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Free and laterally-nudged Antarctic climate of an Atmospheric general Circulation Model

Abstract : Because many of the synoptic cyclones south of the 60°S parallel originate from 60°S and lower latitudes, nudging an atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) with meteorological analyses at the periphery of the Antarctic region may be expected to exert a strong control on the atmospheric circulation inside the region. Here, the ECMWF reanalyses are used to nudge the atmospheric circulation of the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique Zoom (LMDZ) stretched-grid AGCM in a 15-yr simulation spanning the 1979–93 period. The horizontal resolution (grid spacing) in the model reaches ∼100 km south of 60°S. Nudging is exerted along the 60°S parallel, and this is called lateral nudging for the Antarctic region. Nudging is also performed farther north, near 50° and 40°S, but this is not essential for the results discussed here. Surface pressure and winds in the atmospheric column are nudged without relaxation to maximize control by the meteorological analyses, at the expense of some “noise” confined to the latitudes where nudging is exerted. The performances of lateral nudging are evaluated with respect to station observations, the free (unnudged) model, the ECMWF reanalyses, and in limited instances with respect to nudging the surface pressure only. It is shown that the free model has limited but persistent surface pressure and geopotential defects in the Antarctic region, which are efficiently corrected by lateral nudging. Also, the laterally nudged simulations confirm, and to some extent correct, a geopotential deficiency of the ECMWF reanalyses over the east Antarctic continent previously identified by others. The monthly mean variability of surface climate at several stations along a coast-to-pole transect is analyzed. A significant fraction of the observed variability of surface pressure and temperature is reproduced. The fraction is often less than in the reanalyses. However, the differences are not large considering that the nudged model is forced at distances of hundreds to thousands of kilometers whereas the reanalyses are forced at much shorter distances, in principle right at each station site by the very station data. The variability of surface wind is significantly less well reproduced than that of pressure and temperature in both the nudged model and the reanalyses. Carefully adjusted polar physics in the LMDZ model seems to compensate for a distant observational constraint in the cases when the nudged model results appear similar or even superior to the reanalyses. Lateral nudging is less computationally intensive than global nudging, and it induces realistic variability and chronology while leaving full expression of the model physics in the region of interest. Laterally nudging an AGCM with meteorological analyses can offer complementary value over the analyses themselves, not only by producing additional atmospheric information not available from the analyses, but also by correcting possible regional defects in the analyses.
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Christophe Genthon, Gerhard Krinner, Emmanuel Cosme. Free and laterally-nudged Antarctic climate of an Atmospheric general Circulation Model. Monthly Weather Review, American Meteorological Society, 2002, pp.1601-1616. ⟨10.1175/1520-0493(2002)130<1601:FALNAC>2.0.CO;2⟩. ⟨hal-00203651⟩

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