Publications

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Book Chapter
Walsh, J, Wuebbles D, Hayhoe K, Kossin JP, Kunkel K, Stephens GL, Thorne PD, Vose RS, Wehner B, Willis J, Anderson D, Doney S, Feeley R, Hennon PA, Kharin V, Knutson T, Landerer FW, Lenton TM, Kennedy JJ, Somerville R.  2014.  Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. ( Mellilo JM, Richmond T(TC), Yohe GW, Eds.).:19-67.: U.S. Global Change Research Program   10.7930/J0KW5CXT   Abstract

This chapter summarizes how climate is changing, why it is changing, and what is projected for the future. While the focus is on changes in the United States, the need to provide context sometimes requires a broader geographical perspective. Additional geographic detail is presented in the regional chapters of this report. Further details on the topics covered by this chapter are provided in the Climate Science Supplement and Frequently Asked Questions Appendices.

Somerville, R.  2011.  The co-evolution of climate models and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The development of atmospheric general circulation models : complexity, synthesis, and computation. ( Donner L, Schubert WH, Somerville R, Eds.).:225-252., Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press Abstract

"Presenting a comprehensive discussion of general circulation models of the atmosphere, this book covers their historical and contemporary development, their societal context, and current efforts to integrate these models into wider earth-system models. Leading researchers provide unique perspectives on the scientific breakthroughs, overarching themes, critical applications, and future prospects for atmospheric general circulation models. Key interdisciplinary links to other subject areas such as chemistry, oceanography and ecology are also highlighted. This book is a core reference for academic researchers and professionals involved in atmospheric physics, meteorology and climate science, and can be used as a resource for graduate-level courses in climate modeling and numerical weather prediction. Given the critical role that atmospheric general circulation models are playing in the intense public discourse on climate change, it is also a valuable resource for policy makers and all those concerned with the scientific basis for the ongoing public-policy debate"--"The aim of this volume is to describe the development of atmospheric general circulation models. We are motivated to do so by the central and essential role of these models in understanding, simulating, and predicting the atmosphere on a wide range of time scales. While atmospheric general circulation models are an important basis for many societal decisions, from responses to changing weather to deliberations on responding to anthropogenic climate change, the scientific basis for these models, and how they have come about and continue to develop, are not widely known. Our objective in editing this volume is to provide a perspective on these matters"--

Le Treut, H, Somerville RCJ, Cubasch U, Ding Y, Mauritzen C, Mokssit A, Peterson T, Prather M.  2007.  Historical Overview of Climate Change. Climate change 2007 : the physical science basis : contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. ( Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt K, Tignor M, Miller H, Eds.)., Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press Abstract
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Journal Article
Druyan, LM, Somerville RCJ, Quirk WJ.  1975.  Extended-Range Forecasts with GISS Model of Global Atmosphere. Monthly Weather Review. 103:779-795.   10.1175/1520-0493(1975)103<0779:erfwtg>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite
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Somervil.Rc, Stone PH, Halem M, Hansen JE, Hogan JS, Druyan LM, Russell G, Lacis AA, Quirk WJ, Tenenbau.J.  1974.  GISS Model of Global Atmosphere. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 31:84-117.   10.1175/1520-0469(1974)031<0084:tgmotg>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

A model description and numerical results are presented for a global atmospheric circulation model developed at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). The model version described is a 9-level primitive-equation model in sigma coordinates. It includes a realistic distribution of continents, oceans and topography. Detailed calculations of energy transfer by solar and terrestrial radiation make use of cloud and water vapor fields calculated by the model. The model hydrologic cycle includes two precipitation mechanisms: large-scale supersaturation and a parameterization of subgrid-scale cumulus convection.Results are presented both from a comparison of the 13th to the 43rd days (January) of one integration with climatological statistics, and from five short-range forecasting experiments. In the extended integration, the near-equilibrium January-mean model atmosphere exhibits an energy cycle in good agreement with observational estimates, together with generally realistic zonal mean fields of winds, temperature, humidity, transports, diabatic heating, evaporation, precipitation, and cloud cover. In the five forecasting experiments, after 48 hr, the average rms error in temperature is 3.9K, and the average rms error in 500-mb height is 62 m. The model is successful in simulating the 2-day evolution of the major features of the observed sea level pressure and 500-mb height fields in a region surrounding North America.

Yang, Y, Russell LM, Xu L, Lou SJ, Lamjiri MA, Somerville RCJ, Miller AJ, Cayan DR, DeFlorio MJ, Ghan SJ, Liu Y, Singh B, Wang HL, Yoon JH, Rasch PJ.  2016.  Impacts of ENSO events on cloud radiative effects in preindustrial conditions: Changes in cloud fraction and their dependence on interactive aerosol emissions and concentrations. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 121:6321-6335.   10.1002/2015jd024503   AbstractWebsite

We use three 150 year preindustrial simulations of the Community Earth System Model to quantify the impacts of El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events on shortwave and longwave cloud radiative effects (CRESW and CRELW). Compared to recent observations from the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System data set, the model simulation successfully reproduces larger variations of CRESW and CRELW over the tropics. The ENSO cycle is found to dominate interannual variations of cloud radiative effects. Simulated cooling (warming) effects from CRESW (CRELW) are strongest over the tropical western and central Pacific Ocean during warm ENSO events, with the largest difference between 20 and 60 W m(-2), with weaker effects of 10-40 W m(-2) over Indonesian regions and the subtropical Pacific Ocean. Sensitivity tests show that variations of cloud radiative effects are mainly driven by ENSO-related changes in cloud fraction. The variations in midlevel and high cloud fractions each account for approximately 20-50% of the interannual variations of CRESW over the tropics and almost all of the variations of CRELW between 60 degrees S and 60 degrees N. The variation of low cloud fraction contributes to most of the variations of CRESW over the midlatitude oceans. Variations in natural aerosol concentrations explained 10-30% of the variations of both CRESW and CRELW over the tropical Pacific, Indonesian regions, and the tropical Indian Ocean. Changes in natural aerosol emissions and concentrations enhance 3-5% and 1-3% of the variations of cloud radiative effects averaged over the tropics.

Xie, SC, Xu KM, Cederwall RT, Bechtold P, Delgenio AD, Klein SA, Cripe DG, Ghan SJ, Gregory D, Iacobellis SF, Krueger SK, Lohmann U, Petch JC, Randall DA, Rotstayn LD, Somerville RCJ, Sud YC, Von Salzen K, Walker GK, Wolf A, Yio JJ, Zhang GJ, Zhang MG.  2002.  Intercomparison and evaluation of cumulus parametrizations under summertime midlatitude continental conditions. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 128:1095-1135.   10.1256/003590002320373229   AbstractWebsite

This study reports the Single-Column Model (SCM) part of the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM)/the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) Cloud System Study (GCSS) joint SCM and Cloud-Resolving Model (CRM) Case 3 intercomparison study, with a focus on evaluation Of Cumulus parametrizations used in SCMs. Fifteen SCMs are evaluated under summertime midlatitude continental conditions using data collected at the ARM Southern Great Plains site during the summer 1997 Intensive Observing Period. Results from ten CRMs are also used to diagnose problems in the SCMs. It is shown that most SCMs can generally capture well the convective events that were well-developed within the SCM domain, while most of them have difficulties in simulating the occurrence of those convective events that only occurred within a small part of the domain. All models significantly underestimate the surface stratiform precipitation. A third of them produce large errors in surface precipitation and thermodynamic structures. Deficiencies in convective triggering mechanisms are thought to be one of the major reasons. Using a triggering mechanism that is based on the vertical integral of parcel buoyant energy without additional appropriate constraints results in overactive convection, which in turn leads to large systematic warm/dry biases in the troposphere. It is also shown that a non-penetrative convection scheme can underestimate the depth of instability for midlatitude convection, which leads to large systematic cold/moist biases in the troposphere. SCMs agree well quantitatively with CRMs in the updraught mass fluxes, while most models significantly underestimate the downdraught mass fluxes. Neglect of mesoscale updraught and downdraught mass fluxes in the SCMs contributes considerably to the discrepancies between the SCMs and the CRMs. In addition, uncertainties in the diagnosed mass fluxes in the CRMs and deficiencies with cumulus parametrizations are not negligible. Similar results are obtained in the sensitivity tests when different forcing approaches are used. Finally. sensitivity tests from an SCM indicate that its simulations can be greatly improved when its triggering mechanism and closure assumption are improved.

Xu, KM, Zhang MH, Eitzen MA, Ghan SJ, Klein SA, Wu XQ, Xie SC, Branson M, Delgenio AD, Iacobellis SF, Khairoutdinov M, Lin WY, Lohmann U, Randall DA, Somerville RCJ, Sud YC, Walker GK, Wolf A, Yio JJ, Zhang JH.  2005.  Modeling springtime shallow frontal clouds with cloud-resolving and single-column models. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 110   10.1029/2004jd005153   AbstractWebsite

This modeling study compares the performance of eight single-column models (SCMs) and four cloud-resolving models (CRMs) in simulating shallow frontal cloud systems observed during a short period of the March 2000 Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) intensive operational period. Except for the passage of a cold front at the beginning of this period, frontal cloud systems are under the influence of an upper tropospheric ridge and are driven by a persistent frontogenesis over the Southern Great Plains and moisture transport from the northwestern part of the Gulf of Mexico. This study emphasizes quantitative comparisons among the model simulations and with the ARM data, focusing on a 27-hour period when only shallow frontal clouds were observed. All CRMs and SCMs simulate clouds in the observed shallow cloud layer. Most SCMs also produce clouds in the middle and upper troposphere, while none of the CRMs produce any clouds there. One possible cause for this is the decoupling between cloud condensate and cloud fraction in nearly all SCM parameterizations. Another possible cause is the weak upper tropospheric subsidence that has been averaged over both descending and ascending regions. Significantly different cloud amounts and cloud microphysical properties are found in the model simulations. All CRMs and most SCMs underestimate shallow clouds in the lowest 125 hPa near the surface, but most SCMs overestimate the cloud amount above this layer. These results are related to the detailed formulations of cloud microphysical processes and fractional cloud parameterizations in the SCMs, and possibly to the dynamical framework and two-dimensional configuration of the CRMs. Although two of the CRMs with anelastic dynamical frameworks simulate the shallow frontal clouds much better than the SCMs, the CRMs do not necessarily perform much better than the SCMs for the entire period when deep and shallow frontal clouds are present.

Willis, GE, Deardorff JW, Somerville RCJ.  1972.  Roll-diameter dependence in Rayleigh convection and its effect upon the heat flux. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 54:351-367.   10.1017/S0022112072000722   Abstract

The average roll diameter in Rayleigh convection for 2000 < R < 31000, where R is the Rayleigh number, has been measured from photographs of three convecting fluids: air, water and a silicone oil with a Prandtl number σ of 450. For air the average dimensionless roll diameter was found to depend uniquely upon R and to increase especially rapidly in the range 2000 < R < 8000. The fluids of larger σ exhibited strong hysteresis but also had average roll diameters tending to increase with R. The increase in average roll diameter with R tended to decrease with σ. Through use of two-dimensional numerical integrations for the case of air it was found that the increase in average roll diameter with R provides an explanation for the usual discrepancy in heat flux observed between experiment and two-dimensional numerical calculations which prescribe a fixed wavelength.

DeFlorio, MJ, Ghan SJ, Singh B, Miller AJ, Cayan DR, Russell LM, Somerville RCJ.  2014.  Semidirect dynamical and radiative effect of North African dust transport on lower tropospheric clouds over the subtropical North Atlantic in CESM 1.0. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 119:2013JD020997.   10.1002/2013JD020997   AbstractWebsite

This study uses a century length preindustrial climate simulation by the Community Earth System Model (CESM 1.0) to explore statistical relationships between dust, clouds, and atmospheric circulation and to suggest a semidirect dynamical mechanism linking subtropical North Atlantic lower tropospheric cloud cover with North African dust transport. The length of the run allows us to account for interannual variability of North African dust emissions and transport in the model. CESM's monthly climatology of both aerosol optical depth and surface dust concentration at Cape Verde and Barbados, respectively, agree well with available observations, as does the aerosol size distribution at Cape Verde. In addition, CESM shows strong seasonal cycles of dust burden and lower tropospheric cloud fraction, with maximum values occurring during boreal summer, when a strong correlation between these two variables exists over the subtropical North Atlantic. Calculations of Estimated Inversion Strength (EIS) and composites of EIS on high and low downstream North African dust months during boreal summer reveal that dust is likely increasing inversion strength over this region due to both solar absorption and reflection. We find no evidence for a microphysical link between dust and lower tropospheric clouds in this region. These results yield new insight over an extensive period of time into the complex relationship between North African dust and North Atlantic lower tropospheric clouds, which has previously been hindered by spatiotemporal constraints of observations. Our findings lay a framework for future analyses using different climate models and submonthly data over regions with different underlying dynamics.

Xie, SC, Zhang MH, Branson M, Cederwall RT, Delgenio AD, Eitzen ZA, Ghan SJ, Iacobellis SF, Johnson KL, Khairoutdinov M, Klein SA, Krueger SK, Lin WY, Lohmann U, Miller MA, Randall DA, Somerville RCJ, Sud YC, Walker GK, Wolf A, Wu XQ, Xu KM, Yio JJ, Zhang G, Zhang JH.  2005.  Simulations of midlatitude frontal clouds by single-column and cloud-resolving models during the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement March 2000 cloud intensive operational period. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 110   10.1029/2004jd005119   AbstractWebsite

[1] This study quantitatively evaluates the overall performance of nine single-column models (SCMs) and four cloud-resolving models (CRMs) in simulating a strong midlatitude frontal cloud system taken from the spring 2000 Cloud Intensive Observational Period at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement ( ARM) Southern Great Plains site. The evaluation data are an analysis product of constrained variational analysis of the ARM observations and the cloud data collected from the ARM ground active remote sensors (i.e., cloud radar, lidar, and laser ceilometers) and satellite retrievals. Both the selected SCMs and CRMs can typically capture the bulk characteristics of the frontal system and the frontal precipitation. However, there are significant differences in detailed structures of the frontal clouds. Both CRMs and SCMs overestimate high thin cirrus clouds before the main frontal passage. During the passage of a front with strong upward motion, CRMs underestimate middle and low clouds while SCMs overestimate clouds at the levels above 765 hPa. All CRMs and some SCMs also underestimated the middle clouds after the frontal passage. There are also large differences in the model simulations of cloud condensates owing to differences in parameterizations; however, the differences among intercompared models are smaller in the CRMs than the SCMs. In general, the CRM-simulated cloud water and ice are comparable with observations, while most SCMs underestimated cloud water. SCMs show huge biases varying from large overestimates to equally large underestimates of cloud ice. Many of these model biases could be traced to the lack of subgrid-scale dynamical structure in the applied forcing fields and the lack of organized mesoscale hydrometeor advections. Other potential reasons for these model errors are also discussed in the paper.

Dobosy, RJ, Somerville RCJ.  1979.  Test of Simple Momentum Boundary-Layer Parameterizations in a Numerical Weather Prediction Model. Contributions to Atmospheric Physics [Beitraege zur Physik der Atmosphaere.], Wiesbaden, Germany. 52:190-203. Abstract
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Miscellaneous
Donner, LJ, Schubert WH, Somerville R.  2011.  The development of atmospheric general circulation models : complexity, synthesis, and computation. , Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press Abstract

"Presenting a comprehensive discussion of general circulation models of the atmosphere, this book covers their historical and contemporary development, their societal context, and current efforts to integrate these models into wider earth-system models. Leading researchers provide unique perspectives on the scientific breakthroughs, overarching themes, critical applications, and future prospects for atmospheric general circulation models. Key interdisciplinary links to other subject areas such as chemistry, oceanography and ecology are also highlighted. This book is a core reference for academic researchers and professionals involved in atmospheric physics, meteorology and climate science, and can be used as a resource for graduate-level courses in climate modeling and numerical weather prediction. Given the critical role that atmospheric general circulation models are playing in the intense public discourse on climate change, it is also a valuable resource for policy makers and all those concerned with the scientific basis for the ongoing public-policy debate"--"The aim of this volume is to describe the development of atmospheric general circulation models. We are motivated to do so by the central and essential role of these models in understanding, simulating, and predicting the atmosphere on a wide range of time scales. While atmospheric general circulation models are an important basis for many societal decisions, from responses to changing weather to deliberations on responding to anthropogenic climate change, the scientific basis for these models, and how they have come about and continue to develop, are not widely known. Our objective in editing this volume is to provide a perspective on these matters"--