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Effects of explicit convection on global land-atmosphere coupling in the superparameterized CAM

  • Author(s): Sun, J
  • Pritchard, MS
  • et al.

© 2016. The Authors. Conventional global climate models are prone to producing unrealistic land-atmosphere coupling signals. Cumulus and convection parameterizations are natural culprits but the effect of bypassing them with explicitly resolved convection on global land-atmosphere coupling dynamics has not been explored systematically. We apply a suite of modern land-atmosphere coupling diagnostics to isolate the effect of cloud Superparameterization in the Community Atmosphere Model (SPCAM) v3.5, focusing on both the terrestrial segment (i.e., soil moisture and surface turbulent fluxes interaction) and atmospheric segment (i.e., surface turbulent fluxes and precipitation interaction) in the water pathway of the land-atmosphere feedback loop. At daily timescales, SPCAM produces stronger uncoupled terrestrial signals (negative sign) over tropical rainforests in wet seasons, reduces the terrestrial coupling strength in the Central Great Plain in American, and reverses the coupling sign (from negative to positive) over India in the boreal summer season—all favorable improvements relative to reanalysis-forced land modeling. Analysis of the triggering feedback strength (TFS) and amplification feedback strength (AFS) shows that SPCAM favorably reproduces the observed geographic patterns of these indices over North America, with the probability of afternoon precipitation enhanced by high evaporative fraction along the eastern United States and Mexico, while conventional CAM does not capture this signal. We introduce a new diagnostic called the Planetary Boundary Layer (PBL) Feedback Strength (PFS), which reveals that SPCAM exhibits a tight connection between the responses of the lifting condensation level, the PBL height, and the rainfall triggering to surface turbulent fluxes; a triggering disconnect is found in CAM.

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