An examination of the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitude storm track interannual variability simulated by climate models-sensitivity to model resolution and coupling


The model fidelity in simulating the Northern Hemisphere storm track interannual variability and the connections of this variability to the low frequency atmospheric variations and oceanic variations are examined based on the atmospheric European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) model and coupled NCAR Community Climate System Model (CCSM) systems at different horizontal resolutions. The atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) runs are forced by observed sea surface temperatures (SST) with varying atmospheric resolutions, while the coupled general circulation model (CGCM) runs have a fixed atmospheric resolution but varying oceanic resolutions. The phases, between the North Pacific (NP) and North Atlantic (NA) sectors, of the simulated hemisphere-scale Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) modes of the storm track fluctuations change with the model resolution, suggesting the storm track variability in NP and NA basins are largely independent. The models can qualitatively reproduce the basin-scale EOFs of both NP and NA storm track variability. These EOFs are not sensitive to either atmospheric or oceanic model horizontal resolutions, but their magnitudes from the CGCM runs are substantially underestimated. The storm track variations over NP basin are hybrid of internal atmospheric variations and external forcing from the underlying conditions, but the fluctuations over the NA basin are merely atmospheric internal variability. The NP storm track variability from SST forcing accounts for 4.4% of the total variance in observations, while it only has less than 2% of the total in all AGCM simulations. The external forcing to the storm track variations is more realistically reproduced in the higher atmospheric resolution runs. The air-sea coupling makes the SST feedbacks to the atmospheric internal variability, absent in the atmospheric ECMWF model hindcasts, emerge in the coupled CCSM simulations.



northern hemisphere, coupling, model resolution



Attribution 4.0 International


Feng, X., Huang, B., Tintera, G. and Chen, B., 2019. An examination of the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitude storm track interannual variability simulated by climate models—sensitivity to model resolution and coupling. Climate dynamics, 52(7), pp.4247-4268.