29 August 2014

Climate Response to the Mitigation Scenario RCP8.5 Simulated by SP-CCSM4 and CCSM4


The vertical wind shear over the tropical Atlantic and its relationship with ENSO are analyzed in the Super-Parameterized Community Climate System Model version 4 (SP-CCSM4) and in the conventional CCSM4. The climatology of vertical wind shear over the tropical Atlantic and the ENSO-shear relationship are well simulated in the control runs of SP-CCSM4 and CCSM4. However, due to different representations of cloud processes, in a warmer climate such as the RCP8.5 scenario, SP-CCSM4 projects increased mean westerlies at 200hPa during July through October, whereas CCSM4 projects decreased mean westerlies at 200hPa over the equatorial Atlantic. The different changes in the upper level wind further contribute to different projection of JASO mean vertical wind shear over the equatorial Atlantic. In the RCP8.5 scenario, when excluding the linear trend, projection of the ENSO-shear relationships by SP-CCSM4 retains similar features as in the observed current climate, whereas the ENSO-shear relationship projected by CCSM4 indicates an increase in the vertical wind shear dominating the tropical Atlantic during El Niño events. The difference in projection of ENSO-shear relationship is, to a certain extent, related to the different response of the tropical Atlantic SST to ENSO. Analysis of the climate change projection of Walker circulation, cloud cover and convective activity illustrates that super-parameterization simulates a stronger suppression of African convection than the conventional parameterization of moist processes. The weak convective activity diminishes the divergent wind associated with the vertical motion, which contributes to increased westerlies projected in SP-CCSM4.

Xiaojie Zhu
Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies
Zhu, X., Xu, L., & Stan, C. "Projections of the Tropical Atlantic Vertical Wind Shear and Its Relationship with ENSO in SP-CCSM4." Journal of Climate (2014). [10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00002.1].