Previous research has found that global climate models (GCMs) usually simulate greater lower tropospheric stabilities compared to reanalysis data. To understand the origins of this bias, the authors examine hindcast simulations initialized with reanalysis data of six GCMs and find that four of the six models simulate within five days a positive bias in Arctic lower tropospheric stability during the Arctic polar night over sea ice regions. These biases in lower tropospheric stability are mainly due to cold biases in surface temperature, as very small potential temperature biases exist aloft.
Similar to previous research, polar night surface temperature biases in the hindcast runs relate to all-sky downwelling longwave radiation in the models, which very much relates to the cloud liquid water. Also found herein are clear-sky longwave radiation biases and a fairly large clear-sky longwave radiation bias in the day one hindcast. This clear-sky longwave bias is analyzed by running the same radiation transfer model for each model’s temperature and moisture profile, and the model spread in clear-sky downwelling longwave radiation with the same radiative transfer model is found to be much less, suggesting that model differences other than temperature and moisture are aiding in the spread in downwelling longwave radiation.
The six models were also analyzed in Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) mode to determine if hindcast simulations are analogous to free-running simulations. Similar winter lower tropospheric stability biases occur in four of the six models with surface temperature biases relating to the winter lower tropospheric stability values.