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Allison, I, Bindoff NL, Bindschadler RA, Cox PM, de Noblet N, England MH, Francis JE, Gruber N, Haywood AM, Karoly DJ, Kaser G, Quéré LC, Lenton TM, Mann ME, McNeil BI, Pitman AJ, Rahmstorf S, Rignot E, Schellnhuber HJ, Schneider SH, Sherwood SC, Somerville RCJ, Steffen K, Steig EJ, Visbeck M, Weaver. AJ.  2011.  The Copenhagen Diagnosis: Updating the world on the latest climate science. :xiv,98p.., Burlington, MA: Elsevier Abstract
Book Chapter
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
Journal Article
Pritchard, MS, Somerville RCJ.  2009.  Assessing the Diurnal Cycle of Precipitation in a Multi-Scale Climate Model. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems. 1   10.3894/james.2009.1.12   AbstractWebsite

A promising result that has emerged from the new Multi-scale Modeling Framework (MMF) approach to atmospheric modeling is a global improvement in the daily timing of peak precipitation over the continents, which is suggestive of improved moist dynamics at diurnal timescales overall. We scrutinize the simulated seasonal composite diurnal cycle of precipitation in an MMF developed by the Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes (CMMAP) using a comprehensive suite of diurnal cycle diagnostics including traditional harmonic analysis, and non-traditional diagnostics such as the broadness of the peak precipitation in the mean summer day, reduced dimension transect analysis, and animations of the full spatial and temporal variability of the composite mean summer day. Precipitation in the MMF is evaluated against multi-satellite merged satellite data and a control simulation with a climate model that employs conventional cloud and boundary layer parameterizations. Our analysis highlights several improved features of the diurnal cycle of precipitation in the multi-scale climate model: It is less sinusoidal over the most energetic diurnal rainfall regimes, more horizontally inhomogeneous within continents and oceans, and more faithful to observed structural transitions in the composite diurnal cycle chronology straddling coastlines than the conventional climate model. A regional focus on North America links a seasonal summer dry bias over the continental United States in the CMMAP MMF at T42 resolution to its inability to capture diurnally propagating precipitation signals associated with organized convection in the lee of the Rockies. The chronology of precipitation events elsewhere in the vicinity of North America is improved in the MMF, especially over sea breeze circulation regions along the eastern seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as over the entirety of the Gulf Stream. Comparison of the convective heating and moistening suggests that improvements in the MMF coastal ocean diurnal rainfall may be a result of a local moist dynamical response to the improved representation of energetic diurnal forcing over adjacent land.

Ghan, S, Randall D, Xu KM, Cederwall R, Cripe D, Hack J, Iacobellis S, Klein S, Krueger S, Lohmann U, Pedretti J, Robock A, Rotstayn L, Somerville R, Stenchikov G, Sud Y, Walker G, Xie SC, Yio J, Zhang MH.  2000.  A comparison of single column model simulations of summertime midlatitude continental convection. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 105:2091-2124.   Doi 10.1029/1999jd900971   AbstractWebsite

Eleven different single-column models (SCMs) and one cloud ensemble model (CEM) are driven by boundary conditions observed at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program southern Great Plains site for a 17 day period during the summer of 1995. Comparison of the model simulations reveals common signatures identifiable as products of errors in the boundary conditions. Intermodel differences in the simulated temperature, humidity, cloud, precipitation, and radiative fluxes reflect differences in model resolution or physical parameterizations, although sensitive dependence on initial conditions can also contribute to intermodel differences. All models perform well at times but poorly at others. Although none of the SCM simulations stands out as superior to the others, the simulation by the CEM is in several respects in better agreement with the observations than the simulations by the SCMs. Nudging of the simulated temperature and humidity toward observations generally improves the simulated cloud and radiation fields as well as the simulated temperature and humidity but degrades the precipitation simulation for models with large temperature and humidity biases without nudging. Although some of the intermodel differences have not been explained, others have been identified as model problems that can be or have been corrected as a result of the comparison.

Kooperman, GJ, Pritchard MS, Ghan SJ, Wang MH, Somerville RCJ, Russell LM.  2012.  Constraining the influence of natural variability to improve estimates of global aerosol indirect effects in a nudged version of the Community Atmosphere Model 5. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 117   10.1029/2012jd018588   AbstractWebsite

Natural modes of variability on many timescales influence aerosol particle distributions and cloud properties such that isolating statistically significant differences in cloud radiative forcing due to anthropogenic aerosol perturbations (indirect effects) typically requires integrating over long simulations. For state-of-the-art global climate models (GCM), especially those in which embedded cloud-resolving models replace conventional statistical parameterizations (i.e., multiscale modeling framework, MMF), the required long integrations can be prohibitively expensive. Here an alternative approach is explored, which implements Newtonian relaxation (nudging) to constrain simulations with both pre-industrial and present-day aerosol emissions toward identical meteorological conditions, thus reducing differences in natural variability and dampening feedback responses in order to isolate radiative forcing. Ten-year GCM simulations with nudging provide a more stable estimate of the global-annual mean net aerosol indirect radiative forcing than do conventional free-running simulations. The estimates have mean values and 95% confidence intervals of -1.19 +/- 0.02 W/m(2) and -1.37 +/- 0.13 W/m(2) for nudged and free-running simulations, respectively. Nudging also substantially increases the fraction of the world's area in which a statistically significant aerosol indirect effect can be detected (66% and 28% of the Earth's surface for nudged and free-running simulations, respectively). One-year MMF simulations with and without nudging provide global-annual mean net aerosol indirect radiative forcing estimates of -0.81 W/m(2) and -0.82 W/m(2), respectively. These results compare well with previous estimates from three-year free-running MMF simulations (-0.83 W/m(2)), which showed the aerosol-cloud relationship to be in better agreement with observations and high-resolution models than in the results obtained with conventional cloud parameterizations. Citation: Kooperman, G. J., M. S. Pritchard, S. J. Ghan, M. Wang, R. C. J. Somerville, and L. M. Russell (2012), Constraining the influence of natural variability to improve estimates of global aerosol indirect effects in a nudged version of the Community Atmosphere Model 5, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D23204, doi:10.1029/2012JD018588.

Pritchard, MS, Somerville RCJ.  2009.  Empirical orthogonal function analysis of the diurnal cycle of precipitation in a multi-scale climate model. Geophysical Research Letters. 36   10.1029/2008gl036964   AbstractWebsite

Long-term variability in the hydrologic cycle is poorly simulated by current generation global climate models (GCMs), partly due to known climatological biases at shorter timescales. We demonstrate that a prototype Multi-scale Modeling Framework (MMF) provides a superior representation of the spatial and temporal structure of precipitation at diurnal timescales than a GCM. Results from empirical orthogonal function (EOF) decomposition of the boreal summer climatological composite diurnal cycle of precipitation in an MMF are compared to a GCM and satellite data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission. The eigenspectrum, principal component time series, and the spatial structure of leading EOFs in an eigenmode decomposition of the MMF composite day are a much better match to observations than the GCM. Regional deficiencies in the MMF diurnal cycle are manifest as localized anomalies in the spatial structures of the first two leading EOFs. Citation: Pritchard, M. S., and R. C. J. Somerville (2009), Empirical orthogonal function analysis of the diurnal cycle of precipitation in a multi-scale climate model, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L05812, doi: 10.1029/2008GL036964.

Xu, L, Pierce DW, Russell LM, Miller AJ, Somerville RCJ, Twohy CH, Ghan SJ, Singh B, Yoon J-H, Rasch PJ.  2015.  Interannual to decadal climate variability of sea salt aerosols in the coupled climate model CESM1.0. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. :2014JD022888.   10.1002/2014JD022888   AbstractWebsite

This study examines multi-year climate variability associated with sea salt aerosols and their contribution to the variability of shortwave cloud forcing (SWCF) using a 150-year simulation for pre-industrial conditions of the Community Earth System Model version 1.0 (CESM1). The results suggest that changes in sea salt and related cloud and radiative properties on interannual timescales are dominated by the ENSO cycle. Sea salt variability on longer (interdecadal) timescales is associated with low-frequency variability in the Pacific Ocean similar to the interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), but does not show a statistically significant spectral peak. A multivariate regression suggests that sea salt aerosol variability may contribute to SWCF variability in the tropical Pacific, explaining up to 20-30% of the variance in that region. Elsewhere, there is only a small sea salt aerosol influence on SWCF through modifying cloud droplet number and liquid water path that contributes to the change of cloud effective radius and cloud optical depth (and hence cloud albedo), producing a multi-year aerosol-cloud-wind interaction.

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.

Zhao, Z, Kooperman GJ, Pritchard MS, Russell LM, Somerville RCJ.  2014.  Investigating impacts of forest fires in Alaska and western Canada on regional weather over the northeastern United States using CAM5 global simulations to constrain transport to a WRF-Chem regional domain. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 119:2013JD020973.   10.1002/2013JD020973   AbstractWebsite

An aerosol-enabled globally driven regional modeling system has been developed by coupling the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Community Atmosphere Model version 5 (CAM5) with the Weather Research and Forecasting model with chemistry (WRF-Chem). In this modeling system, aerosol-enabled CAM5, a state-of-the-art global climate model is downscaled to provide coherent meteorological and chemical boundary conditions for regional WRF-Chem simulations. Aerosol particle emissions originating outside the WRF-Chem domain can be a potentially important nonlocal aerosol source. As a test case, the potential impacts of nonlocal forest fire aerosols on regional precipitation and radiation were investigated over the northeastern United States during the summer of 2004. During this period, forest fires in Alaska and western Canada lofted aerosol particles into the midtroposphere, which were advected across the United States. WRF-Chem simulations that included nonlocal biomass burning aerosols had domain-mean aerosol optical depths that were nearly three times higher than those without, which reduced peak downwelling domain-mean shortwave radiation at the surface by ~25 W m−2. In this classic twin experiment design, adding nonlocal fire plume led to near-surface cooling and changes in cloud vertical distribution, while variations in domain-mean cloud liquid water path were negligible. The higher aerosol concentrations in the simulation with the fire plume resulted in a ~10% reduction in domain-mean precipitation coincident with an ~8% decrease in domain-mean CAPE. A suite of simulations was also conducted to explore sensitivities of meteorological feedbacks to the ratio of black carbon to total plume aerosols, as well as to overall plume concentrations. Results from this ensemble revealed that plume-induced near-surface cooling and CAPE reduction occur in a wide range of conditions. The response of moist convection was very complex because of strong thermodynamic internal variability.

Iacobellis, SF, Frouin R, Razafimpanilo H, Somerville RCJ, Piper SC.  1994.  North African savanna fires and atmospheric carbon dioxide. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 99:8321-8334.   10.1029/93jd03339   AbstractWebsite

The effect of north African savanna fires on atmospheric CO2 is investigated using a tracer transport model. The model uses winds from operational numerical weather prediction analyses and provides CO2 Concentrations as a function of space and time. After a spin-up period of several years, biomass-burning sources are added, and model experiments are run for an additional year, utilizing various estimates of CO2 sources. The various model experiments show that biomass burning in the north African savannas significantly affects CO2 concentrations in South America. The effect is more pronounced during the period from January through March, when biomass burning in South America is almost nonexistent. During this period, atmospheric CO2 concentrations in parts of South America typically may increase by 0.5 to 0.75 ppm at 970 mbar, the average pressure of the lowest model layer. These figures are above the probable uncertainty level, as model runs with biomass-burning sources estimated from independent studies using distinct data sets and techniques indicate. From May through September, when severe biomass burning occurs in South America, the effect of north African savanna fires over South America has become generally small at 970 mbar, but north of the equator it may be of the same magnitude or larger than the effect of South American fires. The CO2 concentration increase in the extreme northern and southern portions of South America, however, is mostly due to southern African fires, whose effect may be 2-3 times larger than the effect of South American fires at 970 mbar. Even in the central part of the continent, where local biomass-burning emissions are maximum, southern African fires contribute to at least 15% of the CO2 concentration increase at 970 mbar. At higher levels in the atmosphere, less CO2 emitted by north African savanna fires reaches South America, and at 100 mbar no significant amount of CO2 is transported across the Atlantic Ocean. The vertical structure of the CO2 concentration increase due to biomass burning differs substantially, depending on whether sources are local or remote. A prominent maximum Of CO2 concentration increase in the lower layers characterizes the effect of local sources, whereas a more homogenous profile of CO2 concentration increase characterizes the effect of remote sources. The results demonstrate the strong remote effects of African biomass burning which, owing to the general circulation of the atmosphere, are felt as far away as South America.

Pritchard, MS, Moncrieff MW, Somerville RCJ.  2011.  Orogenic Propagating Precipitation Systems over the United States in a Global Climate Model with Embedded Explicit Convection. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 68:1821-1840.   10.1175/2011jas3699.1   AbstractWebsite

In the lee of major mountain chains worldwide, diurnal physics of organized propagating convection project onto seasonal and climate time scales of the hydrologic cycle, but this phenomenon is not represented in conventional global climate models (GCMs). Analysis of an experimental version of the superparameterized (SP) Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) demonstrates that propagating orogenic nocturnal convection in the central U.S. warm season is, however, representable in GCMs that use the embedded explicit convection model approach [i.e., multiscale modeling frameworks (MMFs)]. SP-CAM admits propagating organized convective systems in the lee of the Rockies during synoptic conditions similar to those that generate mesoscale convective systems in nature. The simulated convective systems exhibit spatial scales, phase speeds, and propagation speeds comparable to radar observations, and the genesis mechanism in the model agrees qualitatively with established conceptual models. Convective heating and condensate structures are examined on both resolved scales in SP-CAM, and coherently propagating cloud "metastructures" are shown to transcend individual cloud-resolving model arrays. In reconciling how this new mode of diurnal convective variability is admitted in SP-CAM despite the severe idealizations in the cloud-resolving model configuration, an updated discussion is presented of what physics may transcend the re-engineered scale interface in MMFs. The authors suggest that the improved diurnal propagation physics in SP-CAM are mediated by large-scale first-baroclinic gravity wave interactions with a prognostic organization life cycle, emphasizing the physical importance of preserving "memory" at the inner resolved scale.

Rahmstorf, S, Cazenave A, Church JA, Hansen JE, Keeling RF, Parker DE, Somerville RCJ.  2007.  Recent climate observations compared to projections. Science. 316:709-709.   10.1126/science.1136843   AbstractWebsite

We present recent observed climate trends for carbon dioxide concentration, global mean air temperature, and global sea level, and we compare these trends to previous model projections as summarized in the 2001 assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC scenarios and projections start in the year 1990, which is also the base year of the Kyoto protocol, in which almost all industrialized nations accepted a binding commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The data available for the period since 1990 raise concerns that the climate system, in particular sea level, may be responding more quickly to climate change than our current generation of models indicates.

Kooperman, GJ, Pritchard MS, Somerville RCJ.  2014.  The response of US summer rainfall to quadrupled CO2 climate change in conventional and superparameterized versions of the NCAR community atmosphere model. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems.   10.1002/2014MS000306   Abstract

Observations and regional climate modeling (RCM) studies demonstrate that global climate models (GCMs) are unreliable for predicting changes in extreme precipitation. Yet RCM climate change simulations are subject to boundary conditions provided by GCMs and do not interact with large-scale dynamical feedbacks that may be critical to the overall regional response. Limitations of both global and regional modeling approaches contribute significant uncertainty to future rainfall projections. Progress requires a modeling framework capable of capturing the observed regional-scale variability of rainfall intensity without sacrificing planetary scales. Here the United States summer rainfall response to quadrupled CO2 climate change is investigated using conventional (CAM) and superparameterized (SPCAM) versions of the NCAR Community Atmosphere Model. The superparameterization approach, in which cloud-resolving model arrays are embedded in GCM grid columns, improves rainfall statistics and convective variability in global simulations. A set of 5 year time-slice simulations, with prescribed sea surface temperature and sea ice boundary conditions harvested from preindustrial and abrupt four times CO2 coupled Community Earth System Model (CESM/CAM) simulations, are compared for CAM and SPCAM. The two models produce very different changes in mean precipitation patterns, which develop from differences in large-scale circulation anomalies associated with the planetary-scale response to warming. CAM shows a small decrease in overall rainfall intensity, with an increased contribution from the weaker parameterized convection and a decrease from large-scale precipitation. SPCAM has the opposite response, a significant shift in rainfall occurrence toward higher precipitation rates including more intense propagating Central United States mesoscale convective systems in a four times CO2 climate.

Kooperman, GJ, Pritchard MS, Somerville RCJ.  2013.  Robustness and sensitivities of central US summer convection in the super-parameterized CAM: Multi-model intercomparison with a new regional EOF index. Geophysical Research Letters. 40:3287-3291.   10.1002/grl.50597   AbstractWebsite

Mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) can bring up to 60% of summer rainfall to the central United States but are not simulated by most global climate models. In this study, a new empirical orthogonal function based index is developed to isolate the MCS activity, similar to that developed by Wheeler and Hendon (2004) for the Madden-Julian Oscillation. The index is applied to compactly compare three conventional- and super-parameterized (SP) versions (3.0, 3.5, and 5.0) of the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Atmosphere Model (CAM). Results show that nocturnal, eastward propagating convection is a robust effect of super-parameterization but is sensitive to its specific implementation. MCS composites based on the index show that in SP-CAM3.5, convective MCS anomalies are unrealistically large scale and concentrated, while surface precipitation is too weak. These aspects of the MCS signal are improved in the latest version (SP-CAM5.0), which uses high-order microphysics.

Malvagi, F, Byrne RN, Pomraning GC, Somerville RCJ.  1993.  Stochastic Radiative Transfer in a Partially Cloudy Atmosphere. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 50:2146-2158.   10.1175/1520-0469(1993)050<2146:srtipc>;2   AbstractWebsite

A radiation treatment of the broken-cloud problem is presented, based upon various stochastic models of the equation of radiative transfer that consider the clouds and clear sky as a two-component random mixture. These models, recently introduced in the kinetic theory literature, allow for non-Markovian statistics as well as both vertical and lateral variations in the cloudiness. Numerical results are given that compare different models of stochastic radiative transport and that point out the importance of treating the broken-cloud problem as a stochastic process. It is also shown that an integral Markovian model proposed within the atmospheric radiation community by Titov is entirely equivalent to a special case of a simple low-order differential model. The differential form of Titov's result should be easier than the integral form to implement in any general circulation model.

Allison, I, Bindoff NL, Bindschadler RA, Cox PM, de Noblet N, England MH, Francis JE, Gruber N, Haywood AM, Karoly DJ, Kaser G, Quéré LC, Lenton TM, Mann ME, McNeil BI, Pitman AJ, Rahmstorf S, Rignot E, Schellnhuber HJ, Schneider SH, Sherwood SC, Somerville RCJ, K.Steffen, Steig EJ, Visbeck M, Weaver AJ.  2009.  The Copenhagen Diagnosis, 2009: Updating the world on the Latest Climate Science. :60. Abstract