Tropical climate variability in the Community Earth System Model: Data Assimilation Research Testbed

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A new prototype coupled ocean–atmosphere Ensemble Kalman Filter reanalysis product, the Community Earth System Model using the Data Assimilation Research Testbed (CESM-DART), is studied by comparing its tropical climate variability to other reanalysis products, available observations, and a free-running version of the model. The results reveal that CESM-DART produces fields that are comparable in overall performance with those of four other uncoupled and coupled reanalyses. The clearest signature of differences in CESM-DART is in the analysis of the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) and other tropical atmospheric waves. MJO energy is enhanced over the free-running CESM as well as compared to the other products, suggesting the importance of the surface flux coupling at the ocean–atmosphere interface in organizing convective activity. In addition, high-frequency Kelvin waves in CESM-DART are reduced in amplitude compared to the free-running CESM run and the other products, again supportive of the oceanic coupling playing a role in this difference. CESM-DART also exhibits a relatively low bias in the mean tropical precipitation field and mean sensible heat flux field. Conclusive evidence of the importance of coupling on data assimilation performance will require additional detailed direct comparisons with identically formulated, uncoupled data assimilation runs.




Eliashiv, J., Subramanian, A. C., & Miller, A. J. (2020). Tropical climate variability in the Community Earth System Model: Data Assimilation Research Testbed. Climate Dynamics, 54(1–2), 793–806.

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