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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"--

Iacobellis, SF, Somerville RCJ.  1991.  Diagnostic modeling of the Indian monsoon onset: Part 1: Model description and validation. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 48:1948-1959.   10.1175/1520-0469(1991)048<1948:dmotim>;2   AbstractWebsite

A new type of diagnostic model is developed and applied to the study of the onset of the Indian summer monsoon. The purpose of the model is to aid in the analysis of interactions between the physical processes that affect the monsoon onset. The model is one-dimensional and consists of a single atmospheric column coupled to an ocean mixed layer. The atmospheric component of the model includes representations of all the physical processes typically included in general circulation models, except that the fields of vertical motion and horizontal advection are specified at each time step from observational data rather than predicted. With these time-dependent observational inputs, the model is then integrated numerically to produce consistent profiles of atmospheric temperature and humidity, together with energy budget components and other diagnostic quantities. The atmospheric model is based on the thermodynamic energy equation and a conservation equation for water. Parameterizations of the effects of solar and terrestrial radiation, interactive cloudiness, convection, condensation, surface fluxes, and other processes are adapted from current practice in numerical weather prediction and general circulation modeling. The model includes 15 layers in the vertical and employs a time step of 1 hour. Results are presented from four-week integrations at different locations over the Arabian Sea during the 1979 monsoon onset period. Comparison of model results with independent observational data shows that the model demonstrates considerable skill in reproducing the large increase in precipitation associated with the monsoon onset, together with significant changes in surface fluxes, cloudiness, and other variables. This realism suggests that the model is a promising tool for achieving an increased understanding of the role of interacting physical processes and for developing improved prognostic models for simulating the monsoon onset.

Iacobellis, SF, Somerville RCJ.  1991.  Diagnostic modeling of the Indian monsoon onset: Part 2: Budget and sensitivity studies. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 48:1960-1971.   10.1175/1520-0469(1991)048<1960:dmotim>;2   AbstractWebsite

A one-dimensional diagnostic coupled air-sea model (described in the companion paper) is applied to the analysis of the heat and moisture budgets over the Arabian Sea during the 1979 monsoon onset period. The surface energy budget, which is dominated by a balance between net shortwave radiation and latent heat during the preonset period, is significantly altered just prior to the onset itself. At that time, cloud cover sharply increases and the net shortwave flux correspondingly decreases. Subsequently, increasing surface winds produce a large increase in the latent heat flux a few days after the onset. In the free atmosphere, the heat budget displays a similarly dramatic change. At 500 mb, radiative fluxes and horizontal and vertical advection dominate the heat budget before the onset. After the onset, however, the budget is primarily a balance between deep convective heating and vertical advective cooling. The 500-mb moisture budget displays a correspondingly strong effect. Before the onset, horizontal advection of moisture is the dominant term, while after the onset, the distribution by convection of the surface moisture flux, together with moisture removal by large-scale condensation, becomes important. Sensitivity studies with the model illuminate the role of interacting physical processes. Model results show that the moistening due to horizontal advection tends to alter the radiative fluxes so as to hinder the formation and maintenance of the inversion that characterizes preonset conditions, thus favoring the formation of deep convection. This result is consistent with a suggestion by Doherty and Newell. Additionally, the interaction between the atmosphere and the upper ocean is explored in a series of sensitivity experiments. The decrease in ocean mixed-layer temperature, which follows the monsoon onset, acts to reduce the latent heat flux significantly. This effect may influence the duration and intensity of the monsoon, as well as the total precipitation, and underscores the potential importance of an accurate specification of sea surface temperature for monsoon prediction.

Iacobellis, SF, Frouin R, Somerville RCJ.  1999.  Direct climate forcing by biomass-burning aerosols: Impact of correlations between controlling variables. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 104:12031-12045.   10.1029/1999jd900001   AbstractWebsite

Estimates of the direct climate forcing by condensed organic species resulting from biomass burning have been made using bulk radiative transfer models of various complexity and the SUNRAY radiation code of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts general circulation model. Aerosols arising from the burning of tropical forests and savannas as well as those from biomass fires outside the tropics are considered. The bulk models give values ranging from -1.0 to -0.6 W m(-2), which compare with -0.7 W m(-2) using the SUNRAY code. There appears to be significant uncertainty in these values due to uncertainties in the model input parameters. The difference is only 13% between the forcing obtained by taking into account the spatial and temporal distribution of the controlling variables and the forcing obtained using global averages fur all the variables. This indicates that the effects of variations in the controlling variables tend to compensate. Yet the forcing varies by up to 34% depending on which variables are set to global averages. The SUNRAY results show that the efficiency at which the biomass-burning aerosols backscatter sunlight in cloudy conditions is 0.53, a value significantly higher than that reported for sulfate aerosols. Most of the difference is due to the relatively low latitude (hence low sun zenith angle) of the biomass-burning aerosol sources relative to the sulfate aerosol sources. The implication is that clouds should not be assumed to have a reflectivity of unity in bulk models. Comparison of SUNRAY and bulk model results points to other potential problems with bulk models. First, the use in bulk models of mean aerosol optical properties across the entire solar spectrum has significant impact on the calculated forcing and may account for 23% of the difference between SUNRAY and bulk model estimates in clear-sky conditions. Second, neglecting multiple scattering in bulk models introduces significant differences in the clear-sky forcing at high sun zenith angles.

Shell, KM, Somerville RCJ.  2007.  Direct radiative effect of mineral dust and volcanic aerosols in a simple aerosol climate model. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 112   10.1029/2006jd007197   AbstractWebsite

Airborne mineral dust can influence the climate by altering the radiative properties of the atmosphere, but the magnitude of the effect is uncertain. An idealized global model is developed to study the dust-climate system. The model determines the dust longwave and shortwave direct radiative forcing, as well as the resulting temperature changes, based on the specified dust distribution, height, and optical properties. Comparisons with observations and general circulation results indicate that the model produces realistic results for the present-day dust distribution as well as for volcanic aerosols. Although the model includes many simplifications, it can still provide insight into dust-climate system behavior. Recent observations suggest that dust may absorb less solar radiation than previously thought. Experiments with the model suggest that previous studies which used more absorbing dust may be underestimating the effect of dust. Increasing the solar single scattering albedo value from 0.85 to 0.97, corresponding to recent measurements, more than doubles the modeled global average top-of-the-atmosphere (TOA) shortwave direct forcing for the present-day dust distribution, while the surface shortwave forcing is halved. The corresponding temperature decreases are larger for the larger single scattering albedo, and the latent and sensible heat fluxes decreases are smaller. The dust forcing and climate response are approximately linear with respect to optical depth. However, the relationship depends on the relative magnitudes of shortwave versus longwave TOA forcing. Thus the net TOA forcing alone does not determine the steady state climate response.

Lipps, FB, Somervil.Rc.  1971.  Dynamics of Variable Wavelength in Finite-Amplitude Benard Convection. Physics of Fluids. 14:759-&.   10.1063/1.1693502   AbstractWebsite

The finite‐amplitude Bénard convection problem is investigated by numerical integration of the rigid‐boundary Boussinesq equations in two and three space dimensions. Solutions are obtained for a wide range of Prandtl numbers and at moderate Rayleigh numbers for which the flow is observed to approach a two‐dimensional steady state. Detailed quantitative comparisons are made with experimental data in an effort to explain the observed increase of cell wavelength with Rayleigh number and to determine the effect of changing cell size on the heat transport. The three‐dimensional model shows good evidence of being able to yield realistic values of the cell wavelength, while the two‐dimensional models yield wavelengths that are much too short. These results strongly suggest that the increase in wavelength is determined by a three‐dimensional transient process, while the convection tends to a two‐dimensional steady state. The increase in cell size is shown to be responsible for a substantial part of the discrepancy between previous theoretical‐numerical and experimental determinations of Nusselt number. It also provides a plausible explanation for the experimentally observed dependence of heat transport on Prandtl number.