STOIC: A study of coupled model climatology and variability in tropical ocean regions

Davey, M. K. and Huddleston, M. and Sperber, K. R. and Braconnot, P. and Bryan, F. and Chen, D. and Colman, R. A. and Cooper, C. and Cubasch, U. and Delecluse, P. and DeWitt, D. and Fairhead, L. and Flato, G. and Gordon, C. and Hogan, T. and Ji, M. and Kimoto, M. and Kitoh, A. and Knutson, T. R. and Latif, M. and Le Treut, H. and Li, T. and Manabe, S. and Mechoso, C. R. and Meehl, G. A. and Power, S. B. and Roeckner, E. and Terray, L. and Vintzileos, A. and Voss, R. and Wang, B. and Washington, W. M. and Yoshikawa, I. and Yu, J.-Y. and Yukimoto, S. and Zebiak, S. E. (2002) STOIC: A study of coupled model climatology and variability in tropical ocean regions. Climate Dynamics, 18 (5). pp. 403-420. ISSN 0930-7575


We describe the behaviour of 23 dynamical ocean-atmosphere models, in the context of comparison with observations in a common framework. Fields of tropical sea surface temperature (SST), surface wind stress and upper ocean vertically averaged temperature (VAT) are assessed with regard to annual mean, seasonal cycle, and interannual variability characteristics. Of the participating models, 21 are coupled GCMs, of which 13 use no form of flux adjustment in the tropics. The models vary widely in design, components and purpose: nevertheless several common features are apparent. In most models without flux adjustment, the annual mean equatorial SST in the central Pacific is too cool and the Atlantic zonal SST gradient has the wrong sign. Annual mean wind stress is often too weak in the central Pacific and in the Atlantic, but too strong in the west Pacific. Few models have an upper ocean VAT seasonal cycle like that observed in the equatorial Pacific. Interannual variability is commonly too weak in the models: in particular, wind stress variability is low in the equatorial Pacific. Most models have difficulty in reproducing the observed Pacific 'horseshoe' pattern of negative SST correlations with internnual Nino3 SST anomalies, or the observed Indian-Pacific lag correlations. The results for the fields examined indicate that several substantial model improvements are needed, particularly with regard to surface wind stress.

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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 03:29
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 05:22
Uncontrolled Keywords: atmosphere-ocean coupling; climate modeling; general circulation model; sea surface temperature; tropical meteorology
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040105 Climatology (excl.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 > 960304 Climate Variability (excl. Social Impacts)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1905 Understanding climate change > 190502 Climate variability (excl. social impacts)
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