Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

You are here: Home / Publications / Peer-reviewed papers / lmd_Bony2013_abstracts.html


2013 .

(11 publications)

I. Tobin, S. Bony, C. E. Holloway, J.-Y. Grandpeix, G. Sèze, D. Coppin, S. J. Woolnough, and R. Roca. Does convective aggregation need to be represented in cumulus parameterizations? Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 5:692-703, December 2013. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

Tropical deep convection exhibits a variety of levels of aggregation over a wide range of scales. Based on a multisatellite analysis, the present study shows at mesoscale that different levels of aggregation are statistically associated with differing large-scale atmospheric states, despite similar convective intensity and large-scale forcings. The more aggregated the convection, the dryer and less cloudy the atmosphere, the stronger the outgoing longwave radiation, and the lower the planetary albedo. This suggests that mesoscale convective aggregation has the potential to affect couplings between moisture and convection and between convection, radiation, and large-scale ascent. In so doing, aggregation may play a role in phenomena such as ”hot spots” or the Madden-Julian Oscillation. These findings support the need for the representation of mesoscale organization in cumulus parameterizations; most parameterizations used in current climate models lack any such representation. The ability of a cloud system-resolving model to reproduce observed relationships suggests that such models may be useful to guide attempts at parameterizations of convective aggregation.

M. Zhang, C. S. Bretherton, P. N. Blossey, P. H. Austin, J. T. Bacmeister, S. Bony, F. Brient, S. K. Cheedela, A. Cheng, A. D. Genio, S. R. Roode, S. Endo, C. N. Franklin, J.-C. Golaz, C. Hannay, T. Heus, F. A. Isotta, J.-L. Dufresne, I.-S. Kang, H. Kawai, M. Köhler, V. E. Larson, Y. Liu, A. P. Lock, U. Lohmann, M. F. Khairoutdinov, A. M. Molod, R. A. J. Neggers, P. Rasch, I. Sandu, R. Senkbeil, A. P. Siebesma, C. Siegenthaler-Le Drian, B. Stevens, M. J. Suarez, K.-M. Xu, K. Salzen, M. J. Webb, A. Wolf, and M. Zhao. CGILS: Results from the first phase of an international project to understand the physical mechanisms of low cloud feedbacks in single column models. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 5:826-842, December 2013. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

CGILSthe CFMIP-GASS Intercomparison of Large Eddy Models (LESs) and single column models (SCMs)investigates the mechanisms of cloud feedback in SCMs and LESs under idealized climate change perturbation. This paper describes the CGILS results from 15 SCMs and 8 LES models. Three cloud regimes over the subtropical oceans are studied: shallow cumulus, cumulus under stratocumulus, and well-mixed coastal stratus/stratocumulus. In the stratocumulus and coastal stratus regimes, SCMs without activated shallow convection generally simulated negative cloud feedbacks, while models with active shallow convection generally simulated positive cloud feedbacks. In the shallow cumulus alone regime, this relationship is less clear, likely due to the changes in cloud depth, lateral mixing, and precipitation or a combination of them. The majority of LES models simulated negative cloud feedback in the well-mixed coastal stratus/stratocumulus regime, and positive feedback in the shallow cumulus and stratocumulus regime. A general framework is provided to interpret SCM results: in a warmer climate, the moistening rate of the cloudy layer associated with the surface-based turbulence parameterization is enhanced; together with weaker large-scale subsidence, it causes negative cloud feedback. In contrast, in the warmer climate, the drying rate associated with the shallow convection scheme is enhanced. This causes positive cloud feedback. These mechanisms are summarized as the ”NESTS” negative cloud feedback and the ”SCOPE” positive cloud feedback (Negative feedback from Surface Turbulence under weaker SubsidenceShallow Convection PositivE feedback) with the net cloud feedback depending on how the two opposing effects counteract each other. The LES results are consistent with these interpretations.

J. Vial, J.-L. Dufresne, and S. Bony. On the interpretation of inter-model spread in CMIP5 climate sensitivity estimates. Climate Dynamics, 41:3339-3362, December 2013. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

This study diagnoses the climate sensitivity, radiative forcing and climate feedback estimates from eleven general circulation models participating in the Fifth Phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), and analyzes inter-model differences. This is done by taking into account the fact that the climate response to increased carbon dioxide (CO2) is not necessarily only mediated by surface temperature changes, but can also result from fast land warming and tropospheric adjustments to the CO2 radiative forcing. By considering tropospheric adjustments to CO2 as part of the forcing rather than as feedbacks, and by using the radiative kernels approach, we decompose climate sensitivity estimates in terms of feedbacks and adjustments associated with water vapor, temperature lapse rate, surface albedo and clouds. Cloud adjustment to CO2 is, with one exception, generally positive, and is associated with a reduced strength of the cloud feedback; the multi-model mean cloud feedback is about 33 % weaker. Non-cloud adjustments associated with temperature, water vapor and albedo seem, however, to be better understood as responses to land surface warming. Separating out the tropospheric adjustments does not significantly affect the spread in climate sensitivity estimates, which primarily results from differing climate feedbacks. About 70 % of the spread stems from the cloud feedback, which remains the major source of inter-model spread in climate sensitivity, with a large contribution from the tropics. Differences in tropical cloud feedbacks between low-sensitivity and high-sensitivity models occur over a large range of dynamical regimes, but primarily arise from the regimes associated with a predominance of shallow cumulus and stratocumulus clouds. The combined water vapor plus lapse rate feedback also contributes to the spread of climate sensitivity estimates, with inter-model differences arising primarily from the relative humidity responses throughout the troposphere. Finally, this study points to a substantial role of nonlinearities in the calculation of adjustments and feedbacks for the interpretation of inter-model spread in climate sensitivity estimates. We show that in climate model simulations with large forcing (e.g., 4 × CO2), nonlinearities cannot be assumed minor nor neglected. Having said that, most results presented here are consistent with a number of previous feedback studies, despite the very different nature of the methodologies and all the uncertainties associated with them.

S. Bony, G. Bellon, D. Klocke, S. Sherwood, S. Fermepin, and S. Denvil. Robust direct effect of carbon dioxide on tropical circulation and regional precipitation. Nature Geoscience, 6:447-451, June 2013. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

Predicting the response of tropical rainfall to climate change remains a challenge. Rising concentrations of carbon dioxide are expected to affect the hydrological cycle through increases in global mean temperature and the water vapour content of the atmosphere. However, regional precipitation changes also closely depend on the atmospheric circulation, which is expected to weaken in a warmer world. Here, we assess the effect of a rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations on tropical circulation and precipitation by analysing results from a suite of simulations from multiple state-of-the-art climate models, and an operational numerical weather prediction model. In a scenario in which humans continue to use fossil fuels unabated, about half the tropical circulation change projected by the end of the twenty-first century, and consequently a large fraction of the regional precipitation change, is independent of global surface warming. Instead, these robust circulation and precipitation changes are a consequence of the weaker net radiative cooling of the atmosphere associated with higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, which affects the strength of atmospheric vertical motions. This implies that geo-engineering schemes aimed at reducing global warming without removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere would fail to fully mitigate precipitation changes in the tropics. Strategies that may help constrain rainfall projections are suggested.

J.-L. Dufresne, M.-A. Foujols, S. Denvil, A. Caubel, O. Marti, O. Aumont, Y. Balkanski, S. Bekki, H. Bellenger, R. Benshila, S. Bony, L. Bopp, P. Braconnot, P. Brockmann, P. Cadule, F. Cheruy, F. Codron, A. Cozic, D. Cugnet, N. de Noblet, J.-P. Duvel, C. Ethé, L. Fairhead, T. Fichefet, S. Flavoni, P. Friedlingstein, J.-Y. Grandpeix, L. Guez, E. Guilyardi, D. Hauglustaine, F. Hourdin, A. Idelkadi, J. Ghattas, S. Joussaume, M. Kageyama, G. Krinner, S. Labetoulle, A. Lahellec, M.-P. Lefebvre, F. Lefevre, C. Levy, Z. X. Li, J. Lloyd, F. Lott, G. Madec, M. Mancip, M. Marchand, S. Masson, Y. Meurdesoif, J. Mignot, I. Musat, S. Parouty, J. Polcher, C. Rio, M. Schulz, D. Swingedouw, S. Szopa, C. Talandier, P. Terray, N. Viovy, and N. Vuichard. Climate change projections using the IPSL-CM5 Earth System Model: from CMIP3 to CMIP5. Climate Dynamics, 40:2123-2165, May 2013. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

We present the global general circulation model IPSL-CM5 developed to study the long-term response of the climate system to natural and anthropogenic forcings as part of the 5th Phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). This model includes an interactive carbon cycle, a representation of tropospheric and stratospheric chemistry, and a comprehensive representation of aerosols. As it represents the principal dynamical, physical, and bio-geochemical processes relevant to the climate system, it may be referred to as an Earth System Model. However, the IPSL-CM5 model may be used in a multitude of configurations associated with different boundary conditions and with a range of complexities in terms of processes and interactions. This paper presents an overview of the different model components and explains how they were coupled and used to simulate historical climate changes over the past 150 years and different scenarios of future climate change. A single version of the IPSL-CM5 model (IPSL-CM5A-LR) was used to provide climate projections associated with different socio-economic scenarios, including the different Representative Concentration Pathways considered by CMIP5 and several scenarios from the Special Report on Emission Scenarios considered by CMIP3. Results suggest that the magnitude of global warming projections primarily depends on the socio-economic scenario considered, that there is potential for an aggressive mitigation policy to limit global warming to about two degrees, and that the behavior of some components of the climate system such as the Arctic sea ice and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation may change drastically by the end of the twenty-first century in the case of a no climate policy scenario. Although the magnitude of regional temperature and precipitation changes depends fairly linearly on the magnitude of the projected global warming (and thus on the scenario considered), the geographical pattern of these changes is strikingly similar for the different scenarios. The representation of atmospheric physical processes in the model is shown to strongly influence the simulated climate variability and both the magnitude and pattern of the projected climate changes.

F. Hourdin, J.-Y. Grandpeix, C. Rio, S. Bony, A. Jam, F. Cheruy, N. Rochetin, L. Fairhead, A. Idelkadi, I. Musat, J.-L. Dufresne, A. Lahellec, M.-P. Lefebvre, and R. Roehrig. LMDZ5B: the atmospheric component of the IPSL climate model with revisited parameterizations for clouds and convection. Climate Dynamics, 40:2193-2222, May 2013. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

Based on a decade of research on cloud processes, a new version of the LMDZ atmospheric general circulation model has been developed that corresponds to a complete recasting of the parameterization of turbulence, convection and clouds. This LMDZ5B version includes a mass-flux representation of the thermal plumes or rolls of the convective boundary layer, coupled to a bi-Gaussian statistical cloud scheme, as well as a parameterization of the cold pools generated below cumulonimbus by re-evaporation of convective precipitation. The triggering and closure of deep convection are now controlled by lifting processes in the sub-cloud layer. An available lifting energy and lifting power are provided both by the thermal plumes and by the spread of cold pools. The individual parameterizations were carefully validated against the results of explicit high resolution simulations. Here we present the work done to go from those new concepts and developments to a full 3D atmospheric model, used in particular for climate change projections with the IPSL-CM5B coupled model. Based on a series of sensitivity experiments, we document the differences with the previous LMDZ5A version distinguishing the role of parameterization changes from that of model tuning. Improvements found previously in single-column simulations of case studies are confirmed in the 3D model: (1) the convective boundary layer and cumulus clouds are better represented and (2) the diurnal cycle of convective rainfall over continents is delayed by several hours, solving a longstanding problem in climate modeling. The variability of tropical rainfall is also larger in LMDZ5B at intraseasonal time-scales. Significant biases of the LMDZ5A model however remain, or are even sometimes amplified. The paper emphasizes the importance of parameterization improvements and model tuning in the frame of climate change studies as well as the new paradigm that represents the improvement of 3D climate models under the control of single-column case studies simulations.

F. Hourdin, M.-A. Foujols, F. Codron, V. Guemas, J.-L. Dufresne, S. Bony, S. Denvil, L. Guez, F. Lott, J. Ghattas, P. Braconnot, O. Marti, Y. Meurdesoif, and L. Bopp. Impact of the LMDZ atmospheric grid configuration on the climate and sensitivity of the IPSL-CM5A coupled model. Climate Dynamics, 40:2167-2192, May 2013. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

The IPSL-CM5A climate model was used to perform a large number of control, historical and climate change simulations in the frame of CMIP5. The refined horizontal and vertical grid of the atmospheric component, LMDZ, constitutes a major difference compared to the previous IPSL-CM4 version used for CMIP3. From imposed-SST (Sea Surface Temperature) and coupled numerical experiments, we systematically analyze the impact of the horizontal and vertical grid resolution on the simulated climate. The refinement of the horizontal grid results in a systematic reduction of major biases in the mean tropospheric structures and SST. The mid-latitude jets, located too close to the equator with the coarsest grids, move poleward. This robust feature, is accompanied by a drying at mid-latitudes and a reduction of cold biases in mid-latitudes relative to the equator. The model was also extended to the stratosphere by increasing the number of layers on the vertical from 19 to 39 (15 in the stratosphere) and adding relevant parameterizations. The 39-layer version captures the dominant modes of the stratospheric variability and exhibits stratospheric sudden warmings. Changing either the vertical or horizontal resolution modifies the global energy balance in imposed-SST simulations by typically several W/m2 which translates in the coupled atmosphere-ocean simulations into a different global-mean SST. The sensitivity is of about 1.2 K per 1 W/m2 when varying the horizontal grid. A re-tuning of model parameters was thus required to restore this energy balance in the imposed-SST simulations and reduce the biases in the simulated mean surface temperature and, to some extent, latitudinal SST variations in the coupled experiments for the modern climate. The tuning hardly compensates, however, for robust biases of the coupled model. Despite the wide range of grid configurations explored and their significant impact on the present-day climate, the climate sensitivity remains essentially unchanged.

B. Stevens and S. Bony. What Are Climate Models Missing? Science, 340:1053-1054, May 2013. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

F. Brient and S. Bony. Interpretation of the positive low-cloud feedback predicted by a climate model under global warming. Climate Dynamics, 40:2415-2431, May 2013. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

The response of low-level clouds to climate change has been identified as a major contributor to the uncertainty in climate sensitivity estimates among climate models. By analyzing the behaviour of low-level clouds in a hierarchy of models (coupled ocean-atmosphere model, atmospheric general circulation model, aqua-planet model, single-column model) using the same physical parameterizations, this study proposes an interpretation of the strong positive low-cloud feedback predicted by the IPSL-CM5A climate model under climate change. In a warmer climate, the model predicts an enhanced clear-sky radiative cooling, stronger surface turbulent fluxes, a deepening and a drying of the planetary boundary layer, and a decrease of tropical low-clouds in regimes of weak subsidence. We show that the decrease of low-level clouds critically depends on the change in the vertical advection of moist static energy from the free troposphere to the boundary-layer. This change is dominated by variations in the vertical gradient of moist static energy between the surface and the free troposphere just above the boundary-layer. In a warmer climate, the thermodynamical relationship of Clausius-Clapeyron increases this vertical gradient, and then the import by large-scale subsidence of low moist static energy and dry air into the boundary layer. This results in a decrease of the low-level cloudiness and in a weakening of the radiative cooling of the boundary layer by low-level clouds. The energetic framework proposed in this study might help to interpret inter-model differences in low-cloud feedbacks under climate change.

J. Mignot and S. Bony. Presentation and analysis of the IPSL and CNRM climate models used in CMIP5. Climate Dynamics, 40:2089-2089, May 2013. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

B. Stevens and S. Bony. Water in the atmosphere. Physics Today, 66(6):29, 2013. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

Contact information

EMC3 group

Case 99
Tour 45-55, 3ème étage
4 Place Jussieu
75252 Paris Cedex 05
Tel: 33 + 1 44 27 27 99
      33 + 6 16 27 34 18 (Dr F. Cheruy)
Tel: 33 + 1 44 27 35 25 (Secretary)
Fax: 33 + 1 44 27 62 72
email: emc3 at

Map of our location

EUREC4A campaign


Click the above logo for
the operationnal center.
Today's LMDZ meteogram