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Somerville, RCJ, Galchen T.  1979.  A Numerical Simulation of Convection with Mean Vertical Motion. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 36:805-815.   10.1175/1520-0469(1979)036<0805:nsocwm>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

The flow in a convectively unstable layer of fluid may be strongly influenced by large-scale ascent or descent. We consider cellular convection between horizontal surfaces on which vertical velocity is maintained at a constant value. Using an efficient numerical model to simulate the evolution of the convection in three space dimensions and time, we investigate the effect of the imposed vertical velocity on the flow.For moderately supercritical values of the Rayleigh number and for Prandtl numbers near unity, convection is known to occur in the form of steady rolls if the specified mean vertical motion is zero, i.e., in the case of the conventional Bénard problem for a Boussinesq fluid. Our model also produces rolls under these circumstances. For sufficiently large values of the imposed vertical velocity, however, the numerically simulated rolls are replaced by polygonal cells in which the direction of flow depends on whether ascent or descent is prescribed at the boundaries, in accordance with recent theoretical and laboratory results of R. Krishnamurti. We have also investigated the dependence of the convection on the Rayleigh and Prandtl numbers within limited ranges of these parameters, and we discuss several aspects of agreement and disagreement among analytical theory, laboratory experiment and numerical simulation.

Somerville, R.  1996.  The Forgiving Air : Understanding Environmental Change. :xiv,195p.., Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press Abstract
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Somerville, RCJ.  2014.  Is learning about climate change like having a colonoscopy? Earth's Future. 2:119-121.: Wiley Periodicals, Inc.   10.1002/2013EF000169   Abstract

Many people avoid having valuable medical tests from fear of the results
People resist learning about climate change, fearing unpleasant consequences
Research suggests addressing these concerns early, aids in communication

Somerville, RCJ.  2011.  How much should the public know about climate science? Climatic Change. 104:509-514.   10.1007/s10584-010-9938-y   AbstractWebsite
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Somerville, RCJ, Lipps FB.  1973.  A Numerical Study in Three Space Dimensions of Bénard Convection in a Rotating Fluid. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 30:590-596.: American Meteorological Society   10.1175/1520-0469(1973)030<0590:ansits>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

The primitive, nonlinear, Boussinesq equations of motion, continuity and thermodynamic energy are integrated numerically in three space dimensions and time to study convection driven by unstable vertical density gradients and subject to Coriolis forces. Parameter values are chosen to permit quantitative comparison with data from laboratory experiments for rotating Bénard convection in water. The model realistically simulates the structure of the convection cells, their horizontal scale, and the mean vertical heat transport. The experimentally observed phenomenon of a non-monotone dependence of heat transport on rotation rate is reproduced and shown to be a consequence of the rotational constraint on the wavelength of the cells.

Somerville, RCJ.  1980.  Tropical Influences on the Predictability of Ultralong Waves. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 37:1141-1156.   10.1175/1520-0469(1980)037<1141:tiotpo>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

Some implications of predictability theory for ultralong waves are examined in an ensemble of real-data forecasts carried out with a primitive-equation numerical model in both global and hemispheric configurations. Although the model is adiabatic and almost inviscid, its skill at forecasting the 5-day evolution of ultralong waves in middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere is approximately equivalent to that of a physically comprehensive general circulation model. The ultralong wave forecasts produced by a hemispheric version of the model are markedly less skillful than those made by the global version, especially in the latter part of the 5-day period. When the initial state of the hemispheric version is modified by using a smooth field in the tropics in place of analyzed observed data, the skill of the prediction is degraded further, and the effect is apparent early in the 5-day period.These adverse tropical influences on middle-latitude forecast skill are essentially confined to the ultralong waves (zonal wavenumbers 1–3). They appear to be typical of hemispheric integrations with conventional numerical weather prediction models and conventional analysis and initialization techniques. The resulting forecast errors may be associated with the spurious excitation of large-amplitude external modes. These effects of tropical deficiencies in the prediction model and in the initial data provide a partial explanation for the poor skill of typical actual forecasts of ultralong waves, relative to the skill expected on the basis of predictability theory. The results also suggest that improvements in hemispheric analysis and initialization procedures are urgently required. Until such improvements are implemented, the use of global rather than hemispheric models, even for forecasts of only a few days, might be beneficial in operational practice.

Somerville, RCJ, Iacobellis S, Lee WH.  1996.  Effects of cloud-radiation schemes on climate model results. World Resource Review. 8:321-333. Abstract

A current dilemma of climate modeling is that model results are strongly sensitive to the treatment of certain poorly-understood physical processes, especially cloud-radiation interactions. Thus, different models with alternative plausible parameterizations often give widely varying results. Yet, we typically have had little basis for estimating which parameterization is more realistic. Of the many physical processes involved in climate simulations, feedbacks due to cloud-radiation interactions are thought to be the largest single source of uncertainty. In fact, most of the global differences in results between leading climate models, as measured by their sensitivity to greenhouse gases, can be traced to different model treatments of cloud-radiation interactions.Using a modern atmospheric general circulation model (the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate Model: CCM2), we have investigated the effects on climate sensitivity of several different cloud-radiation parameterizations. At the same time, we have validated these parameterizations directly with observations from field experiments. In addition to the original cloud-radiation scheme of CCM2, we tested four parameterizations incorporating prognostic cloud water: one version with prescribed cloud radiative properties and three other versions with interactive cloud radiative properties. Comparisons with measurements suggest that schemes with explicit cloud water budgets and interactive radiative properties are potentially capable of matching observational data closely.

Somerville, RCJ.  2019.  Chapter 8: Communicating Climate Change Science. Bending the Curve: Climate Change Solutions. ( Ramanathan V, Ed.).: Regents of the University of California.
Somerville, RCJ, Hassol SJ.  2011.  Communicating the science of climate change. Physics Today. 64:48-53.   10.1063/PT.3.1296   AbstractWebsite

It is urgent that climate scientists improve the ways they convey their findings to a poorly informed and often indifferent public.

Somerville, RCJ, Iacobellis SF.  1999.  Single-column models, ARM observations, and GCM cloud-radiation schemes. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth Part B-Hydrology Oceans and Atmosphere. 24:733-740.   10.1016/s1464-1909(99)00074-x   AbstractWebsite

Among the most serious sources of uncertainty in current general circulation models (GCMs) is the treatment of clouds and cloud-radiation interactions. We have used a single-column model (SCM) diagnostically to evaluate parameterizations against observations from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program. We find that schemes with explicit cloud water budgets and interactive radiative properties are potentially capable of matching observational data closely. In our SCM, using an interactive cloud droplet radius decreases the cloud optical thickness and cloud infrared emittance of high clouds, which acts to increase the downwelling surface shortwave flux and the outgoing longwave radiation. However, it is difficult to evaluate the realism of the vertical distribution of model-produced cloud extinction, cloud emittance, cloud liquid water content and effective cloud droplet radius until high-quality observations of these quantities become more widely available. We also find that in the SCM, cloud parameterizations often underestimate the observed cloud amount, and that ARM observations indicate the presence of clouds while the corresponding maximum relative humidity is less than 80%. This implies that the underlying concept of a critical gridpoint relative humidity of about 80% for cloud formation, as used in many GCM cloud parameterizations, may need to be reexamined. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Somerville, R.  2008.  The Forgiving Air : Understanding Environmental Change, Second Edition. :202p.., Boston, Mass.: American Meteorological Society Abstract
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Somerville, RCJ.  1977.  Pattern Recognition Techniques for Weather Forecast Verification. Contributions to Atmospheric Physics [Beitraege zur Physik der Atmosphaere.], Wiesbaden, Germany. 50:403-410. Abstract
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Somerville, RCJ.  1971.  Bénard convection in a rotating fluid. Geophysical Fluid Dynamics. 2:247-262.: Taylor & Francis   10.1080/03091927108236061   AbstractWebsite

Abstract The steady nonlinear regime of Bénard convection in a uniformly rotating fluid is treated using a two-dimensional primitive-equation numerical model with rigid boundaries. Quantitative comparisons with laboratory heat transport data for water are made in the parameter ranges for which the experimental flows are approximately two-dimensional and steady. When an experimentally realistic spatial periodicity is imposed upon the numerical solution, the model simulates the experimental determinations of Nusselt number fairly accurately. In particular, it predicts the observed non-monotonic dependence on Taylor number. When spatial periodicities corresponding to those of the linear stability problem are specified, however, the accuracy of the simulation is less and the Taylor number dependence is monotonic.The steady nonlinear regime of Bénard convection in a uniformly rotating fluid is treated using a two-dimensional primitive-equation numerical model with rigid boundaries. Quantitative comparisons with laboratory heat transport data for water are made in the parameter ranges for which the experimental flows are approximately two-dimensional and steady. When an experimentally realistic spatial periodicity is imposed upon the numerical solution, the model simulates the experimental determinations of Nusselt number fairly accurately. In particular, it predicts the observed non-monotonic dependence on Taylor number. When spatial periodicities corresponding to those of the linear stability problem are specified, however, the accuracy of the simulation is less and the Taylor number dependence is monotonic.

Somerville, RCJ.  1987.  The predictability of weather and climate. Climatic Change. 11:239-246.: Kluwer Academic Publishers   10.1007/bf00138802   AbstractWebsite

The last thirty years have seen the development of comprehensive numerical models of the large-scale circulation of the atmosphere, based on physical principles. Such models are quite skillful at describing the evolving weather up to a few days ahead, despite imperfect theory and inadequate observational data. Yet even a hypothetical perfect model, which exactly represented the dynamics of the real atmosphere, and which used data from the best conceivable observing system, could not produce an accurate forecast of indefinitely long range. Any forecast must eventually lose skill because of the intrinsic instability of the atmosphere itself.This limitation on the predictability of the detailed evolution of the atmosphere (“weather”) does not preclude the possibility of seasonal and longer-range forecasts of means and other statistical properties (“climate”). However, we are only beginning to learn what aspects of climate may be predictable, and what theoretical tools and observational data will be required to predict them.

Somerville, R, Lauder P, Rogo R.  1993.  Change on Planet Earth. : UCSD Extension, University of California, San Diego AbstractWebsite
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Somerville, RCJ.  2000.  Using single-column models to improve cloud-radiation parameterizations. General circulation model development. ( Randall DA, Ed.).:641-657., San Diego: Academic Press Abstract

General Circulation Models (GCMs) are rapidly assuming widespread use as powerful tools for predicting global events on time scales of months to decades, such as the onset of EL Nino, monsoons, soil moisture saturation indices, global warming estimates, and even snowfall predictions. While GCMs have been praised for helping to foretell the current El Nino and its impact on droughts in Indonesia, its full power is only now being recognized by international scientists and governments who seek to link GCMs to help them estimate fish harvests, risk of floods, landslides, and even forest fires. Scientists in oceanography, hydrology, meteorology, and climatology and civil, ocean, and geological engineers perceive a need for a reference on GCM design. In this compilation of information by an internationally recognized group of experts, Professor Randall brings together the knowledge base of the forerunners in theoretical and applied frontiers of GCM development. General Circulation Model Development focuses on the past, present, and future design of numerical methods for general circulation modeling, as well as the physical parameterizations required for their proper implementation. Additional chapters on climate simulation and other applications provide illustrative examples of state-of-the-art GCM design. Key Features * Foreword by Norman Phillips * Authoritative overviews of current issues and ideas on global circulation modeling by leading experts * Retrospective and forward-looking chapters by Akio Arakawa of UCLA * Historical perspectives on the early years of general circulation modeling * Indispensable reference for researchers and graduate students.

Somerville, RCJ.  2008.  If I were president: A climate change speech. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 89:1180-1182. Abstract
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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"--

Somerville, RCJ, Remer LA.  1984.  Cloud Optical-Thickness Feedbacks in the Co2 Climate Problem. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 89:9668-9672.   10.1029/JD089iD06p09668   AbstractWebsite

A radiative-convective equilibrium model is developed and applied to study cloud optical thickness feedbacks in the CO2 climate problem. The basic hypothesis is that in the warmer and moister CO2-rich atmosphere, cloud liquid water content will generally be larger too. For clouds other than thin cirrus the result is to increase the albedo more than to increase the greenhouse effect. Thus the sign of the feedback is negative: cloud optical properties act as a thermostat and alter in such a way as to reduce the surface and tropospheric warming caused by the addition of CO2. This negative feedback can be substantial. When observational estimates of the temperature dependence of cloud liquid water content are employed in the model, the surface temperature change caused by doubling CO2 is reduced by about one half. This result is obtained for global and annual average conditions, no change in cloud amount or altitude, and constant relative humidity. These idealizations, together with other simplifications typical of one-dimensional radiative-convective climate models, render the result tentative. Further study of cloud optical property feedbacks is warranted, however, because the climate is apparently so sensitive to them.

Stone, PH, Quirk WJ, Somervil.Rc.  1974.  Effect of Small-Scale Vertical Mixing of Horizontal Momentum in a General Circulation Model. Monthly Weather Review. 102:765-771.   10.1175/1520-0493(1974)102<0765:teossv>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

Several experiments are described in which the sub-grid-scale vertical eddy viscosity in the GISS global general circulation model was varied. The results show that large viscosities suppress large-scale eddies in middle and high latitudes, but enhance the circulation in the tropical Hadley cell and increase the extent of the tropical easterlies. Comparison with observations shows that the GISS model requires eddy viscosities 1 m2/s or less to give realistic results for middle and high latitudes, and eddy viscosities 100 m2/s to give realistic results for low latitudes. A plausible mechanism for the implied increase in small-scale mixing in low latitudes is cumulus convection.

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Waliser, DE, Somerville RCJ.  1994.  Preferred Latitudes of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 51:1619-1639.   10.1175/1520-0469(1994)051<1619:plotic>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

The latitude preference of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) is examined on the basis of observations, theory, and a modeling analysis. Observations show that convection is enhanced at latitudes of about 4-degrees to 10-degrees relative to the equator, even in regions where the sea surface temperature (SST) is maximum on the equator. Both linear shallow-water theory and a moist primitive equation model suggest a new explanation for the off-equatorial latitude preference of the ITCZ that requires neither the existence of zonally propagating disturbances nor an off-equatorial maximum in SST. The shallow-water theory indicates that a finite-width, zonally oriented, midtropospheric heat source (i.e., an ITCZ) produces the greatest local low-level convergence when placed a finite distance away from the equator. This result suggests that an ITCZ is most likely to be supported via low-level convergence of moist energy when located at these ''preferred'' latitudes away from die equator. For a plausible range of heating widths and damping parameters, the theoretically predicted latitude is approximately equal to the observed position(s) of the ITCZ(s). Analysis with an axially symmetric, moist, primitive equation model indicates that when the latent heating field is allowed to be determined internally, a positive feedback develops between the midtropospheric latent heating and the low-level convergence, with the effect of enhancing the organization of convection at latitudes of about 4-degrees to 12-degrees. Numerical experiments show that 1) two peaks in convective precipitation develop straddling the equator when the SST maximum is located on the equator; 2) steady ITCZ-like structures form only when the SST maximum is located away from the equator; and 3) peaks in convection can develop away from the maximum in SST, with a particular preference for latitudes of about 4-degrees to 12-degrees-, even in the (''cold'') hemisphere without the SST maximum. The relationship between this mechanism and earlier theories is discussed, as are implications for the coupled ocean-atmosphere system and the roles played by midlevel latent heating and SST gradients in forcing the low-level atmospheric circulation in the tropics.

Walsh, J, Wuebbles D, Hayhoe K, Kossin JP, Kunkel K, Stephens GL, Thorne PD, Vose RS, Wehner B, Willis J, Anderson D, Kharin V, Knutson T, Landerer FW, Lenton TM, Kennedy JJ, Somerville R.  2014.  Appendix 4: Frequently Asked Questions (Question E). Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. ( Mellilo JM, Richmond T(TC), Yohe GW, Eds.).:790-820.: U.S. Global Change Research Program   10.7930/J0G15XS3   Abstract

E. Is it getting warmer at the same rate everywhere? Will the warming continue?Temperatures are not increasing at the same rate everywhere, because temperature changes in a given location depend on many factors. However, average global temperatures are projected to continue increasing throughout the remainder of this century due to heat-trapping gas emissions from human activities.

Walsh, J, Wuebbles D, Hayhoe K, Kossin JP, Kunkel K, Stephens GL, Thorne PD, Vose RS, Wehner B, Willis J, Anderson D, Kharin V, Knutson T, Landerer FW, Lenton TM, Kennedy JJ, Somerville R.  2014.  Appendix 3: Climate Science Supplement. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. ( Mellilo JM, Richmond T(TC), Yohe GW, Eds.).:735-789.: U.S. Global Change Research Program   10.7930/J0KS6PHH   Abstract

This appendix provides further information and discussion on climate science beyond that presented in Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate. Like the chapter, the appendix focuses on the observations, model simulations, and other analyses that explain what is happening to climate at the national and global scales, why these changes are occurring, and how climate is projected to change throughout this century. In the appendix, however, more information is provided on attribution, spatial and temporal detail, and physical mechanisms than could be covered within the length constraints of the main 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.