Kim D., K. R. Sperber, W. Stern, D. E. Waliser, I.S. Kang, E. Maloney, W. Wang, K. M. Weickmann, J. Benedict, M. Khairoutdinov, M.-I. Lee, R. Neale, M. Suarez, K. Thayer-Calder and G. Zhang (December 2009): Application of MJO Simulation Diagnostics to Climate Models. J. Climate, 22 (23), 6413-6436. doi:10.1175/2009JCLI3063.1

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Abstract

The ability of eight climate models to simulate the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) is examined using diagnostics developed by the U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) MJO Working Group. Although the MJO signal has been extracted throughout the annual cycle, this study focuses on the boreal winter (November–April) behavior. Initially, maps of the mean state and variance and equatorial space–time spectra of 850-hPa zonal wind and precipitation are compared with observations. Models best represent the intraseasonal space–time spectral peak in the zonal wind compared to that of precipitation. Using the phase–space representation of the multivariate principal components (PCs), the life cycle properties of the simulated MJOs are extracted, including the ability to represent how the MJO evolves from a given subphase and the associated decay time scales. On average, the MJO decay (e-folding) time scale for all models is shorter (20–29 days) than observations (31 days). All models are able to produce a leading pair of multivariate principal components that represents eastward propagation of intraseasonal wind and precipitation anomalies, although the fraction of the variance is smaller than observed for all models. In some cases, the dominant time scale of these PCs is outside of the 30–80-day band. Several key variables associated with the model’s MJO are investigated, including the surface latent heat flux, boundary layer (925 hPa) moisture convergence, and the vertical structure of moisture. Low-level moisture convergence ahead (east) of convection is associated with eastward propagation in most of the models. A few models are also able to simulate the gradual moistening of the lower troposphere that precedes observed MJO convection, as well as the observed geographical difference in the vertical structure of moisture associated with the MJO. The dependence of rainfall on lower tropospheric relative humidity and the fraction of rainfall that is stratiform are also discussed, including implications these diagnostics have for MJO simulation. Based on having the most realistic intraseasonal multivariate empirical orthogonal functions, principal component power spectra, equatorial eastward propagating outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), latent heat flux, low-level moisture convergence signals, and vertical structure of moisture over the Eastern Hemisphere, the superparameterized Community Atmosphere Model (SPCAM) and the ECHAM4/Ocean Isopycnal Model (OPYC) show the best skill at representing the MJO.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: PSD Publications
Divisions: Physical Sciences Division
DOI: 10.1175/2009JCLI3063.1
URI: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/pubs/id/eprint/375