Biases in the atlantic ITCZ in seasonal-interannual variations for a coarse- and a high-resolution coupled climate model

Takeshi Doi, Gabriel Andres Vecchi, Anthony J. Rosati, Thomas L. Delworth

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54 Scopus citations


Using two fully coupled ocean-atmosphere models-Climate Model version 2.1 (CM2.1), developed at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, and Climate Model version 2.5 (CM2.5), a new high-resolution climate model based on CM2.1-the characteristics and sources of SST and precipitation biases associated with the Atlantic ITCZ have been investigated. CM2.5 has an improved simulation of the annual mean and the annual cycle of the rainfall over the Sahel and northern South America, while CM2.1 shows excessive Sahel rainfall and lack of northern South America rainfall in boreal summer. This marked improvement in CM2.5 is due to not only high-resolved orography but also a significant reduction of biases in the seasonal meridional migration of the ITCZ. In particular, the seasonal northward migration of the ITCZ in boreal summer is coupled to the seasonal variation of SST and a subsurface doming of the thermocline in the northeastern tropical Atlantic, known as the Guinea Dome. Improvements in the ITCZ allow for better representation of the coupled processes that are important for an abrupt seasonally phase-locked decay of the interannual SST anomaly in the northern tropical Atlantic. Nevertheless, the differences between CM2.5 and CM2.1 were not sufficient to reduce the warm SST biases in the eastern equatorial region and Angola-Benguela area. The weak bias of southerly winds along the southwestern African coast associated with the excessive southward migration bias of the ITCZ may be a key to improve the warm SST biases there.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5494-5511
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Atmosphere-ocean interaction


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