Southern Ocean albedo, inter-hemispheric energy transports and the double ITCZ: global impacts of biases in a coupled model
Climate Dynamics: observational, theoretical and computational research on the climate system
Springer Verlag (Germany)
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Springer via the DOI in this record.
A causal link has been invoked between inter-hemispheric albedo, cross-equatorial energy transport and the double-IntertropicalConvergence Zone (ITCZ) bias in climate models. Southern Ocean cloud biases are a major determinant of inter-hemispheric albedo biases in many models, including HadGEM2-ES, a fully coupled model with a dynamical ocean. In this study, targeted albedo corrections are applied to explore the dynamical response to artificially reducing these biases. The Southern Hemisphere jet increases in strength in response to the increased tropical-extratropical temperature gradient, with increased energy transport into the mid-latitudes in the atmosphere, but no improvement is observed in the double-ITCZ bias or atmospheric cross-equatorial energy transport. The majority of the adjustment in energy transport in the tropics is achieved in the ocean, with the response further limited to the Pacific Ocean. As a result, the frequently argued teleconnection between the Southern Ocean and tropical precipitation biases is muted. Further experiments in which tropical longwave biases are also reduced do not yield improvement in the representation of the tropical atmosphere. These results suggest that the dramatic improvements in tropical precipitation that have been shown in previous studies may be a function of the lack of dynamical ocean and/or the simplified hemispheric albedo bias corrections applied in that work. It further suggests that efforts to correct the double ITCZ problem in coupled models that focus on large-scale energetic controls will prove fruitless without improvements in the representation of atmospheric processes.
MKH, MC and JMH were supported by the Natural Environment Research Council/Department for International Development via the Future Climates for Africa (FCFA) funded project ’Improving Model Processes for African Climate’ (IMPALA, NE/M017265/1). JMH and AJ were supported by the Joint UK DECC/Defra Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme (GA01101).