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Physical parameterizations and climate response


To develop and test improved parametrisations of key processes in
global climate models; to develop diagnostics and validation
techniques; to test the impact of model improvements on climate
response simulations.

The processes selected for improvement studies concern
atmospheric dynamics and physics, land surface processes and
ocean dynamics. Priority has been given to those processes which
have a large impact on the prediction of climate change.

In atmospheric dynamics, improved parametrisations of horizontal
and vertical sub-grid scale mixing will be tested, as well as,
and in relation to, the use of hybrid vertical coordinates. In
atmospheric physics, the main efforts will be put on improving
the modelling of cloud radiative forcing by introducing more
realistic modelling of cloud microphysics, and on including the
radiative forcing of aerosols and trace gases other than CO2,
two points of particular importance in the perspective of climate
change. The modelling of land surface processes will be improved
by introducing the sub-grid scale variability of soil moisture,
realistic vegetation models and more accurate modelling of the
albedo of snow cover, which has a critical impact on climate
sensitivity at high latitudes. In the ocean, efforts will
concentrate on the improvement of convection schemes, and on more
realistic modelling of surface fluxes by testing the impact of
the modelling of surface waves and upper ocean mixing, with the
objective of decreasing the magnitude of flux correction in
coupled ocean- atmosphere models.

These developments will be supported by diagnostic developments.
The diabatic heating in the atmosphere will be evaluated from
ECMWF analyses, to provide a reference for global model
simulations. On the other hand, the important problem of climate
sensitivity and its dependence on feedbacks will be analyzed from
observed statistical relations between sea surface temperature,
water vapour content and the radiation budget in clear and cloudy
conditions, using SSM/I and ERBE data.

Finally, the impact of improved formulations on the sensitivity
of climate model response to perturbations such as CO2
doubling or changes in surface conditions, will be studied and
the results discussed in the light of previous validation

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Ecole Polytechnique

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