Storm track sensitivity to sea surface temperature resolution in a regional atmosphere model
Woollings, T., Hoskins, B., Blackburn, M., Hassell, D. and Hodges, K. (2010) Storm track sensitivity to sea surface temperature resolution in a regional atmosphere model. Climate Dynamics, 35 (2-3). pp. 341-353. ISSN 0930-7575
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1007/s00382-009-0554-3
A high resolution regional atmosphere model is used to investigate the sensitivity of the North Atlantic storm track to the spatial and temporal resolution of the sea surface temperature (SST) data used as a lower boundary condition. The model is run over an unusually large domain covering all of the North Atlantic and Europe, and is shown to produce a very good simulation of the observed storm track structure. The model is forced at the lateral boundaries with 15–20 years of data from the ERA-40 reanalysis, and at the lower boundary by SST data of differing resolution. The impacts of increasing spatial and temporal resolution are assessed separately, and in both cases increasing the resolution leads to subtle, but significant changes in the storm track. In some, but not all cases these changes act to reduce the small storm track biases seen in the model when it is forced with low-resolution SSTs. In addition there are several clear mesoscale responses to increased spatial SST resolution, with surface heat fluxes and convective precipitation increasing by 10–20% along the Gulf Stream SST gradient.