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Publication Date
15 April 2024

Modes of Variability in E3SM and CESM Large Ensembles



An adequate characterization of internal modes of climate variability (MoV) is a prerequisite for both accurate seasonal predictions and climate change detection and attribution. Assessing the fidelity of climate models in simulating MoV is therefore essential; however, doing so is complicated by the large intrinsic variations in MoV and the limited span of the observational record. Large ensembles (LEs) provide a unique opportunity to assess model fidelity in simulating MoV and quantify intermodel contrasts. In this work, these goals are pursued in four recently produced LEs: the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) versions 1 and 2 LEs, and the Community Earth System Model (CESM) versions 1 and 2 LEs. In general, the representation of global coupled modes is found to improve across successive E3SM and CESM versions in conjunction with the fidelity of the base state climate while the patterns of extratropical modes are well simulated across the ensembles. Various persistent shortcomings for all MoV are however identified and discussed. The results both demonstrate the successes of these recent model versions and suggest the potential for continued improvement in the representation of MoV with advances in model physics. Significance Statement Modes of variability play a critical role in prediction of seasonal to decadal climate variability and detection of forced climate change, but historically many modes have been poorly simulated by coupled climate models. Using recently produced large ensembles, this work demonstrates the improved simulation of a broad range of internal modes in successive versions of the E3SM and CESM and discusses opportunities for further advances.

Fasullo, John T., Julie M. Caron, Adam Phillips, Hui Li, Jadwiga H. Richter, Richard B. Neale, Nan A Rosenbloom, et al. 2024. “Modes Of Variability In E3Sm And Cesm Large Ensembles”. Journal Of Climate 37 (8). American Meteorological Society: 2629-2653. doi:10.1175/jcli-d-23-0454.1.
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