Secular Trends and Climate Drift in Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere General Circulation Models

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Coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models (coupled GCMs) with interactive sea ice are the primary tool for investigating possible future global warming and numerous other issues in climate science. A long-standing problem with such models is that when different components of the physical climate system are linked together, the simulated climate can drift away from observations unless constrained by ad hoc adjustments to interface fluxes. However, eleven modern coupled GCMs--including three that do not employ flux adjustments--behave much better in this respect than the older generation of models. Surface temperature trends in control run simulations (with external climate forcing such as ... continued below

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Covey, C C; Gleckler, P J; Phillips, T J & Bader, D C November 23, 2004.

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Coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models (coupled GCMs) with interactive sea ice are the primary tool for investigating possible future global warming and numerous other issues in climate science. A long-standing problem with such models is that when different components of the physical climate system are linked together, the simulated climate can drift away from observations unless constrained by ad hoc adjustments to interface fluxes. However, eleven modern coupled GCMs--including three that do not employ flux adjustments--behave much better in this respect than the older generation of models. Surface temperature trends in control run simulations (with external climate forcing such as solar brightness and atmospheric carbon dioxide held constant) are small compared with observed trends, which include 20th century climate change due to both anthropogenic and natural factors. Sea ice changes in the models are dominated by interannual variations. Deep ocean temperature and salinity trends are small enough for model control runs to extend over 1000 simulated years or more, but trends in some regions, most notably the Arctic, are inconsistent among the models and may be problematic.

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PDF-file: 32 pages; size: 1.8 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Journal of Geophysical Research; Journal Volume: 111

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-208282
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 883745
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc892140

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • November 23, 2004

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  • Sept. 23, 2016, 2:42 p.m.

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  • Dec. 1, 2016, 7:31 p.m.

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Covey, C C; Gleckler, P J; Phillips, T J & Bader, D C. Secular Trends and Climate Drift in Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere General Circulation Models, article, November 23, 2004; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc892140/: accessed April 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.