A. Spiga, D. P. Hinson, J.-B. Madeleine, T. Navarro, E. Millour, F. Forget, and F. Montmessin. Snow precipitation on Mars driven by cloud-induced night-time convection. Nature Geoscience, 10:652-657, September 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Although it contains less water vapour than Earth's atmosphere, the Martian atmosphere hosts clouds. These clouds, composed of water-ice particles, influence the global transport of water vapour and the seasonal variations of ice deposits. However, the influence of water-ice clouds on local weather is unclear: it is thought that Martian clouds are devoid of moist convective motions, and snow precipitation occurs only by the slow sedimentation of individual particles. Here we present numerical simulations of the meteorology in Martian cloudy regions that demonstrate that localized convective snowstorms can occur on Mars. We show that such snowstorms-or ice microbursts-can explain deep night-time mixing layers detected from orbit and precipitation signatures detected below water-ice clouds by the Phoenix lander. In our simulations, convective snowstorms occur only during the Martian night, and result from atmospheric instability due to radiative cooling of water-ice cloud particles. This triggers strong convective plumes within and below clouds, with fast snow precipitation resulting from the vigorous descending currents. Night-time convection in Martian water-ice clouds and the associated snow precipitation lead to transport of water both above and below the mixing layers, and thus would affect Mars' water cycle past and present, especially under the high-obliquity conditions associated with a more intense water cycle.
C. Kleinschmitt, O. Boucher, S. Bekki, F. Lott, and U. Platt. The Sectional Stratospheric Sulfate Aerosol module (S3A-v1) within the LMDZ general circulation model: description and evaluation against stratospheric aerosol observations. Geoscientific Model Development, 10:3359-3378, September 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Stratospheric aerosols play an important role in the climate system by affecting the Earth's radiative budget as well as atmospheric chemistry, and the capabilities to simulate them interactively within global models are continuously improving. It is important to represent accurately both aerosol microphysical and atmospheric dynamical processes because together they affect the size distribution and the residence time of the aerosol particles in the stratosphere. The newly developed LMDZ-S3A model presented in this article uses a sectional approach for sulfate particles in the stratosphere and includes the relevant microphysical processes. It allows full interaction between aerosol radiative effects (e.g. radiative heating) and atmospheric dynamics, including e.g. an internally generated quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) in the stratosphere. Sulfur chemistry is semi-prescribed via climatological lifetimes. LMDZ-S3A reasonably reproduces aerosol observations in periods of low (background) and high (volcanic) stratospheric sulfate loading, but tends to overestimate the number of small particles and to underestimate the number of large particles. Thus, it may serve as a tool to study the climate impacts of volcanic eruptions, as well as the deliberate anthropogenic injection of aerosols into the stratosphere, which has been proposed as a method of geoengineering to abate global warming.
D.-D. Rousseau, A. Svensson, M. Bigler, A. Sima, J. P. Steffensen, and N. Boers. Eurasian contribution to the last glacial dust cycle: how are loess sequences built? Climate of the Past, 13:1181-1197, September 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
The last 130 000 years have been marked by pronounced millennial-scale climate variability, which strongly impacted the terrestrial environments of the Northern Hemisphere, especially at middle latitudes. Identifying the trigger of these variations, which are most likely associated with strong couplings between the ocean and the atmosphere, still remains a key question. Here, we show that the analysis of δ18O and dust in the Greenland ice cores, and a critical study of their source variations, reconciles these records with those observed on the Eurasian continent. We demonstrate the link between European and Chinese loess sequences, dust records in Greenland, and variations in the North Atlantic sea ice extent. The sources of the emitted and transported dust material are variable and relate to different environments corresponding to present desert areas, but also hidden regions related to lower sea level stands, dry rivers, or zones close to the frontal moraines of the main Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. We anticipate our study to be at the origin of more sophisticated and elaborated investigations of millennial and sub-millennial continental climate variability in the Northern Hemisphere.
W. May, M. Rummukainen, F. Chéruy, S. Hagemann, and A. Meier. Contributions of soil moisture interactions to future precipitation changes in the GLACE-CMIP5 experiment. Climate Dynamics, 49:1681-1704, September 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Changes in soil moisture are likely to contribute to future changes in latent heat flux and various characteristics of daily precipitation. Such contributions during the second half of the twenty-first century are assessed using the simulations from the GLACE-CMIP5 experiment, applying a linear regression analysis to determine the magnitude of these contributions. As characteristics of daily precipitation, mean daily precipitation, the frequency of wet days and the intensity of precipitation on wet days are considered. Also, the frequency and length of extended wet and dry spells are studied. Particular focus is on the regional (for nine selected regions) as well as seasonal variations in the magnitude of the contributions of the projected differences in soil moisture to the future changes in latent heat flux and in the characteristics of daily precipitation. The results reveal the overall tendency that the projected differences in soil moisture contribute to the future changes in response to the anthropogenic climate forcing for all the meteorological variables considered here. These contributions are stronger and more robust (i.e., there are smaller deviations between individual climate models) for the latent heat flux than for the characteristics of daily precipitation. It is also found that the contributions of the differences in soil moisture to the future changes are generally stronger and more robust for the frequency of wet days than for the intensity of daily precipitation. Consistent with the contributions of the projected differences in soil moisture to the future changes in the frequency of wet days, soil moisture generally contributes to the future changes in the characteristics of wet and dry spells. The magnitude of these contributions does not differ systematically between the frequency and the length of such extended spells, but the contributions are generally slightly stronger for dry spells than for wet spells. Distinguishing between the nine selected regions and between the different seasons, it is found that the strength of the contributions of the differences in soil moisture to the future changes in the various meteorological variables varies by region and, in particular, by season. Similarly, the robustness of these contributions varies between the regions and in the course of the year. The importance of soil moisture changes for the future changes in various aspects of daily precipitation and other aspects of the hydrological cycle illustrates the need for a comprehensive and realistic representation of land surface processes and of land surface conditions in climate models.
J. Grazioli, C. Genthon, B. Boudevillain, C. Duran-Alarcon, M. Del Guasta, J.-B. Madeleine, and A. Berne. Measurements of precipitation in Dumont d'Urville, Adélie Land, East Antarctica. The Cryosphere, 11:1797-1811, August 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
The first results of a campaign of intensive observation of precipitation in Dumont d'Urville, Antarctica, are presented. Several instruments collected data from November 2015 to February 2016 or longer, including a polarimetric radar (MXPol), a Micro Rain Radar (MRR), a weighing gauge (Pluvio2), and a Multi-Angle Snowflake Camera (MASC). These instruments collected the first ground-based measurements of precipitation in the region of Adélie Land (Terre Adélie), including precipitation microphysics. Microphysical observations during the austral summer 2015/2016 showed that, close to the ground level, aggregates are the dominant hydrometeor type, together with small ice particles (mostly originating from blowing snow), and that riming is a recurring process. Eleven percent of the measured particles were fully developed graupel, and aggregates had a mean riming degree of about 30 %. Spurious precipitation in the Pluvio2 measurements in windy conditions, leading to phantom accumulations, is observed and partly removed through synergistic use of MRR data. The yearly accumulated precipitation of snow (300 m above ground), obtained by means of a local conversion relation of MRR data, trained on the Pluvio2 measurement of the summer period, is estimated to be 815 mm of water equivalent, with a confidence interval ranging between 739.5 and 989 mm. Data obtained in previous research from satellite-borne radars, and the ERA-Interim reanalysis of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) provide lower yearly totals: 655 mm for ERA-Interim and 679 mm for the climatological data over DDU. ERA-Interim overestimates the occurrence of low-intensity precipitation events especially in summer, but it compensates for them by underestimating the snowfall amounts carried by the most intense events. Overall, this paper provides insightful examples of the added values of precipitation monitoring in Antarctica with a synergistic use of in situ and remote sensing measurements.
L. Sitzia, P. Bertran, A. Sima, P. Chery, A. Queffelec, and D.-D. Rousseau. Dynamics and sources of last glacial aeolian deposition in southwest France derived from dune patterns, grain-size gradients and geochemistry, and reconstruction of efficient wind directions. Quaternary Science Reviews, 170:250-268, August 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Dune pattern, grain-size gradients and geochemistry were used to investigate the sources and dynamics of aeolian deposition during the last glacial in southwest France. The coversands form widespread fields of low-amplitude ridges (zibars), whereas Younger Dryas parabolic dunes mainly concentrate in corridors and along rivers. Spatial modelling of grain-size gradients combined with geochemical analysis points to a genetic relationship between coversands and loess, the latter resulting primarily from dust produced by aeolian abrasion of the coversands. The alluvium of the Garonne river provided also significant amounts of dust at a more local scale. The geochemical composition of loess shows much lower scattering than that of coversands, due to stronger homogenisation during transport in the atmosphere. Overall, sandy loess and loess deposits decrease in thickness away from the coversands. Dune orientation and grain-size gradients suggest that the efficient winds blew respectively from the W to the NW during the glacial, and the W-SW during the Younger Dryas. A comparison between the wind directions derived from the proxy data and those provided by palaeoclimatic simulations suggests a change of the main transport season. Ground surface conditions and their evolution throughout the year, i.e. the length of the season with snow and frozen or moist topsoil, and the seasonal distribution of wind speeds able to cause deflation are thought to have been the main factors that controlled the transport season in the study area.
D.-D. Rousseau, N. Boers, A. Sima, A. Svensson, M. Bigler, F. Lagroix, S. Taylor, and P. Antoine. (MIS3 2) millennial oscillations in Greenland dust and Eurasian aeolian records - A paleosol perspective. Quaternary Science Reviews, 169:99-113, August 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Since their discovery, the abrupt climate changes that punctuated the last glacial period (~110.6-14.62 ka) have attracted considerable attention. Originating in the North-Atlantic area, these abrupt changes have been recorded in ice, marine and terrestrial records all over the world, but especially in the Northern Hemisphere, with various environmental implications. Ice-core records of unprecedented temporal resolution from northern Greenland allow to specify the timing of these abrupt changes, which are associated with sudden temperature increases in Greenland over a few decades, very precisely. The continental records have, so far, been mainly interpreted in terms of temperature, precipitation or vegetation changes between the relatively warm ;Greenland Interstadials; (GI) and the cooler ;Greenland Stadials; (GS). Here we compare records from Greenland ice and northwestern European eolian deposits in order to establish a link between GI and the soil development in European mid-latitudes, as recorded in loess sequences. For the different types of observed paleosols, we use the correlation with the Greenland records to propose estimates of the maximum time lapses needed to achieve the different degrees of maturation and development. To identify these time lapses more precisely, we compare two independent ice-core records: δ18O and dust concentration, indicating variations of atmospheric temperature and dustiness in the Greenland area, respectively. Our method slightly differs from the definition of a GI event duration applied in other studies, where the sharp end of the δ18O decrease alone defines the end of a GI. We apply the same methodology to both records (i.e., the GIs are defined to last from the beginning of the abrupt δ18O increase or dust concentration decrease until the time when δ18O or dust recur to their initial value before the GI onset), determined both visually and algorithmically, and compare them to published estimates of GI timing and duration. The duration of the GI and consequently the maximum time for paleosol development varies between 200 and 4200 years when visually determined and between 200 and 4800 years when estimated algorithmically for GI 17 to 2, i.e. an interval running from 60 ka to 23 ka b2k (age before 2000 AD). Furthermore, we investigate the abruptness of the transition from stadial to interstadial conditions, which initiates the paleosol development. The average transition duration is 55.4 16.1 (56.8 19.6) years when determined visually, and 36.4 13.4 (60.00 21.2) years when determined algorithmically for the δ18O (dust concentration). The δ18O increases correspond to a mean temperature difference of 11.8 degC on the top of the Greenland ice sheet, associated with substantial reorganizations of the ecosystems in mid-latitude Europe.
D. W. J. Thompson, S. Bony, and Y. Li. Thermodynamic constraint on the depth of the global tropospheric circulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 114:8181-8186, August 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
The troposphere is the region of the atmosphere characterized by low static stability, vigorous diabatic mixing, and widespread condensational heating in clouds. Previous research has argued that in the tropics, the upper bound on tropospheric mixing and clouds is constrained by the rapid decrease with height of the saturation water vapor pressure and hence radiative cooling by water vapor in clear-sky regions. Here the authors contend that the same basic physics play a key role in constraining the vertical structure of tropospheric mixing, tropopause temperature, and cloud-top temperature throughout the globe. It is argued that radiative cooling by water vapor plays an important role in governing the depth and amplitude of large-scale dynamics at extratropical latitudes.
J. Kretzschmar, M. Salzmann, J. Mülmenstädt, O. Boucher, and J. Quaas. Comment on “Rethinking the Lower Bound on Aerosol Radiative Forcing”. Journal of Climate, 30:6579-6584, August 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
F. Adloff, G. Jordà, S. Somot, F. Sevault, T. Arsouze, B. Meyssignac, L. Li, and S. Planton. Improving sea level simulation in Mediterranean regional climate models. Climate Dynamics, August 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
For now, the question about future sea level change in the Mediterranean remains a challenge. Previous climate modelling attempts to estimate future sea level change in the Mediterranean did not meet a consensus. The low resolution of CMIP-type models prevents an accurate representation of important small scales processes acting over the Mediterranean region. For this reason among others, the use of high resolution regional ocean modelling has been recommended in literature to address the question of ongoing and future Mediterranean sea level change in response to climate change or greenhouse gases emissions. Also, it has been shown that east Atlantic sea level variability is the dominant driver of the Mediterranean variability at interannual and interdecadal scales. However, up to now, long-term regional simulations of the Mediterranean Sea do not integrate the full sea level information from the Atlantic, which is a substantial shortcoming when analysing Mediterranean sea level response. In the present study we analyse different approaches followed by state-of-the-art regional climate models to simulate Mediterranean sea level variability. Additionally we present a new simulation which incorporates improved information of Atlantic sea level forcing at the lateral boundary. We evaluate the skills of the different simulations in the frame of long-term hindcast simulations spanning from 1980 to 2012 analysing sea level variability from seasonal to multidecadal scales. Results from the new simulation show a substantial improvement in the modelled Mediterranean sea level signal. This confirms that Mediterranean mean sea level is strongly influenced by the Atlantic conditions, and thus suggests that the quality of the information in the lateral boundary conditions (LBCs) is crucial for the good modelling of Mediterranean sea level. We also found that the regional differences inside the basin, that are induced by circulation changes, are model-dependent and thus not affected by the LBCs. Finally, we argue that a correct configuration of LBCs in the Atlantic should be used for future Mediterranean simulations, which cover hindcast period, but also for scenarios.
J.-L. Lacour, C. Flamant, C. Risi, C. Clerbaux, and P.-F. Coheur. Importance of the Saharan heat low in controlling the North Atlantic free tropospheric humidity budget deduced from IASI δD observations. Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics, 17:9645-9663, August 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
The isotopic composition of water vapour in the North Atlantic free troposphere is investigated with Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) measurements of the D / H ratio (δD) above the ocean. We show that in the vicinity of West Africa, the seasonality of δD is particularly strong (130 ), which is related with the influence of the Saharan heat low (SHL) during summertime. The SHL indeed largely influences the dynamic in that region by producing deep turbulent mixing layers, yielding a specific water vapour isotopic footprint. The influence of the SHL on the isotopic budget is analysed on various time and space scales and is shown to be large, highlighting the importance of the SHL dynamics on the moistening and the HDO enrichment of the free troposphere over the North Atlantic. The potential influence of the SHL is also investigated on the inter-annual scale as we also report important variations in δD above the Canary archipelago region. We interpret the variability in the enrichment, using backward trajectory analyses, in terms of the ratio of air masses coming from the North Atlantic and air masses coming from the African continent. Finally, the interest of IASI high sampling capabilities is further illustrated by presenting spatial distributions of δD and humidity above the North Atlantic from which we show that the different sources and dehydration pathways controlling the humidity can be disentangled thanks to the added value of δD observations. More generally, our results demonstrate the utility of δD observations obtained from the IASI sounder to gain insight into the hydrological cycle processes in the West African region.
F. Wang, A. Ducharne, F. Cheruy, M.-H. Lo, and J.-Y. Grandpeix. Impact of a shallow groundwater table on the global water cycle in the IPSL land-atmosphere coupled model. Climate Dynamics, July 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
The main objective of the present work is to study the impacts of water table depth on the near surface climate and the physical mechanisms responsible for these impacts through the analysis of land-atmosphere coupled numerical simulations. The analysis is performed with the LMDZ (standard physics) and ORCHIDEE models, which are the atmosphere-land components of the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL) Climate Model. The results of sensitivity experiments with groundwater tables (WT) prescribed at depths of 1 m (WTD1) and 2 m (WTD2) are compared to the results of a reference simulation with free drainage from an unsaturated 2 m soil (REF). The response of the atmosphere to the prescribed WT is mostly concentrated over land, and the largest differences in precipitation and evaporation are found between REF and WTD1. Saturating the bottom half of the soil in WTD1 induces a systematic increase of soil moisture across the continents. Evapotranspiration (ET) increases over water-limited regimes due to increased soil moisture, but it decreases over energy-limited regimes due to the decrease in downwelling radiation and the increase in cloud cover. The tropical (25degS-25degN) and mid-latitude areas (25degN-60degN and 25degS-60degS) are significantly impacted by the WT, showing a decrease in air temperature (-0.5 K over mid-latitudes and -1 K over tropics) and an increase in precipitation. The latter can be explained by more vigorous updrafts due to an increased meridional temperature gradient between the equator and higher latitudes, which transports more water vapour upward, causing a positive precipitation change in the ascending branch. Over the West African Monsoon and Australian Monsoon regions, the precipitation changes in both intensity (increases) and location (poleward). The more intense convection and the change of the large-scale dynamics are responsible for this change. Transition zones, such as the Mediterranean area and central North America, are also impacted, with strengthened convection resulting from increased ET.
A. Pottier, F. Forget, F. Montmessin, T. Navarro, A. Spiga, E. Millour, A. Szantai, and J.-B. Madeleine. Unraveling the martian water cycle with high-resolution global climate simulations. Icarus, 291:82-106, July 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Global climate modeling of the Mars water cycle is usually performed at relatively coarse resolution (200 - 300km), which may not be sufficient to properly represent the impact of waves, fronts, topography effects on the detailed structure of clouds and surface ice deposits. Here, we present new numerical simulations of the annual water cycle performed at a resolution of 1deg × 1deg (~ 60 km in latitude). The model includes the radiative effects of clouds, whose influence on the thermal structure and atmospheric dynamics is significant, thus we also examine simulations with inactive clouds to distinguish the direct impact of resolution on circulation and winds from the indirect impact of resolution via water ice clouds. To first order, we find that the high resolution does not dramatically change the behavior of the system, and that simulations performed at ~ 200 km resolution capture well the behavior of the simulated water cycle and Mars climate. Nevertheless, a detailed comparison between high and low resolution simulations, with reference to observations, reveal several significant changes that impact our understanding of the water cycle active today on Mars. The key northern cap edge dynamics are affected by an increase in baroclinic wave strength, with a complication of northern summer dynamics. South polar frost deposition is modified, with a westward longitudinal shift, since southern dynamics are also influenced. Baroclinic wave mode transitions are observed. New transient phenomena appear, like spiral and streak clouds, already documented in the observations. Atmospheric circulation cells in the polar region exhibit a large variability and are fine structured, with slope winds. Most modeled phenomena affected by high resolution give a picture of a more turbulent planet, inducing further variability. This is challenging for long-period climate studies.
F.-M. Bréon, O. Boucher, and P. Brender. Inter-annual variability in fossil-fuel CO2 emissions due to temperature anomalies. Environmental Research Letters, 12(7):074009, July 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
It is well known that short-term (i.e. interannual) variations in fossil-fuel CO2 emissions are closely related to the evolution of the national economies. Nevertheless, a fraction of the CO2 emissions are linked to domestic and business heating and cooling, which can be expected to be related to the meteorology, independently of the economy. Here, we analyse whether the signature of the inter-annual temperature anomalies is discernible in the time series of CO2 emissions at the country scale. Our analysis shows that, for many countries, there is a clear positive correlation between a heating-degree-person index and the component of the CO2 emissions that is not explained by the economy as quantified by the gross domestic product (GDP). Similarly, several countries show a positive correlation between a cooling-degree-person (CDP) index and CO2 emissions. The slope of the linear relationship for heating is on the order of 0.5-1 kg CO2 (degree-day-person)-1 but with significant country-to-country variations. A similar relationship for cooling shows even greater diversity. We further show that the inter-annual climate anomalies have a small but significant impact on the annual growth rate of CO2 emissions, both at the national and global scale. Such a meteorological effect was a significant contribution to the rather small and unexpected global emission growth rate in 2014 while its contribution to the near zero emission growth in 2015 was insignificant.
H. Senghor, É. Machu, F. Hourdin, and A. Thierno Gaye. Seasonal cycle of desert aerosols in western Africa: analysis of the coastal transition with passive and active sensors. Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics, 17:8395-8410, July 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
The impact of desert aerosols on climate, atmospheric processes, and the environment is still debated in the scientific community. The extent of their influence remains to be determined and particularly requires a better understanding of the variability of their distribution. In this work, we studied the variability of these aerosols in western Africa using different types of satellite observations. SeaWiFS (Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor) and OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) data have been used to characterize the spatial distribution of mineral aerosols from their optical and physical properties over the period 2005-2010. In particular, we focused on the variability of the transition between continental western African and the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Data provided by the lidar scrolling CALIOP (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization) onboard the satellite CALIPSO (Cloud Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations) for the period 2007-2013 were then used to assess the seasonal variability of the vertical distribution of desert aerosols. We first obtained a good representation of aerosol optical depth (AOD) and single-scattering albedo (SSA) from the satellites SeaWiFS and OMI, respectively, in comparison with AERONET estimates, both above the continent and the ocean. Dust occurrence frequency is higher in spring and boreal summer. In spring, the highest occurrences are located between the surface and 3 km above sea level, while in summer the highest occurrences are between 2 and 5 km altitude. The vertical distribution given by CALIOP also highlights an abrupt change at the coast from spring to fall with a layer of desert aerosols confined in an atmospheric layer uplifted from the surface of the ocean. This uplift of the aerosol layer above the ocean contrasts with the winter season during which mineral aerosols are confined in the atmospheric boundary layer. Radiosondes at Dakar Weather Station (17.5deg W, 14.74deg N) provide basic thermodynamic variables which partially give a causal relationship between the layering of the atmospheric circulation over western Africa and their aerosol contents throughout the year. A SSA increase is observed in winter and spring at the transition between the continent and the ocean. The analysis of mean NCEP (National Centers for Environmental Prediction) winds at 925 hPa between 2000 and 2012 suggest a significant contribution of coastal sand sources from Mauritania in winter which would increase SSA over the ocean.
A. Voigt, R. Pincus, B. Stevens, S. Bony, O. Boucher, N. Bellouin, A. Lewinschal, B. Medeiros, Z. Wang, and H. Zhang. Fast and slow shifts of the zonal-mean intertropical convergence zone in response to an idealized anthropogenic aerosol. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 9:870-892, June 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Previous modeling work showed that aerosol can affect the position of the tropical rain belt, i.e., the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). Yet it remains unclear which aspects of the aerosol impact are robust across models, and which are not. Here we present simulations with seven comprehensive atmosphere models that study the fast and slow impacts of an idealized anthropogenic aerosol on the zonal-mean ITCZ position. The fast impact, which results from aerosol atmospheric heating and land cooling before sea-surface temperature (SST) has time to respond, causes a northward ITCZ shift. Yet the fast impact is compensated locally by decreased evaporation over the ocean, and a clear northward shift is only found for an unrealistically large aerosol forcing. The local compensation implies that while models differ in atmospheric aerosol heating, this does not contribute to model differences in the ITCZ shift. The slow impact includes the aerosol impact on the ocean surface energy balance and is mediated by SST changes. The slow impact is an order of magnitude more effective than the fast impact and causes a clear southward ITCZ shift for realistic aerosol forcing. Models agree well on the slow ITCZ shift when perturbed with the same SST pattern. However, an energetic analysis suggests that the slow ITCZ shifts would be substantially more model-dependent in interactive-SST setups due to model differences in clear-sky radiative transfer and clouds. We also discuss implications for the representation of aerosol in climate models and attributions of recent observed ITCZ shifts to aerosol.
F. F. Malavelle, J. M. Haywood, A. Jones, A. Gettelman, L. Clarisse, S. Bauduin, R. P. Allan, I. H. H. Karset, J. E. Kristjánsson, L. Oreopoulos, N. Cho, D. Lee, N. Bellouin, O. Boucher, D. P. Grosvenor, K. S. Carslaw, S. Dhomse, G. W. Mann, A. Schmidt, H. Coe, M. E. Hartley, M. Dalvi, A. A. Hill, B. T. Johnson, C. E. Johnson, J. R. Knight, F. M. O'Connor, D. G. Partridge, P. Stier, G. Myhre, S. Platnick, G. L. Stephens, H. Takahashi, and T. Thordarson. Strong constraints on aerosol-cloud interactions from volcanic eruptions. Nature, 546:485-491, June 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Aerosols have a potentially large effect on climate, particularly through their interactions with clouds, but the magnitude of this effect is highly uncertain. Large volcanic eruptions produce sulfur dioxide, which in turn produces aerosols; these eruptions thus represent a natural experiment through which to quantify aerosol-cloud interactions. Here we show that the massive 2014-2015 fissure eruption in Holuhraun, Iceland, reduced the size of liquid cloud dropletsconsistent with expectationsbut had no discernible effect on other cloud properties. The reduction in droplet size led to cloud brightening and global-mean radiative forcing of around -0.2 watts per square metre for September to October 2014. Changes in cloud amount or cloud liquid water path, however, were undetectable, indicating that these indirect effects, and cloud systems in general, are well buffered against aerosol changes. This result will reduce uncertainties in future climate projections, because we are now able to reject results from climate models with an excessive liquid-water-path response.
O. Richet, C. Muller, and J.-M. Chomaz. Impact of a Mean Current on the Internal Tide Energy Dissipation at the Critical Latitude. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 47:1457-1472, June 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
G. Myhre, P. M. Forster, B. H. Samset, Ø. Hodnebrog, J. Sillmann, S. G. Aalbergsjø, T. Andrews, O. Boucher, G. Faluvegi, D. Fläschner, T. Iversen, M. Kasoar, V. Kharin, A. Kirkevåg, J.-F. Lamarque, D. Olivié, T. B. Richardson, D. Shindell, K. P. Shine, C. W. Stjern, T. Takemura, A. Voulgarakis, and F. Zwiers. PDRMIP: A Precipitation Driver and Response Model Intercomparison ProjectProtocol and Preliminary Results. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 98:1185-1198, June 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
O. Membrive, C. Crevoisier, C. Sweeney, F. Danis, A. Hertzog, A. Engel, H. Bönisch, and L. Picon. AirCore-HR: a high-resolution column sampling to enhance the vertical description of CH4 and CO2. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 10:2163-2181, June 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
An original and innovative sampling system called AirCore was presented by NOAA in 2010 (Karion et al., 2010). It consists of a long ( 100 m) and narrow ( 1 cm) stainless steel tube that can retain a profile of atmospheric air. The captured air sample has then to be analyzed with a gas analyzer for trace mole fraction. In this study, we introduce a new AirCore aiming to improve resolution along the vertical with the objectives to (i) better capture the vertical distribution of CO2 and CH4, (ii) provide a tool to compare AirCores and validate the estimated vertical resolution achieved by AirCores. This (high-resolution) AirCore-HR consists of a 300 m tube, combining 200 m of 0.125 in. (3.175 mm) tube and a 100 m of 0.25 in. (6.35 mm) tube. This new configuration allows us to achieve a vertical resolution of 300 m up to 15 km and better than 500 m up to 22 km (if analysis of the retained sample is performed within 3 h). The AirCore-HR was flown for the first time during the annual StratoScience campaign from CNES in August 2014 from Timmins (Ontario, Canada). High-resolution vertical profiles of CO2 and CH4 up to 25 km were successfully retrieved. These profiles revealed well-defined transport structures in the troposphere (also seen in CAMS-ECMWF high-resolution forecasts of CO2 and CH4 profiles) and captured the decrease of CO2 and CH4 in the stratosphere. The multi-instrument gondola also carried two other low-resolution AirCore-GUF that allowed us to perform direct comparisons and study the underlying processing method used to convert the sample of air to greenhouse gases vertical profiles. In particular, degrading the AirCore-HR derived profiles to the low resolution of AirCore-GUF yields an excellent match between both sets of CH4 profiles and shows a good consistency in terms of vertical structures. This fully validates the theoretical vertical resolution achievable by AirCores. Concerning CO2 although a good agreement is found in terms of vertical structure, the comparison between the various AirCores yields a large and variable bias (up to almost 3 ppm in some parts of the profiles). The reasons of this bias, possibly related to the drying agent used to dry the air, are still being investigated. Finally, the uncertainties associated with the measurements are assessed, yielding an average uncertainty below 3 ppb for CH4 and 0.25 ppm for CO2 with the major source of uncertainty coming from the potential loss of air sample on the ground and the choice of the starting and ending point of the collected air sample inside the tube. In an ideal case where the sample would be fully retained, it would be possible to know precisely the pressure at which air was sampled last and thus to improve the overall uncertainty to about 0.1 ppm for CO2 and 2 ppb for CH4.
J. Escribano, O. Boucher, F. Chevallier, and N. Huneeus. Impact of the choice of the satellite aerosol optical depth product in a sub-regional dust emission inversion. Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics, 17:7111-7126, June 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Mineral dust is the major continental contributor to the global atmospheric aerosol burden with important effects on the climate system. Regionally, a large fraction of the emitted dust is produced in northern Africa; however, the total emission flux from there is still highly uncertain. In order to reduce these uncertainties, emission estimates through top-down approaches (i.e. usually models constrained by observations) have been successfully developed and implemented. Such studies usually rely on a single observational dataset and propagate the possible observational errors of this dataset onto the emission estimates. In this study, aerosol optical depth (AOD) products from five different satellites are assimilated one by one in a source inversion system to estimate dust emission fluxes over northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. We estimate mineral dust emissions for the year 2006 and discuss the impact of the assimilated dataset on the analysis. We find a relatively large dispersion in flux estimates among the five experiments, which can likely be attributed to differences in the assimilated observation datasets and their associated error statistics.
L. Robert, G. Rivière, and F. Codron. Positive and Negative Eddy Feedbacks Acting on Midlatitude Jet Variability in a Three-Level Quasigeostrophic Model. Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, 74:1635-1649, May 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
D. Coppin and S. Bony. Internal variability in a coupled general circulation model in radiative-convective equilibrium. Geophysical Research Letters, 44:5142-5149, May 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Numerical models run in non-rotating radiative-convective equilibrium (RCE) using prescribed sea surface temperatures (SSTs) show that convection can spontaneously aggregate into dry and moist areas, and that convective aggregation tends to increase with temperature. Using a general circulation model coupled to an ocean mixed layer, we show that in RCE the coupled ocean-atmosphere system exhibits some internal variability. This variability arises from the interplay between mean surface temperature, SST gradients and convective aggregation, and its timescale is proportional to the depth of the ocean mixed layer. For an ocean layer deeper than 10 m, the variability occurs at the interannual timescale, and variations of convective aggregation are almost out of phase with those of surface temperature. The coupled RCE framework might be relevant to understand some internal modes of variability of the tropical ocean-atmosphere system such as El Niño Southern Oscillation.
G. M. Martin, P. Peyrillé, R. Roehrig, C. Rio, M. Caian, G. Bellon, F. Codron, J.-P. Lafore, D. E. Poan, and A. Idelkadi. Understanding the West African Monsoon from the analysis of diabatic heating distributions as simulated by climate models. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 9:239-270, March 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Vertical and horizontal distributions of diabatic heating in the West African monsoon (WAM) region as simulated by four model families are analyzed in order to assess the physical processes that affect the WAM circulation. For each model family, atmosphere-only runs of their CMIP5 configurations are compared with more recent configurations which are on the development path toward CMIP6. The various configurations of these models exhibit significant differences in their heating/moistening profiles, related to the different representation of physical processes such as boundary layer mixing, convection, large-scale condensation and radiative heating/cooling. There are also significant differences in the models' simulation of WAM rainfall patterns and circulations. The weaker the radiative cooling in the Saharan region, the larger the ascent in the rainband and the more intense the monsoon flow, while the latitude of the rainband is related to heating in the Gulf of Guinea region and on the northern side of the Saharan heat low. Overall, this work illustrates the difficulty experienced by current climate models in representing the characteristics of monsoon systems, but also that we can still use them to understand the interactions between local subgrid physical processes and the WAM circulation. Moreover, our conclusions regarding the relationship between errors in the large-scale circulation of the WAM and the structure of the heating by small-scale processes will motivate future studies and model development.
R. Chadwick, G. M. Martin, D. Copsey, G. Bellon, M. Caian, F. Codron, C. Rio, and R. Roehrig. Examining the West African Monsoon circulation response to atmospheric heating in a GCM dynamical core. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 9:149-167, March 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Diabatic heating plays a crucial role in the formation and maintenance of the West African Monsoon. A dynamical core configuration of a General Circulation Model (GCM) is used to test the influence of diabatic heating from different sources and regions on the strength and northward penetration of the monsoon circulation. The dynamical core is able to capture the main features of the monsoon flow, and when forced with heating tendencies from various different GCMs it recreates many of the differences seen between the full GCM monsoon circulations. Differences in atmospheric short-wave absorption over the Sahara and Sahel regions are a key driver of variation in the models' monsoon circulations, and this is likely to be linked to how aerosols, clouds and surface albedo are represented across the models. The magnitude of short-wave absorption also appears to affect the strength and position of the African easterly jet (AEJ), but not that of the tropical easterly jet (TEJ). The dynamical core is also used here to understand circulation changes that occur during the ongoing model development process that occurs at each modeling centre, providing the potential to trace these changes to specific alterations in model physics.
F. Hourdin, T. Mauritsen, A. Gettelman, J.-C. Golaz, V. Balaji, Q. Duan, D. Folini, D. Ji, D. Klocke, Y. Qian, F. Rauser, C. Rio, L. Tomassini, M. Watanabe, and D. Williamson. The Art and Science of Climate Model Tuning. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 98:589-602, March 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
T. H. M. Stein, C. E. Holloway, I. Tobin, and S. Bony. Observed Relationships between Cloud Vertical Structure and Convective Aggregation over Tropical Ocean. Journal of Climate, 30:2187-2207, March 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
M. Gaetani, C. Flamant, S. Bastin, S. Janicot, C. Lavaysse, F. Hourdin, P. Braconnot, and S. Bony. West African monsoon dynamics and precipitation: the competition between global SST warming and CO2 increase in CMIP5 idealized simulations. Climate Dynamics, 48:1353-1373, February 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Climate variability associated with the West African monsoon (WAM) has important environmental and socio-economic impacts in the region. However, state-of-the-art climate models still struggle in producing reliable climate predictions. An important cause of this low predictive skill is the sensitivity of climate models to different forcings. In this study, the mechanisms linking the WAM dynamics to the CO2 forcing are investigated, by comparing the effect of the CO2 direct radiative effect with its indirect effect mediated by the global sea surface warming. The July-to-September WAM variability is studied in climate simulations extracted from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 archive, driven by prescribed sea surface temperature (SST). The individual roles of global SST warming and CO2 atmospheric concentration increase are investigated through idealized experiments simulating a 4 K warmer SST and a quadrupled CO2 concentration, respectively. Results show opposite and competing responses in the WAM dynamics and precipitation. A dry response (-0.6 mm/day) to the SST warming is simulated in the Sahel, with dryer conditions over western Sahel (-0.8 mm/day). Conversely, the CO2 increase produces wet conditions (+0.5 mm/day) in the Sahel, with the strongest response over central-eastern Sahel (+0.7 mm/day). The associated responses in the atmospheric dynamics are also analysed, showing that the SST warming affects the Sahelian precipitation through modifications in the global tropical atmospheric dynamics, reducing the importance of the regional drivers, while the CO2 increase reinforces the coupling between precipitation and regional dynamics. A general agreement in model responses demonstrates the robustness of the identified mechanisms linking the WAM dynamics to the CO2 direct and indirect forcing, and indicates that these primary mechanisms are captured by climate models. Results also suggest that the spread in future projections may be caused by unbalanced model responses to the CO2 direct and indirect forcing.
W. J. Collins, J.-F. Lamarque, M. Schulz, O. Boucher, V. Eyring, M. I. Hegglin, A. Maycock, G. Myhre, M. Prather, D. Shindell, and S. J. Smith. AerChemMIP: quantifying the effects of chemistry and aerosols in CMIP6. Geoscientific Model Development, 10:585-607, February 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
The Aerosol Chemistry Model Intercomparison Project (AerChemMIP) is endorsed by the Coupled-Model Intercomparison Project 6 (CMIP6) and is designed to quantify the climate and air quality impacts of aerosols and chemically reactive gases. These are specifically near-term climate forcers (NTCFs: methane, tropospheric ozone and aerosols, and their precursors), nitrous oxide and ozone-depleting halocarbons. The aim of AerChemMIP is to answer four scientific questions. <BR /><BR /> 1. How have anthropogenic emissions contributed to global radiative forcing and affected regional climate over the historical period? <BR /><BR /> 2. How might future policies (on climate, air quality and land use) affect the abundances of NTCFs and their climate impacts? <BR /><BR /> 3.How do uncertainties in historical NTCF emissions affect radiative forcing estimates? <BR /><BR /> 4. How important are climate feedbacks to natural NTCF emissions, atmospheric composition, and radiative effects? <BR /><BR /> These questions will be addressed through targeted simulations with CMIP6 climate models that include an interactive representation of tropospheric aerosols and atmospheric chemistry. These simulations build on the CMIP6 Diagnostic, Evaluation and Characterization of Klima (DECK) experiments, the CMIP6 historical simulations, and future projections performed elsewhere in CMIP6, allowing the contributions from aerosols and/or chemistry to be quantified. Specific diagnostics are requested as part of the CMIP6 data request to highlight the chemical composition of the atmosphere, to evaluate the performance of the models, and to understand differences in behaviour between them.
M. M. Vogel, R. Orth, F. Cheruy, S. Hagemann, R. Lorenz, B. J. J. M. Hurk, and S. I. Seneviratne. Regional amplification of projected changes in extreme temperatures strongly controlled by soil moisture-temperature feedbacks. Geophysical Research Letters, 44:1511-1519, February 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Regional hot extremes are projected to increase more strongly than global mean temperature, with substantially larger changes than 2degC even if global warming is limited to this level. We investigate the role of soil moisture-temperature feedbacks for this response based on multimodel experiments for the 21st century with either interactive or fixed (late 20th century mean seasonal cycle) soil moisture. We analyze changes in the hottest days in each year in both sets of experiments, relate them to the global mean temperature increase, and investigate processes leading to these changes. We find that soil moisture-temperature feedbacks significantly contribute to the amplified warming of the hottest days compared to that of global mean temperature. This contribution reaches more than 70% in Central Europe and Central North America. Soil moisture trends are more important for this response than short-term soil moisture variability. These results are relevant for reducing uncertainties in regional temperature projections.
J. Marotzke, C. Jakob, S. Bony, P. A. Dirmeyer, P. A. O'Gorman, E. Hawkins, S. Perkins-Kirkpatrick, C. L. Quéré, S. Nowicki, K. Paulavets, S. I. Seneviratne, B. Stevens, and M. Tuma. Climate research must sharpen its view. Nature Climate Change, 7:89-91, January 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Human activity is changing Earth's climate. Now that this has been acknowledged and accepted in international negotiations, climate research needs to define its next frontiers.
Z. Jiang, S. Jiang, Y. Shi, Z. Liu, W. Li, and L. Li. Impact of moisture source variation on decadal-scale changes of precipitation in North China from 1951 to 2010. Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres), 122:600-613, January 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
The Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory platform is employed in this study to simulate trajectories of air parcels in the rainy season in North China during last six decades (1951-2010), with the purpose of investigating moisture sources, their variation, and the eventual relationship with precipitation in North China. Climatological trajectories indicate that moisture in North China originates, respectively, from Eurasia (14.4%), eastern China (10.2%), the Bay of Bengal-South China Sea (33.8%), the Indian Ocean (10.7%), and the Pacific (30.9%). The spatiotemporal analysis of moisture trajectory based on extended empirical orthogonal function indicates that a decrease of precipitation in North China is caused mainly by a decrease of water vapor sources from the south, the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal, and the South China Sea, which overwhelms an increase of water vapor sources from the North, mainly Eurasia, eastern China, and northern western North Pacific Ocean. In particular, the significant decrease of precipitation in the late 1970s (by 11.6%) is mainly caused by a 10.6% decrease of moisture from all sources. The Bay of Bengal, the South China Sea, and the Indian Ocean are dominant moisture source areas affecting the decadal-scale variation of precipitation in North China.
H. C. Steen-Larsen, C. Risi, M. Werner, K. Yoshimura, and V. Masson-Delmotte. Evaluating the skills of isotope-enabled general circulation models against in situ atmospheric water vapor isotope observations. Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres), 122:246-263, January 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
The skills of isotope-enabled general circulation models are evaluated against atmospheric water vapor isotopes. We have combined in situ observations of surface water vapor isotopes spanning multiple field seasons (2010, 2011, and 2012) from the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet (NEEM site: 77.45degN, 51.05degW, 2484 m above sea level) with observations from the marine boundary layer of the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean (Bermuda Islands 32.26degN, 64.88degW, year: 2012; south coast of Iceland 63.83degN, 21.47degW, year: 2012; South Greenland 61.21degN, 47.17degW, year: 2012; Svalbard 78.92degN, 11.92degE, year: 2014). This allows us to benchmark the ability to simulate the daily water vapor isotope variations from five different simulations using isotope-enabled general circulation models. Our model-data comparison documents clear isotope biases both on top of the Greenland Ice Sheet (1-11 for δ18O and 4-19 for d-excess depending on model and season) and in the marine boundary layer (maximum differences for the following: Bermuda δ18O = 1, d-excess = 3; South coast of Iceland δ18O = 2, d-excess = 5; South Greenland δ18O = 4, d-excess = 7; Svalbard δ18O = 2, d-excess = 7). We find that the simulated isotope biases are not just explained by simulated biases in temperature and humidity. Instead, we argue that these isotope biases are related to a poor simulation of the spatial structure of the marine boundary layer water vapor isotopic composition. Furthermore, we specifically show that the marine boundary layer water vapor isotopes of the Baffin Bay region show strong influence on the water vapor isotopes at the NEEM deep ice core-drilling site in northwest Greenland. Our evaluation of the simulations using isotope-enabled general circulation models also documents wide intermodel spatial variability in the Arctic. This stresses the importance of a coordinated water vapor isotope-monitoring network in order to discriminate amongst these model behaviors.
M. J. Webb, T. Andrews, A. Bodas-Salcedo, S. Bony, C. S. Bretherton, R. Chadwick, H. Chepfer, H. Douville, P. Good, J. E. Kay, S. A. Klein, R. Marchand, B. Medeiros, A. Pier Siebesma, C. B. Skinner, B. Stevens, G. Tselioudis, Y. Tsushima, and M. Watanabe. The Cloud Feedback Model Intercomparison Project (CFMIP) contribution to CMIP6. Geoscientific Model Development, 10:359-384, January 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
The primary objective of CFMIP is to inform future assessments of cloud feedbacks through improved understanding of cloud-climate feedback mechanisms and better evaluation of cloud processes and cloud feedbacks in climate models. However, the CFMIP approach is also increasingly being used to understand other aspects of climate change, and so a second objective has now been introduced, to improve understanding of circulation, regional-scale precipitation, and non-linear changes. CFMIP is supporting ongoing model inter-comparison activities by coordinating a hierarchy of targeted experiments for CMIP6, along with a set of cloud-related output diagnostics. CFMIP contributes primarily to addressing the CMIP6 questions qHow does the Earth system respond to forcing?/q and qWhat are the origins and consequences of systematic model biases?/q and supports the activities of the WCRP Grand Challenge on Clouds, Circulation and Climate Sensitivity.<BR /><BR />A compact set of Tier 1 experiments is proposed for CMIP6 to address this question: (1) what are the physical mechanisms underlying the range of cloud feedbacks and cloud adjustments predicted by climate models, and which models have the most credible cloud feedbacks? Additional Tier 2 experiments are proposed to address the following questions. (2) Are cloud feedbacks consistent for climate cooling and warming, and if not, why? (3) How do cloud-radiative effects impact the structure, the strength and the variability of the general atmospheric circulation in present and future climates? (4) How do responses in the climate system due to changes in solar forcing differ from changes due to CO2, and is the response sensitive to the sign of the forcing? (5) To what extent is regional climate change per CO2 doubling state-dependent (non-linear), and why? (6) Are climate feedbacks during the 20th century different to those acting on long-term climate change and climate sensitivity? (7) How do regional climate responses (e.g. in precipitation) and their uncertainties in coupled models arise from the combination of different aspects of CO2 forcing and sea surface warming?<BR /><BR />CFMIP also proposes a number of additional model outputs in the CMIP DECK, CMIP6 Historical and CMIP6 CFMIP experiments, including COSP simulator outputs and process diagnostics to address the following questions. ol class=“enumerate”li class=“item”div class=“para”p class=“p”How well do clouds and other relevant variables simulated by models agree with observations?/div/lili class=“item”div class=“para”p class=“p”What physical processes and mechanisms are important for a credible simulation of clouds, cloud feedbacks and cloud adjustments in climate models?/div/lili class=“item”div class=“para”p class=“p”Which models have the most credible representations of processes relevant to the simulation of clouds?/div/lili class=“item”div class=“para”p class=“p”How do clouds and their changes interact with other elements of the climate system?/div/li/ol
T. Gasser, P. Ciais, O. Boucher, Y. Quilcaille, M. Tortora, L. Bopp, and D. Hauglustaine. The compact Earth system model OSCAR v2.2: description and first results. Geoscientific Model Development, 10:271-319, January 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
This paper provides a comprehensive description of OSCAR v2.2, a simple Earth system model. The general philosophy of development is first explained, followed by a complete description of the model's drivers and various modules. All components of the Earth system necessary to simulate future climate change are represented in the model: the oceanic and terrestrial carbon cycles - including a book-keeping module to endogenously estimate land-use change emissions - so as to simulate the change in atmospheric carbon dioxide; the tropospheric chemistry and the natural wetlands, to simulate that of methane; the stratospheric chemistry, for nitrous oxide; 37 halogenated compounds; changing tropospheric and stratospheric ozone; the direct and indirect effects of aerosols; changes in surface albedo caused by black carbon deposition on snow and land-cover change; and the global and regional response of climate - in terms of temperature and precipitation - to all these climate forcers. Following the probabilistic framework of the model, an ensemble of simulations is made over the historical period (1750-2010). We show that the model performs well in reproducing observed past changes in the Earth system such as increased atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases or increased global mean surface temperature.
J. M. Lora, J. L. Mitchell, C. Risi, and A. E. Tripati. North Pacific atmospheric rivers and their influence on western North America at the Last Glacial Maximum. Geophysical Research Letters, 44:1051-1059, January 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Southwestern North America was wetter than present during the Last Glacial Maximum. The causes of increased water availability have been recently debated, and quantitative precipitation reconstructions have been underutilized in model-data comparisons. We investigate the climatological response of North Pacific atmospheric rivers to the glacial climate using model simulations and paleoclimate reconstructions. Atmospheric moisture transport due to these features shifted toward the southeast relative to modern. Enhanced southwesterly moisture delivery between Hawaii and California increased precipitation in the southwest while decreasing it in the Pacific Northwest, in agreement with reconstructions. Coupled climate models that are best able to reproduce reconstructed precipitation changes simulate decreases in sea level pressure across the eastern North Pacific and show the strongest southeastward shifts of moisture transport relative to a modern climate. Precipitation increases of 1 mm d-1, due largely to atmospheric rivers, are of the right magnitude to account for reconstructed pluvial conditions in parts of southwestern North America during the Last Glacial Maximum.
R. J. Stouffer, V. Eyring, G. A. Meehl, S. Bony, C. Senior, B. Stevens, and K. E. Taylor. CMIP5 Scientific Gaps and Recommendations for CMIP6. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 98:95-105, January 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
C. Genthon, L. Piard, E. Vignon, J.-B. Madeleine, M. Casado, and H. Gallée. Atmospheric moisture supersaturation in the near-surface atmosphere at Dome C, Antarctic Plateau. Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics, 17:691-704, January 2017. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]
Supersaturation often occurs at the top of the troposphere where cirrus clouds form, but is comparatively unusual near the surface where the air is generally warmer and laden with liquid and/or ice condensation nuclei. One exception is the surface of the high Antarctic Plateau. One year of atmospheric moisture measurement at the surface of Dome C on the East Antarctic Plateau is presented. The measurements are obtained using commercial hygrometry sensors modified to allow air sampling without affecting the moisture content, even in the case of supersaturation. Supersaturation is found to be very frequent. Common unadapted hygrometry sensors generally fail to report supersaturation, and most reports of atmospheric moisture on the Antarctic Plateau are thus likely biased low. The measurements are compared with results from two models implementing cold microphysics parameterizations: the European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecasts through its operational analyses, and the Model Atmosphérique Régional. As in the observations, supersaturation is frequent in the models but the statistical distribution differs both between models and observations and between the two models, leaving much room for model improvement. This is unlikely to strongly affect estimations of surface sublimation because supersaturation is more frequent as temperature is lower, and moisture quantities and thus water fluxes are small anyway. Ignoring supersaturation may be a more serious issue when considering water isotopes, a tracer of phase change and temperature, largely used to reconstruct past climates and environments from ice cores. Because observations are easier in the surface atmosphere, longer and more continuous in situ observation series of atmospheric supersaturation can be obtained than higher in the atmosphere to test parameterizations of cold microphysics, such as those used in the formation of high-altitude cirrus clouds in meteorological and climate models.