A U.S. Clivar project to assess and compare the responses of global climate models to drought-related SST forcing patterns

Overview and results

Siegfried Schubert, David Gutzler, Hailan Wang, Aiguo Dai, Tom Delworth, Clara Deser, Kirsten Findell, Rong Fu, Wayne Higgins, Martin Hoerling, Benjamin Kirtman, Randal Koster, Arun Kumar, David Legler, Dennis Lettenmaier, Bradfield Lyon, Victor Magana, Kingtse Mo, Sumant Nigam, Philip Pegion & 13 others Adam Phillips, Roger Pulwarty, David Rind, Alfredo Ruiz-Barradas, Jae Schemm, Richard Seager, Ronald Stewart, Max Suarez, Jozef Syktus, Mingfang Ting, Chunzai Wang, Scott Weaver, Ning Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

179 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) working group on drought recently initiated a series of global climate model simulations forced with idealized SST anomaly patterns, designed to address a number of uncertainties regarding the impact of SST forcing and the role of land-atmosphere feedbacks on regional drought. The runs were carried out with five different atmospheric general circulation models (AGCMs) and one coupled atmosphere-ocean model in which the model was continuously nudged to the imposed SST forcing. This paper provides an overview of the experiments and some initial results focusing on the responses to the leading patterns of annual mean SST variability consisting of a Pacific El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-like pattern, a pattern that resembles the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO), and a global trend pattern. One of the key findings is that all of the AGCMs produce broadly similar (though different in detail) precipitation responses to the Pacific forcing pattern, with a cold Pacific leading to reduced precipitation and a warm Pacific leading to enhanced precipitation over most of the United States. While the response to the Atlantic pattern is less robust, there is general agreement among the models that the largest precipitation response over the United States tends to occur when the two oceans have anomalies of opposite signs. Further highlights of the response over the United States to the Pacific forcing include precipitation signal-to-noise ratios that peak in spring, and surface temperature signal-to-noise ratios that are both lower and show less agreement among the models than those found for the precipitation response. The response to the positive SST trend forcing pattern is an overall surface warming over the world's land areas, with substantial regional variations that are in part reproduced in runs forced with a globally uniform SST trend forcing. The precipitation response to the trend forcing is weak in all of the models. It is hoped that these early results, as well as those reported in the other contributions to this special issue on drought, will serve to stimulate further analysis of these simulations, as well as suggest new research on the physical mechanisms contributing to hydroclimatic variability and change throughout the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5251-5272
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume22
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

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global climate
climate modeling
sea surface temperature
drought
atmospheric general circulation model
signal-to-noise ratio
Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation
anomaly
atmosphere
Southern Oscillation
ocean
simulation
project
surface temperature
warming
trend
climate
experiment
land
world

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

Cite this

A U.S. Clivar project to assess and compare the responses of global climate models to drought-related SST forcing patterns : Overview and results. / Schubert, Siegfried; Gutzler, David; Wang, Hailan; Dai, Aiguo; Delworth, Tom; Deser, Clara; Findell, Kirsten; Fu, Rong; Higgins, Wayne; Hoerling, Martin; Kirtman, Benjamin; Koster, Randal; Kumar, Arun; Legler, David; Lettenmaier, Dennis; Lyon, Bradfield; Magana, Victor; Mo, Kingtse; Nigam, Sumant; Pegion, Philip; Phillips, Adam; Pulwarty, Roger; Rind, David; Ruiz-Barradas, Alfredo; Schemm, Jae; Seager, Richard; Stewart, Ronald; Suarez, Max; Syktus, Jozef; Ting, Mingfang; Wang, Chunzai; Weaver, Scott; Zeng, Ning.

In: Journal of Climate, Vol. 22, No. 19, 10.2009, p. 5251-5272.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Schubert, S, Gutzler, D, Wang, H, Dai, A, Delworth, T, Deser, C, Findell, K, Fu, R, Higgins, W, Hoerling, M, Kirtman, B, Koster, R, Kumar, A, Legler, D, Lettenmaier, D, Lyon, B, Magana, V, Mo, K, Nigam, S, Pegion, P, Phillips, A, Pulwarty, R, Rind, D, Ruiz-Barradas, A, Schemm, J, Seager, R, Stewart, R, Suarez, M, Syktus, J, Ting, M, Wang, C, Weaver, S & Zeng, N 2009, 'A U.S. Clivar project to assess and compare the responses of global climate models to drought-related SST forcing patterns: Overview and results', Journal of Climate, vol. 22, no. 19, pp. 5251-5272. https://doi.org/10.1175/2009JCLI3060.1
Schubert, Siegfried ; Gutzler, David ; Wang, Hailan ; Dai, Aiguo ; Delworth, Tom ; Deser, Clara ; Findell, Kirsten ; Fu, Rong ; Higgins, Wayne ; Hoerling, Martin ; Kirtman, Benjamin ; Koster, Randal ; Kumar, Arun ; Legler, David ; Lettenmaier, Dennis ; Lyon, Bradfield ; Magana, Victor ; Mo, Kingtse ; Nigam, Sumant ; Pegion, Philip ; Phillips, Adam ; Pulwarty, Roger ; Rind, David ; Ruiz-Barradas, Alfredo ; Schemm, Jae ; Seager, Richard ; Stewart, Ronald ; Suarez, Max ; Syktus, Jozef ; Ting, Mingfang ; Wang, Chunzai ; Weaver, Scott ; Zeng, Ning. / A U.S. Clivar project to assess and compare the responses of global climate models to drought-related SST forcing patterns : Overview and results. In: Journal of Climate. 2009 ; Vol. 22, No. 19. pp. 5251-5272.
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AU - Dai, Aiguo

AU - Delworth, Tom

AU - Deser, Clara

AU - Findell, Kirsten

AU - Fu, Rong

AU - Higgins, Wayne

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AU - Kirtman, Benjamin

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AU - Kumar, Arun

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AU - Pulwarty, Roger

AU - Rind, David

AU - Ruiz-Barradas, Alfredo

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AU - Stewart, Ronald

AU - Suarez, Max

AU - Syktus, Jozef

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