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Performance of the New NCAR CAM3.5 in East Asian Summer Monsoon Simulations: Sensitivity to Modifications of the Convection Scheme

Authors  CHEN Haoming, ZHOU Tianjun, Richard B. Neale, WU Xiaoqing, ZHANG Guangjun
Journal   Journal of Climate
Page number   23, 3657-3675

The performance of an interim version of the NCAR Community Atmospheric Model (CAM3.5) in simulating the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) is assessed by comparing model results against observations and reanalyses. Both the climate mean states and seasonal cycle of major EASM components are evaluated. Special attention is paid to the sensitivity of model performance to changes in the convection scheme. This is done by analyzing four CAM3.5 runs with identical dynamical core and physical packages but different modifications to their convection scheme, that is, the original Zhang–McFarlane (ZM) scheme, Neale et al.’s modification (NZM), Wu et al.’s modification (WZM), and Zhang’s modification (ZZM). The results show that CAM3.5 can capture the major climate mean states and seasonal features of the EASM circulation system, including reasonable simulations of the Tibetan high in the upper troposphere and the western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH) in the middle and lower troposphere. The main deficiencies are found in monsoon rainfall and the meridional monsoon cell. The weak meridional land–sea thermal contrasts in the model contribute to the weaker monsoon circulation and to insufficient rainfall in both tropical and subtropical regions of EASM. The seasonal migration of rainfall, as well as the northward jump of the WPSH from late spring to summer, is reasonably simulated, except that the northward jump of the monsoon rain belt still needs improvement. Three runs using modified schemes generally improve the model performance in EASM simulation compared to the control run. The monsoon rainfall distribution and its seasonal variation are sensitive to modifications of the ZM convection scheme, which is most likely due to differences in closure assumptions. NZM, which uses a convective available potential energy (CAPE)-based closure assumption, performs better in tropical regions where the rainfall is closely related to CAPE. However, WZM and ZZM, which use quasi-equilibrium (QE) closure, have more realistic subtropical rainfall in the mei-yu/baiu/changma front region, mainly because the rainfall in the subtropics is more sensitive to the rate of destabilization by the large-scale flow.

 

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