North Atlantic winter eddy-driven jet and atmospheric blocking variability in the Community Earth System Model version 1 Large Ensemble simulations
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The atmospheric jet and blocking distributions, especially in the North Atlantic sector, have been challenging features for a climate model to realistically reproduce. This study examines climatological distributions of winter (December–February) daily jet latitude and blocking in the North Atlantic from the 40-member Community Earth System Model version 1 Large Ensemble (CESM1LE) simulations. This analysis aims at examining whether a broad range of internal climate variability encompassed by a large ensemble of simulations results in an improved representation of the jet latitude distributions and blocking days in CESM1LE. In the historical runs (1951–2005), the daily zonal wind at 850 hPa exhibits three distinct preferred latitudes for the eddy-driven jet position as seen in the reanalysis datasets, which represents a significant improvement from the previous version of the same model. However, the meridional separations between the three jet latitudes are much smaller than those in the reanalyses. In particular, the jet rarely migrates to the observed southernmost position around 37°N. This leads to the bias in blocking frequency that is too low over Greenland and too high over the Azores. These features are shown to be remarkably stable across the 40 ensemble members with negligible member-to-member spread. This result implies the range of internal variability of winter jet latitude and blocking frequency within the 55-year segment from each ensemble member is comparable to that represented by the full large ensemble. Comparison with 2046–2100 from the RCP8.5 future projection runs suggests that the daily jet position is projected to maintain the same three preferred latitudes, with a slightly higher frequency of occurrence over the central latitude around 50°N, instead of shifting poleward in the future as documented in some previous studies. In addition, the daily jet speed is projected not to change significantly between 1951–2005 and 2046–2100. On the other hand, the climatological mean jet is projected to become slightly more elongated and stronger on its southern flank, and the blocking frequency over the Azores is projected to decrease.
© The Author(s), 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Climate Dynamics 51 (2018): 3275–3289, doi:10.1007/s00382-018-4078-6.
Suggested CitationClimate Dynamics 51 (2018): 3275–3289
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