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The Importance of Ice Vertical Resolution for Snowball Climate and Deglaciation DORIAN S. ABBOT
 

Summary: The Importance of Ice Vertical Resolution for Snowball Climate and Deglaciation
DORIAN S. ABBOT
Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
IAN EISENMAN
Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, and Department of
Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
RAYMOND T. PIERREHUMBERT
Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
(Manuscript received 24 February 2010, in final form 28 June 2010)
ABSTRACT
Sea ice schemes with a few vertical levels are typically used to simulate the thermodynamic evolution of sea
ice in global climate models. Here it is shown that these schemes overestimate the magnitude of the diurnal
surface temperature cycle by a factor of 23 when they are used to simulate tropical ice in a Snowball earth
event. This could strongly influence our understanding of Snowball termination, which occurs in global cli-
mate models when the midday surface temperature in the tropics reaches the melting point. A hierarchy of
models is used to show that accurate simulation of surface temperature variation on a given time scale re-
quires that a sea ice model resolve the e-folding depth to which a periodic signal on that time scale penetrates.
This is used to suggest modifications to the sea ice schemes used in global climate models that would allow
more accurate simulation of Snowball deglaciation.
1. Introduction

  

Source: Abbot, Dorian Schuyler - Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago
Eisenman, Ian - Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Geosciences