Automatic tuning of the Community Atmospheric Model (CAM5) by using short-term hindcasts with an improved downhill simplex optimization method

Zhang, Tao; Zhang, Minghua; Lin, Wuyin; Lin, Yanluan; Xue, Wei; Yu, Haiyang; He, Juanxiong; Xin, Xiaoge; Ma, Hsi-Yen; Xie, Shaocheng; Zheng, Weimin

Traditional trial-and-error tuning of uncertain parameters in global atmospheric general circulation models (GCMs) is time consuming and subjective. This study explores the feasibility of automatic optimization of GCM parameters for fast physics by using short-term hindcasts. An automatic workflow is described and applied to the Community Atmospheric Model (CAM5) to optimize several parameters in its cloud and convective parameterizations. We show that the auto-optimization leads to 10 % reduction of the overall bias in CAM5, which is already a well-calibrated model, based on a predefined metric that includes precipitation, temperature, humidity, and longwave/shortwave cloud forcing. The computational cost of the entire optimization procedure is about equivalent to a single 12-year atmospheric model simulation. The tuning reduces the large underestimation in the CAM5 longwave cloud forcing by decreasing the threshold relative humidity and the sedimentation velocity of ice crystals in the cloud schemes; it reduces the overestimation of precipitation by increasing the adjustment time in the convection scheme. The physical processes behind the tuned model performance for each targeted field are discussed. Limitations of the automatic tuning are described, including the slight deterioration in some targeted fields that reflect the structural errors of the model. It is pointed out that automatic tuning can be a viable supplement to process-oriented model evaluations and improvement.

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Zhang, Tao / Zhang, Minghua / Lin, Wuyin / et al: Automatic tuning of the Community Atmospheric Model (CAM5) by using short-term hindcasts with an improved downhill simplex optimization method. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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