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Publication Date
11 November 2016

Sources and pathways of the upscale effects on the Southern Hemisphere jet in MPAS-CAM4 variable-resolution simulations



Impacts of regional grid refinement on large-scale circulations (“upscale effects”) were detected in a previous study that used the Model for Prediction Across Scales-Atmosphere coupled to the physics parameterizations of the Community Atmosphere Model version 4. The strongest upscale effect was identified in the Southern Hemisphere jet during austral winter. This study examines the detailed underlying processes by comparing two simulations at quasi-uniform resolutions of 30 and 120 km to three variable-resolution simulations in which the horizontal grids are regionally refined to 30 km in North America, South America, or Asia from 120 km elsewhere. In all the variable-resolution simulations, precipitation increases in convective areas inside the high-resolution domains, as in the reference quasi-uniform high-resolution simulation. With grid refinement encompassing the tropical Americas, the increased condensational heating expands the local divergent circulations (Hadley cell) meridionally such that their descending branch is shifted poleward, which also pushes the baroclinically unstable regions, momentum flux convergence, and the eddy-driven jet poleward. This teleconnection pathway is not found in the reference high-resolution simulation due to a strong resolution sensitivity of cloud radiative forcing that dominates the aforementioned teleconnection signals. The regional refinement over Asia enhances Rossby wave sources and strengthens the upper level southerly flow, both facilitating the cross-equatorial propagation of stationary waves. Evidence indicates that this teleconnection pathway is also found in the reference high-resolution simulation. The result underlines the intricate diagnoses needed to understand the upscale effects in global variable-resolution simulations, with implications for science investigations using the computationally efficient modeling framework.

Sakaguchi , Koichi, Jian Lu, L Ruby Leung, Chun Zhao, Yanjie Li, and Samson Hagos. 2016. “Sources And Pathways Of The Upscale Effects On The Southern Hemisphere Jet In Mpas-Cam4 Variable-Resolution Simulations”. Journal Of Advances In Modeling Earth Systems early view. doi:10.1002/2016MS000743.
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