Resolved complex coastlines and land-sea contrasts in a high-resolution regional climate model: A comparative study using prescribed and modelled SSTs

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Tian Tian, Fredrik Boberg, Ole BøSsing Christensen, Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen, Jun She, Timo Vihma

We configured a coupled model system, comprising a regional climate model (RCM) and a regional ocean model, for the North Sea and Baltic Sea region at 6 nm resolution. A two-way nested fine-grid (1 nm) ocean domain is for the first time included for the Danish coastal waters in coupled RCMs to resolve the water exchange between the two regional seas. Here, we (1) assess the sensitivity of the near-surface atmosphere to prescribed sea surface temperatures (SSTs) from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA-Interim (ERAI) reanalysis and those modelled by the coupled system, and (2) examine different ocean responses in coarse and fine grids to atmospheric forcing. The experiments were performed covering the years 1990-2010, both using ERAI lateral boundary conditions. ERAI SSTs generally agree well with satellite SSTs in summer with differences within 1oC, but the ERAI overestimates the ice extent by 72% in winter due to the coarse resolution in the Baltic Sea. The atmosphere in the Baltic land-sea transition was more sensitive to high-resolution modelled SSTs with a significant improvement in winter, but it also provided a cold bias in summer as a combination of errors from both atmospheric and ocean models. Overall, the coupled simulation without observational constraints showed only minor deviations in the air-sea interface in the Baltic coastal region compared to the prescribed simulation, with seasonal mean differences within 2oCin2m air temperatures and 1oC in SSTs. An exception was in the Danish water, where the fine-grid ocean model yielded a better agreement with SST measurements and showed a smaller difference between the two simulations than the coarse-grid ocean model did. In turn, the modification on the atmosphere induced by modelled SSTs was negligible. The atmospheric-ocean-ice model in this configuration was found capable of reproducing the observed interannual variability of SST and ice extent in the Baltic Sea as well as the monthly extreme wind speeds and sea levels on a local scale for Denmark during the period 1990-2010. This article provides the first results in an attempt to resolve the Danish coasts with this accuracy in an RCM as a first step towards a fully coupled system for the region of interest.

TidsskriftTellus, Series A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography
StatusUdgivet - 1 jan. 2013
Eksternt udgivetJa

ID: 186939729