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Consequences of systematic model drift in DYNAMO MJO hindcasts with SP‐CAM and CAM5


Hindcast simulations of MJO events during the dynamics of the MJO (DYNAMO) field campaign are conducted with two models, one with conventional parameterization (CAM5) and a comparable model that utilizes superparameterization (SP-CAM). SP-CAM is shown to produce a qualitatively better reproduction of the fluctuations of precipitation and low-level zonal wind associated with the first two DYNAMO MJO events compared to CAM5. Interestingly, skill metrics using the real-time multivariate MJO index (RMM) suggest the opposite conclusion that CAM5 has more skill than SP-CAM. This inconsistency can be explained by a systematic increase of RMM amplitude with lead time, which results from a drift of the large-scale wind field in SP-CAM that projects strongly onto the RMM index. CAM5 hindcasts exhibit a contraction of the moisture distribution, in which extreme wet and dry conditions become less frequent with lead time. SP-CAM hindcasts better reproduce the observed moisture distribution, but also have stronger drift patterns of moisture budget terms, such as an increase in drying by meridional advection in SP-CAM. This advection tendency in SP-CAM appears to be associated with enhanced off-equatorial synoptic eddy activity with lead time. Systematic drift moisture tendencies in SP-CAM are of similar magnitude to intraseasonal moisture tendencies, and therefore are important for understanding MJO prediction skill.

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