Impact of poleward heat and moisture transports on Arctic clouds and climate simulation

Baek, Eun-Hyuk; Kim, Joo-Hong; Park, Sungsu; Kim, Baek-Min; Jeong, Jee-Hoon

Many general circulation models (GCMs) have difficulty simulating Arctic clouds and climate, causing substantial inter-model spread. To address this issue, two Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) simulations from the Community Atmosphere Model version 5 (CAM5) and Seoul National University (SNU) Atmosphere Model version 0 (SAM0) with a unified convection scheme (UNICON) are employed to identify an effective mechanism for improving Arctic cloud and climate simulations. Over the Arctic, SAM0 produced a larger cloud fraction and cloud liquid mass than CAM5, reducing the negative Arctic cloud biases in CAM5. The analysis of cloud water condensation rates indicates that this improvement is associated with an enhanced net condensation rate of water vapor into the liquid condensate of Arctic low-level clouds, which in turn is driven by enhanced poleward transports of heat and moisture by the mean meridional circulation and transient eddies. The reduced Arctic cloud biases lead to improved simulations of surface radiation fluxes and near-surface air temperature over the Arctic throughout the year. The association between the enhanced poleward transports of heat and moisture and increase in liquid clouds over the Arctic is also evident not only in both models, but also in the multi-model analysis. Our study demonstrates that enhanced poleward heat and moisture transport in a model can improve simulations of Arctic clouds and climate.

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Baek, Eun-Hyuk / Kim, Joo-Hong / Park, Sungsu / et al: Impact of poleward heat and moisture transports on Arctic clouds and climate simulation. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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