skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: The impact of equilibrating hemispheric albedos on tropical performance in the HadGEM2-ES coupled climate model

Abstract

Despite the fact that the southern hemisphere contains a far greater proportion of dark ocean than the northern hemisphere, the total amount of sunlight reflected from the hemispheres is equal. However, the majority of climate models do not adequately represent this equivalence. Here we examine the impact of equilibrating hemispheric albedos by various idealised methods in a comprehensive coupled climate model and find significant improvements in what have been considered longstanding and apparently intractable model biases. Monsoon precipitation biases almost vanish over all continental land areas, the penetration of monsoon rainfall across the Sahel and the west African monsoon “jump” become well represented, and indicators of hurricane frequency are significantly improved. The results appear not to be model specific, implying that hemispheric albedo equivalence may provide a fundamental constraint for climate models that must be satisfied if the dynamics driving these processes, in particular the strength of the Hadley cell, are to be adequately represented. Cross-equatorial energy transport is implicated as a crucial component that must be accurately modelled in coupled general circulation models. The results also suggest that the commonly used practice of prescribing sea-surface temperatures in models provides a less accurate represention of precipitation than constraining the hemisphericmore » albedos.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [6];  [7]
  1. Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter (United Kingdom); Univ. of Exeter, Exeter (United Kingdom)
  2. Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter (United Kingdom)
  3. Univ. of Exeter, Exeter (United Kingdom)
  4. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  5. Canadian Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis, Environment Canada, Toronto, ON (Canada)
  6. Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama (Japan)
  7. JPL, Pasadena, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1251308
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-108138
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276; 600305000
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 43; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; climate models; inter-hemispheric; albedo symmetry

Citation Formats

Haywood, Jim M., Jones, Andy, Dunstone, Nick, Milton, Sean, Vellinga, Michael, Bodas-Salcedo, Alejandro, Hawcroft, Matt, Kravitz, Ben, Cole, Jason, Watanabe, Shingo, and Stephens, Graeme. The impact of equilibrating hemispheric albedos on tropical performance in the HadGEM2-ES coupled climate model. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1002/2015GL066903.
Haywood, Jim M., Jones, Andy, Dunstone, Nick, Milton, Sean, Vellinga, Michael, Bodas-Salcedo, Alejandro, Hawcroft, Matt, Kravitz, Ben, Cole, Jason, Watanabe, Shingo, & Stephens, Graeme. The impact of equilibrating hemispheric albedos on tropical performance in the HadGEM2-ES coupled climate model. United States. doi:10.1002/2015GL066903.
Haywood, Jim M., Jones, Andy, Dunstone, Nick, Milton, Sean, Vellinga, Michael, Bodas-Salcedo, Alejandro, Hawcroft, Matt, Kravitz, Ben, Cole, Jason, Watanabe, Shingo, and Stephens, Graeme. Thu . "The impact of equilibrating hemispheric albedos on tropical performance in the HadGEM2-ES coupled climate model". United States. doi:10.1002/2015GL066903. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1251308.
@article{osti_1251308,
title = {The impact of equilibrating hemispheric albedos on tropical performance in the HadGEM2-ES coupled climate model},
author = {Haywood, Jim M. and Jones, Andy and Dunstone, Nick and Milton, Sean and Vellinga, Michael and Bodas-Salcedo, Alejandro and Hawcroft, Matt and Kravitz, Ben and Cole, Jason and Watanabe, Shingo and Stephens, Graeme},
abstractNote = {Despite the fact that the southern hemisphere contains a far greater proportion of dark ocean than the northern hemisphere, the total amount of sunlight reflected from the hemispheres is equal. However, the majority of climate models do not adequately represent this equivalence. Here we examine the impact of equilibrating hemispheric albedos by various idealised methods in a comprehensive coupled climate model and find significant improvements in what have been considered longstanding and apparently intractable model biases. Monsoon precipitation biases almost vanish over all continental land areas, the penetration of monsoon rainfall across the Sahel and the west African monsoon “jump” become well represented, and indicators of hurricane frequency are significantly improved. The results appear not to be model specific, implying that hemispheric albedo equivalence may provide a fundamental constraint for climate models that must be satisfied if the dynamics driving these processes, in particular the strength of the Hadley cell, are to be adequately represented. Cross-equatorial energy transport is implicated as a crucial component that must be accurately modelled in coupled general circulation models. The results also suggest that the commonly used practice of prescribing sea-surface temperatures in models provides a less accurate represention of precipitation than constraining the hemispheric albedos.},
doi = {10.1002/2015GL066903},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
number = 1,
volume = 43,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {1}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 7 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

The Version-2 Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) Monthly Precipitation Analysis (1979–Present)
journal, December 2003


Aerosol forcing in the Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) simulations by HadGEM2-ES and the role of ammonium nitrate
journal, January 2011

  • Bellouin, Nicolas; Rae, Jamie; Jones, Andy
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 116, Issue D20
  • DOI: 10.1029/2011JD016074

A seamless assessment of the role of convection in the water cycle of the West African Monsoon: WEST AFRICAN WATER CYCLE
journal, March 2014

  • Birch, C. E.; Parker, D. J.; Marsham, J. H.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 119, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1002/2013JD020887

Origins of the Solar Radiation Biases over the Southern Ocean in CFMIP2 Models
journal, January 2014


Development and evaluation of an Earth-System model – HadGEM2
journal, January 2011

  • Collins, W. J.; Bellouin, N.; Doutriaux-Boucher, M.
  • Geoscientific Model Development, Vol. 4, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.5194/gmd-4-1051-2011

The ERA-Interim reanalysis: configuration and performance of the data assimilation system
journal, April 2011

  • Dee, D. P.; Uppala, S. M.; Simmons, A. J.
  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 137, Issue 656
  • DOI: 10.1002/qj.828

Anthropogenic aerosol forcing of Atlantic tropical storms
journal, June 2013

  • Dunstone, N. J.; Smith, D. M.; Booth, B. B. B.
  • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 6, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1854

Sahel rainfall and worldwide sea temperatures, 1901–85
journal, April 1986

  • Folland, C. K.; Palmer, T. N.; Parker, D. E.
  • Nature, Vol. 320, Issue 6063
  • DOI: 10.1038/320602a0

Contribution of ocean overturning circulation to tropical rainfall peak in the Northern Hemisphere
journal, October 2013

  • Frierson, Dargan M. W.; Hwang, Yen-Ting; Fučkar, Neven S.
  • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 6, Issue 11
  • DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1987

Link between the double-Intertropical Convergence Zone problem and cloud biases over the Southern Ocean
journal, March 2013

  • Hwang, Y. -T.; Frierson, D. M. W.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 110, Issue 13
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1213302110

The HadGEM2-ES implementation of CMIP5 centennial simulations
journal, January 2011

  • Jones, C. D.; Hughes, J. K.; Bellouin, N.
  • Geoscientific Model Development, Vol. 4, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.5194/gmd-4-543-2011

The Tropical Response to Extratropical Thermal Forcing in an Idealized GCM: The Importance of Radiative Feedbacks and Convective Parameterization
journal, September 2009

  • Kang, Sarah M.; Frierson, Dargan M. W.; Held, Isaac M.
  • Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 66, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1175/2009JAS2924.1

Tropical cyclones and climate change
journal, February 2010

  • Knutson, Thomas R.; McBride, John L.; Chan, Johnny
  • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 3, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1038/ngeo779

Toward Optimal Closure of the Earth's Top-of-Atmosphere Radiation Budget
journal, February 2009

  • Loeb, Norman G.; Wielicki, Bruce A.; Doelling, David R.
  • Journal of Climate, Vol. 22, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1175/2008JCLI2637.1

The sensitivity of hurricane frequency to ITCZ changes and radiatively forced warming in aquaplanet simulations: SENSITIVITY OF AQUAPLANET HURRICANES
journal, August 2013

  • Merlis, Timothy M.; Zhao, Ming; Held, Isaac M.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 40, Issue 15
  • DOI: 10.1002/grl.50680

The role of earth radiation budget studies in climate and general circulation research
journal, January 1987


A Proposed Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Satellite
journal, March 1988


The albedo of Earth: The Albedo of Earth
journal, March 2015

  • Stephens, Graeme L.; O'Brien, Denis; Webster, Peter J.
  • Reviews of Geophysics, Vol. 53, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1002/2014RG000449

Observing and Modeling Earth’s Energy Flows
journal, May 2012


The West African Monsoon Dynamics. Part II: The “Preonset” and “Onset” of the Summer Monsoon
journal, November 2003


An Overview of CMIP5 and the Experiment Design
journal, April 2012

  • Taylor, Karl E.; Stouffer, Ronald J.; Meehl, Gerald A.
  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 93, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00094.1

The use of the multi-model ensemble in probabilistic climate projections
journal, June 2007

  • Tebaldi, Claudia; Knutti, Reto
  • Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol. 365, Issue 1857
  • DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2007.2076

Maintenance of the African easterly jet
journal, April 1999

  • Thorncroft, C. D.; Blackburn, M.
  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 125, Issue 555
  • DOI: 10.1002/qj.49712555502

Estimates of Meridional Atmosphere and Ocean Heat Transports
journal, August 2001


Relations between Northward Ocean and Atmosphere Energy Transports in a Coupled Climate Model
journal, February 2008


Seasonal forecasts for regional onset of the West African monsoon
journal, September 2012


The Observed Hemispheric Symmetry in Reflected Shortwave Irradiance
journal, January 2013


Compensation of Hemispheric Albedo Asymmetries by Shifts of the ITCZ and Tropical Clouds
journal, February 2014


Measurements of the Earth's Radiation Budget from Satellites During a Five-Year Period. Part I: Extended Time and Space Means
journal, April 1971


GPCP Pentad Precipitation Analyses: An Experimental Dataset Based on Gauge Observations and Satellite Estimates
journal, July 2003

  • Xie, Pingping; Janowiak, John E.; Arkin, Phillip A.
  • Journal of Climate, Vol. 16, Issue 13
  • DOI: 10.1175/2769.1

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE: Drought in the Sahel
journal, November 2003


    Works referencing / citing this record:

    The Curious Nature of the Hemispheric Symmetry of the Earth’s Water and Energy Balances
    journal, July 2016

    • Stephens, Graeme L.; Hakuba, Maria Z.; Hawcroft, Matt
    • Current Climate Change Reports, Vol. 2, Issue 4
    • DOI: 10.1007/s40641-016-0043-9