Representation of tropical mesoscale convective systems in a general circulation model: Climatology and response to global warming

Wenhao Dong, Ming Zhao, Yi Ming, V. Ramaswamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The characteristics of tropical mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) simulated with a finer-resolution (;50 km) version of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) AM4 model are evaluated by comparing with a comprehensive long-term observational dataset. It is shown that the model can capture the various aspects of MCSs reasonably well. The simulated spatial distribution of MCSs is broadly in agreement with the observations. This is also true for seasonality and interannual variability over different land and oceanic regions. The simulated MCSs are generally longer-lived, weaker, and larger than observed. Despite these biases, an event-scale analysis suggests that their duration, intensity, and size are strongly correlated. Specifically, longer-lived and stronger events tend to be bigger, which is consistent with the observations. The same model is used to investigate the response of tropical MCSs to global warming using time-slice simulations forced by prescribed sea surface temperatures and sea ice. There is an overall decrease in occurrence frequency, and the reduction over land is more prominent than over ocean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5657-5671
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume34
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

Keywords

  • Atmosphere
  • Climate models
  • Climatology
  • Mesoscale systems
  • Tropics

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