Effects of Model Resolution, Physics, and Coupling on Southern Hemisphere Storm Tracks in CESM1.3

Gerald A. Meehl, Dongxia Yang, Julie M. Arblaster, Susan C. Bates, Nan Rosenbloom, Richard Neale, Julio Bacmeister, Peter H. Lauritzen, Frank Bryan, Justin Small, John Truesdale, Cecile Hannay, Christine Shields, Warren G. Strand, John Dennis, Gokhan Danabasoglu

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Two high-resolution versions of a Coupled Earth System Model (CESM1.3: 0.25° atmosphere, 1° ocean; CESM1.1: 0.25° atmosphere, 0.1° ocean) are compared to the standard resolution CESM1.1 and CESM1.3 (1° atmosphere, 1° ocean). The CESM1.3 versions are documented, and the consequences of model resolution, air-sea coupling, and physics in the atmospheric models are studied with regard to storm tracks in the Southern Hemisphere as represented by 850-hPa eddy kinetic energy. Increasing the resolution from 1° to 0.25° in the atmosphere (same physics) coupled to the 1° ocean intensifies the strength of the storm tracks closer to observations. The 0.25° atmosphere with the older CESM1.1 physics coupled to the 0.1° ocean has fewer low clouds, warmer Southern Ocean sea surface temperatures, a weaker meridional temperature gradient, and a degraded storm track simulation compared to the 0.25° atmosphere with CESM1.3 physics coupled to the 1° ocean. Therefore, deficient physics in the atmospheric model can negate the gains attained by higher resolution in atmosphere and ocean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12408-12416
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2019


  • earth system model
  • resolution
  • storm tracks

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