Evaluation of the South Pacific Convergence Zone in IPCC AR4 Climate Model Simulations of the Twentieth Century

Brown, Josephine R. and Power, Scott B. and Delage, Francois P. and Colman, Robert A. and Moise, Aurel F. and Murphy, Bradley F. (2011) Evaluation of the South Pacific Convergence Zone in IPCC AR4 Climate Model Simulations of the Twentieth Century. Journal of Climate, 24 (6). pp. 1565-1582. ISSN 0894-8755


Understanding how the South Pacific convergence zone (SPCZ) may change in the future requires the use of global coupled atmosphere-ocean models. It is therefore important to evaluate the ability of such models to realistically simulate the SPCZ. The simulation of the SPCZ in 24 coupled model simulations of the twentieth century is examined. The models and simulations are those used for the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The seasonal climatology and interannual variability of the SPCZ is evaluated using observed and model precipitation. Twenty models simulate a distinct SPCZ, while four models merge intertropical convergence zone and SPCZ precipitation. The majority of models simulate an SPCZ with an overly zonal orientation, rather than extending in a diagonal band into the southeast Pacific as observed. Two-thirds of models capture the observed meridional displacement of the SPCZ during El Niño and La Niña events. The four models that use ocean heat flux adjustments simulate a better tropical SPCZ pattern because of a better representation of the Pacific sea surface temperature pattern and absence of cold sea surface temperature biases on the equator. However, the flux-adjusted models do not show greater skill in simulating the interannual variability of the SPCZ. While a small subset of models does not adequately reproduce the climatology or variability of the SPCZ, the majority of models are able to capture the main features of SPCZ climatology and variability, and they can therefore be used with some confidence for future climate projections. © 2011 American Meteorological Society.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2022 23:03
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2022 23:03
Uncontrolled Keywords: Applied Mathematics; Codes and Standards; Organic Compounds; Computer Applications; Materials Science; Heat Transfer; Water Resources; Atmospheric Properties; Meteorology; Oceanography, General; Weather and climate forecasting; Regional and general; Climate prediction; Coupled models; Inter-decadal variability; Intertropical convergence zone; Intraseasonal variability; Pacific ocean; Climate prediction; Coupled models; Interdecadal variability; Intertropical convergence zone; Intraseasonal variability; South Pacific Ocean;
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040104 Climate Change Processes
Fields of Research (2020): 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370202 Climatology
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960303 Climate Change Models
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1905 Understanding climate change > 190501 Climate change models
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1175/2010JCLI3942.1
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/42444

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