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

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
 [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:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276; 600305000
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 43; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
climate models; inter-hemispheric; albedo symmetry
OSTI Identifier: