Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
26 February 2018

An Idealized Test of the Response of the Community Atmosphere Model to Near-Grid-Scale Forcing Across Hydrostatic Resolutions



A set of idealized experiments are developed using the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) to understand the vertical velocity response to reductions in forcing scale that is known to occur when the horizontal resolution of the model is increased. The test consists of a set of rising bubble experiments, in which the horizontal radius of the bubble and the model grid spacing are simultaneously reduced. The test is performed with moisture, through incorporating moist physics routines of varying complexity, although convection schemes are not considered. Results confirm that the vertical velocity in CAM is to first‐order, proportional to the inverse of the horizontal forcing scale, which is consistent with a scale analysis of the dry equations of motion. In contrast, experiments in which the coupling time step between the moist physics routines and the dynamical core (i.e., the “physics” time step) are relaxed back to more conventional values results in severely damped vertical motion at high resolution, degrading the scaling. A set of aqua‐planet simulations using different physics time steps are found to be consistent with the results of the idealized experiments.

“An Idealized Test Of The Response Of The Community Atmosphere Model To Near-Grid-Scale Forcing Across Hydrostatic Resolutions”. 2018. Journal Of Advances In Modeling Earth Systems 10: 560-575. doi:10.1002/2017ms001078.
Funding Program Area(s)