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Stevens B., M. A. Giorgetta, M. Esch, . . ., R. Pincus, et al. (June 2013): Atmospheric component of the MPI-M Earth System Model: ECHAM6. J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst., 5 (2), 146-172. doi:10.1002/jame.20015

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ECHAM6, the sixth generation of the atmospheric general circulation model ECHAM, is described. Major changes with respect to its predecessor affect the representation of shortwave radiative transfer, the height of the model top. Minor changes have been made to model tuning and convective triggering. Several model configurations, differing in horizontal and vertical resolution, are compared. As horizontal resolution is increased beyond T63, the simulated climate improves but changes are incremental; major biases appear to be limited by the parameterization of small-scale physical processes, such as clouds and convection. Higher vertical resolution in the middle atmosphere leads to a systematic reduction in temperature biases in the upper troposphere, and a better representation of the middle atmosphere and its modes of variability. ECHAM6 represents the present climate as well as, or better than, its predecessor. The most marked improvements are evident in the circulation of the extratropics. ECHAM6 continues to have a good representation of tropical variability. A number of biases, however, remain. These include a poor representation of low-level clouds, systematic shifts in major precipitation features, biases in the partitioning of precipitation between land and sea (particularly in the tropics), and midlatitude jets that appear to be insufficiently poleward. The response of ECHAM6 to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases is similar to that of ECHAM5. The equilibrium climate sensitivity of the mixed-resolution (T63L95) configuration is between 2.9 and 3.4 K and is somewhat larger for the 47 level model. Cloud feedbacks and adjustments contribute positively to warming from increasing greenhouse gases.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: PSD Publications
Divisions: Physical Sciences Division
DOI: 10.1002/jame.20015