arctic System Model (RASM): Sensitivity to Atmospheric Processes

Monday, May 12, 2014 - 07:00
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A new regional Earth system model of the Arctic, the Regional Arctic System Model (RASM), has recently been developed. The initial version of this model includes atmosphere (WRF), ocean (POP), sea ice (CICE), and land (VIC) component models coupled with the NCAR CESM CPL7 coupler. The model is configured to run on a large pan-Arctic domain that includes all sea ice covered waters in the Northern Hemisphere and all Arctic Ocean draining land areas. Results from multi-decadal (1989 to present) simulations with RASM will be presented and will focus on the model climate's sensitivity to atmospheric processes. The modeled radiation budget, and sea ice cover, was found to be sensitive to the details of the cloud and radiation parameterizations in the atmospheric component (WRF) of RASM, including details of cloud droplet size. Care is needed to ensure that decoupling between the atmosphere and land do not occur under strongly stable conditions over land areas in winter. Comparison of RASM near surface climate with that simulated with stand-alone WRF show areas of both improved and degraded results. Improvement in the coupled model climate are related to more physically realistic representation of coupled processes such as energy transfer from the ocean to the atmosphere through leads in the sea ice during winter. Degraded results come from feedbacks in model component biases, such as atmospheric circulation biases resulting in incorrect local sea ice cover that then result in large local atmospheric temperature biases. Finally, results of analysis of strong surface winds and turbulent fluxes will be presented highlighting the details of the wind regime around Greenland and comparison of the representation of high winds in global reanalyses and varied resolution WRF simulations.

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