EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Scale-dependent analysis of climate model biases in relation to dynamics

Katarina Kosovelj1 and Nedjeljka Žagar2
Katarina Kosovelj and Nedjeljka Žagar
  • 1University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 2University of Hamburg, Germany

The assessment of climate model biases in an important part of their validation, in particular with respect to the application of the outputs of global models as lateral boundaries in regional climate models. The coupled nature of thermodynamics and circulation asks for their simultaneous treatment in the model bias analysis. This can be achieved by applying the normal-mode decomposition of model outputs and reanalysis that provides biases associated with the two dominant atmospheric regimes, the Rossby (or balanced) and inertia-gravity (or unbalanced) regime. The regime decomposition provides the spectrum of bias in terms of zonal wavenumbers, meridional modes and vertical modes. This can be especially useful in the tropics, where the Rossby and IG regimes are difficult to separate and biases in simulated circulation, just like the circulation itself, have global impacts. 

The method is applied to the intermediate complexity climate model SPEEDY. Fifty-year long simulations  are performed in AMIP-mode with the prescribed SST. Biases are computed with respect to ERA-20C  upscaled to the resolution of SPEEDY (T30L8). We evaluate biases both in modal and physical space and study regional biases associated with the  balanced and unbalanced components of circulation. This work thus expands the results presented by Žagar et al. (2019, Clim. Dyn.) to the two regimes-related bias analysis..

The results show that the bias is strongly scale dependent, just like the simulated variability. The largest biases in SPEEDY are at planetary scales (waveumbers 0-3). Biases associated with the extratropical Rossby modes explain more than the half of bias variance. The Rossby n=1 mode is a single mode with the largest bias variance in balanced circulation whereas the Kelvin wave contains the largest bias among the IG modes. These biases are shown to originate mostly in the stratosphere and the upper-troposphere westerlies in the Southern hemisphere. 

How to cite: Kosovelj, K. and Žagar, N.: Scale-dependent analysis of climate model biases in relation to dynamics, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-6697,, 2020