TheDiaTo (v1.0) – a new diagnostic tool for water, energy and entropy budgets in climate models

Lembo, Valerio; Lunkeit, Frank; Lucarini, Valerio

This work presents the Thermodynamic Diagnostic Tool (TheDiaTo), a novel diagnostic tool for investigating the thermodynamics of climate systems with a wide range of applications, from sensitivity studies to model tuning. It includes a number of modules for assessing the internal energy budget, the hydrological cycle, the Lorenz energy cycle and the material entropy production. The routine takes as inputs energy fluxes at the surface and at the top of the atmosphere (TOA), which allows for the computation of energy budgets at the TOA, the surface and in the atmosphere as a residual. Meridional enthalpy transports are also computed from the divergence of the zonal mean energy budget from which the location and intensity of the maxima in each hemisphere are calculated. Rainfall, snowfall and latent heat fluxes are received as inputs for computation of the water mass and latent energy budgets. If a land–sea mask is provided, the required quantities are separately computed over continents and oceans. The diagnostic tool also computes the annual Lorenz energy cycle (LEC) and its storage and conversion terms by hemisphere and as a global mean. This is computed from three-dimensional daily fields of horizontal wind velocity and temperature in the troposphere. Two methods have been implemented for the computation of the material entropy production: one relying on the convergence of radiative heat fluxes in the atmosphere (indirect method) and the other combining the irreversible processes occurring in the climate system, particularly heat fluxes in the boundary layer, the hydrological cycle and the kinetic energy dissipation as retrieved from the residuals of the LEC (direct method). A version of these diagnostics has been developed as part of the Earth System Model eValuation Tool (ESMValTool) v2.0a1 in order to assess the performances of CMIP6 model simulations, and it will be available in the next release. The aim of this software is to provide a comprehensive picture of the thermodynamics of the climate system, as reproduced in the state-of-the-art coupled general circulation models. This can prove useful for better understanding anthropogenic and natural climate change, paleoclimatic climate variability, and climatic tipping points.



Lembo, Valerio / Lunkeit, Frank / Lucarini, Valerio: TheDiaTo (v1.0) – a new diagnostic tool for water, energy and entropy budgets in climate models. 2019. Copernicus Publications.


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