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2001 .

(2 publications)

F. Codron, A. Vintzileos, and R. Sadourny. Influence of Mean State Changes on the Structure of ENSO in a Tropical Coupled GCM. Journal of Climate, 14:730-742, March 2001. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

This study examines the response of the climate simulated by the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace tropical Pacific coupled general circulation model to two changes in parameterization: an improved coupling scheme at the coast, and the introduction of a saturation mixing ratio limiter in the water vapor advection scheme, which improves the rainfall distribution over and around orography. The main effect of these modifications is the suppression of spurious upwelling off the South American coast in Northern Hemisphere summer. Coupled feedbacks then extend this warming over the whole basin in an El Niño-like structure, with a maximum at the equator and in the eastern part of the basin. The mean precipitation pattern widens and moves equatorward as the trade winds weaken.This warmer mean state leads to a doubling of the standard deviation of interannual SST anomalies, and to a longer ENSO period. The structure of the ENSO cycle also shifts from westward propagation in the original simulation to a standing oscillation. The simulation of El Niño thus improves when compared to recent observed events. The study of ENSO spatial structure and lagged correlations shows that these changes of El Niño characteristics are caused by both the increase of amplitude and the modification of the spatial structure of the wind stress response to SST anomalies.These results show that both the mean state and variability of the tropical ocean can be very sensitive to biases or forcings, even geographically localized. They may also give some insight into the mechanisms responsible for the changes in ENSO characteristics due to decadal variability or climate change.

F. Codron. Sensitivity of the tropical Pacific to a change of orbital forcing in two versions of a coupled GCM. Climate Dynamics, 17:187-203, 2001. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

The changes of the variability of the tropical Pacific ocean forced by a shift of six months in the date of the perihelion are studied using a coupled tropical Pacific ocean/global atmosphere GCM. The sensitivity experiments are conducted with two versions of the atmospheric model, varied by two parametrization changes. The first one concerns the interpolation scheme between the atmosphere and ocean models grids near the coasts, the second one the advection of water vapor in the presence of downstream negative temperature gradients, as encountered in the vicinity of mountains. In the tropical Pacific region, the parametrization differences only have a significant direct effect near the coasts; but coupled feedbacks lead to a 1degC warming of the equatorial cold tongue in the modified (version 2) model, and a widening of the western Pacific large-scale convergence area. The sensitivity of the seasonal cycle of equatorial SST is very different between the two experiments. In both cases, the response to the solar flux forcing is strongly modified by coupled interactions between the SST, wind stress response and ocean dynamics. In the first version, the main feedback is due to anomalous upwelling and leads to westward propagation of SST anomalies; whereas the version 2 model is dominated by an eastward-propagating thermocline mode. The main reason diagnosed for these different behaviors is the atmospheric response to SST anomalies. In the warmer climate simulated by the second version, the wind stress response in the western Pacific is enhanced, and the off-equatorial curl is reduced, both effects favoring eastward propagation through thermocline depth anomalies. The modifications of the simulated seasonal cycle in version 2 lead to a change in ENSO behavior. In the control climate, the interannual variability in the eastern Pacific is dominated by warm events, whereas cold events tend to be the more extreme ones with a shifted perihelion.

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