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Title: Evaluation of tropical channel refinement using MPAS-A aquaplanet simulations

Climate models with variable-resolution grids offer a computationally less expensive way to provide more detailed information at regional scales and increased accuracy for processes that cannot be resolved by a coarser grid. This study uses the Model for Prediction Across Scales–Atmosphere (MPAS22A), consisting of a nonhydrostatic dynamical core and a subset of Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (ARW-WRF) model atmospheric physics that have been modified to include the Community Atmosphere Model version 5 (CAM5) cloud fraction parameterization, to investigate the potential benefits of using increased resolution in an tropical channel. The simulations are performed with an idealized aquaplanet configuration using two quasi-uniform grids, with 30 km and 240 km grid spacing, and two variable-resolution grids spanning the same grid spacing range; one with a narrow (20°S–20°N) and one with a wide (30°S–30°N) tropical channel refinement. Results show that increasing resolution in the tropics impacts both the tropical and extratropical circulation. Compared to the quasi-uniform coarse grid, the narrow-channel simulation exhibits stronger updrafts in the Ferrel cell as well as in the middle of the upward branch of the Hadley cell. The wider tropical channel has a closer correspondence to the 30 km quasi-uniform simulation. However, the total atmospheric polewardmore » energy transports are similar in all simulations. The largest differences are in the low-level cloudiness. The refined channel simulations show improved tropical and extratropical precipitation relative to the global 240 km simulation when compared to the global 30 km simulation. All simulations have a single ITCZ. Furthermore, the relatively small differences in mean global and tropical precipitation rates among the simulations are a promising result, and the evidence points to the tropical channel being an effective method for avoiding the extraneous numerical artifacts seen in earlier studies that only refined portion of the tropics.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [2]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Naval Research Lab., Monterey, CA (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  3. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1942-2466; KP1501021
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830; AC02-05CH11231
Published Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 1942-2466
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; tropical; MPAS-A; aquaplanet; simulations; climate models
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1229973