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Published December 2016 | Published
Journal Article Open

The tropical rain belts with an annual cycle and a continent model intercomparison project: TRACMIP


This paper introduces the Tropical Rain belts with an Annual cycle and a Continent Model Intercomparison Project (TRACMIP). TRACMIP studies the dynamics of tropical rain belts and their response to past and future radiative forcings through simulations with 13 comprehensive and one simplified atmosphere models coupled to a slab ocean and driven by seasonally varying insolation. Five idealized experiments, two with an aquaplanet setup and three with a setup with an idealized tropical continent, fill the space between prescribed-SST aquaplanet simulations and realistic simulations provided by CMIP5/6. The simulations reproduce key features of present-day climate and expected future climate change, including an annual-mean intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) that is located north of the equator and Hadley cells and eddy-driven jets that are similar to present-day climate. Quadrupling CO_2 leads to a northward ITCZ shift and preferential warming in Northern high latitudes. The simulations show interesting CO_2-induced changes in the seasonal excursion of the ITCZ and indicate a possible state dependence of climate sensitivity. The inclusion of an idealized continent modulates both the control climate and the response to increased CO_2; for example, it reduces the northward ITCZ shift associated with warming and, in some models, climate sensitivity. In response to eccentricity-driven seasonal insolation changes, seasonal changes in oceanic rainfall are best characterized as a meridional dipole, while seasonal continental rainfall changes tend to be symmetric about the equator. This survey illustrates TRACMIP's potential to engender a deeper understanding of global and regional climate and to address questions on past and future climate change.

Additional Information

© 2016 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. Received 23 JUN 2016; Accepted 12 NOV 2016; Accepted article online 16 NOV 2016; Published online 2 DEC 2016. We are indebted to RSMAS (University of Miami) for hosting the TRACMIP data sets on their data repository. M.B., A.V. and J. Scheff are supported by NSF award AGS-1565522. A.V. and M.B. acknowledge support from the undergraduate research program of the Earth Institute of Columbia University for LRVZ. A.V. received support from the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and FONA: Research for Sustainable Development (www.fona.de) under grant 01LK1509A. M.B. was supported by a Department of Energy BER award DE-SC0014423. J. Scheff was funded by NSF award AGS-1433551. SB and HHW were supported by the NSF under grant AGS-1462544. F.C. acknowledges support from the IDRIS supercomputing center and the project MORDICUS ANR-13-SENV-0002 of the French National Research Agency (ANR). R.D.D. acknowledges high-performance computing support from Yellowstone (ark:/85065/d7wd3xhc) provided by NCAR's Computational and Information Systems Laboratory, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. S.M.K. and J. Seo were supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (2016R1A1A3A04005520). N.P.K. was funded by an Independent Research Fellowship from the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NE/L010976/1). MetUM simulations were performed on the ARCHER UK national supercomputing service (http://www.archer.ac.uk). R.L. and J.L. were supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research (BER) as part of the Regional and Global Climate Modeling program. E.A.M. was supported by the NSF IGERT Program on Ocean Change. S.M. acknowledges and thanks Larissa Nazarenko for her help in making the GISS ModelE2 contributions possible. B.E.J.R. acknowledges support from NSF grant AGS-1455071. M.Y. acknowledges support from JSPS KAKENHI grant 15K05280 and the Program for Risk Information on Climate Change (SOUSEI program) of MEXT, Japan. The MIROC5 simulations were conducted using the Fujitsu PRIMEHPC FX10 System in the Information Technology Center and collaborating with the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, both in the University of Tokyo. We thank Catherine Pomposi for comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Tracmip simulations are made publicly available on an OpenDAP data server of BM's group at the University of Miami. Detailed instructions on how to obtain the simulations are provided on the project's website www.sites.google.com/site/tracmip/ and can also be obtained from AV and MB via tracmip@gmail.com.

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Published - Voigt_et_al-2016-Journal_of_Advances_in_Modeling_Earth_Systems.pdf


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