A coupled ocean-atmosphere GCM is being developed for use in seasonal forecasting. As part of the development work, a number of experiments have been made to explore some of the sensitivities of the coupled model system. The overall heat balance of the tropics is found to be very sensitive to convective cloud cover. Adjusting the cloud parameterization to produce stable behaviour of the coupled model also leads to better agreement between model radiative fluxes and satellite data. A further sensitivity is seen to changes in low-level marine stratus, which is under-represented in the initial model experiments. An increase in this cloud in the coupled model produces a small improvement in both the global mean state and the phase of the east Pacific annual cycle. The computational expense of investigating such small changes is emphasized. An indication of model sensitivity to surface albedo is also presented. The sensitivity of the coupled GCM to initial conditions is investigated. The model is very sensitive, with tiny perturbations able to determine El Niño or non-El Niño conditions just six months later. This large sensitivity may be related to the relatively weak amplitude of the model ENSO cycle.
T Stockdale, M Latif, G Burgers, JO Wolfff. Some sensitivities of a coupled ocean-atmosphere GCM
published, Tellus, 1994, 46A