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The Importance of Ice Vertical Resolution for Snowball Climate and Deglaciation

Abbot, Dorian S. and Eisenman, Ian and Pierrehumbert, Raymond T. (2010) The Importance of Ice Vertical Resolution for Snowball Climate and Deglaciation. Journal of Climate, 23 (22). pp. 6100-6109. ISSN 0894-8755.

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Sea ice schemes with a few vertical levels are typically used to simulate the thermodynamic evolution of sea ice in global climate models. Here it is shown that these schemes overestimate the magnitude of the diurnal surface temperature cycle by a factor of 2–3 when they are used to simulate tropical ice in a Snowball earth event. This could strongly influence our understanding of Snowball termination, which occurs in global climate models when the midday surface temperature in the tropics reaches the melting point. A hierarchy of models is used to show that accurate simulation of surface temperature variation on a given time scale requires that a sea ice model resolve the e-folding depth to which a periodic signal on that time scale penetrates. This is used to suggest modifications to the sea ice schemes used in global climate models that would allow more accurate simulation of Snowball deglaciation.

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Additional Information:© 2010 American Meteorological Society. Manuscript received 24 February 2010, in final form 28 June 2010. We thank Stephen Warren, Cecilia Bitz, and an anonymous reviewer for comments. DSA was supported by the T. C. Chamberlin Fellowship of the University of Chicago and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. IE was supported a Prize Postdoctoral Fellowship through the California Institute of Technology Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences and a NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship administered by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. This work was supported by the NSF P2C2 program (ATM-0902844) and NSF ATM-0933936.
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University of ChicagoUNSPECIFIED
Canadian Institute for Advanced ResearchUNSPECIFIED
Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary SciencesUNSPECIFIED
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Climate models, Ice age, Sea ice
Issue or Number:22
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110118-085150999
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Official Citation:Abbot, Dorian S., Ian Eisenman, Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, 2010: The Importance of Ice Vertical Resolution for Snowball Climate and Deglaciation. J. Climate, 23, 6100–6109. doi: 10.1175/2010JCLI3693.1
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:21772
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:31 Jan 2011 23:17
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 02:29

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