Atmospheric river representation in the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) version 1.0

Journal Article
Geoscientific Model Development, vol. 15, iss. 14, pp. 5461-5480, 2022
Sol Kim, L. Ruby Leung, Bin Guan, John C. H. Chiang
Abstract. The Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) project is an ongoing, state-of-the-science Earth system modeling, simulation, and prediction project developed by the US Department of Energy (DOE). With an emphasis on supporting the DOE's energy mission, understanding and quantifying how well the model simulates water cycle processes is of particular importance. Here, we evaluate E3SM version 1.0 (v1.0) for its ability to represent atmospheric rivers (ARs), which play significant roles in water vapor transport and precipitation. The characteristics and precipitation associated with global ARs in E3SM at standard resolution (1∘ × 1∘) are compared to the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA2). Global patterns of AR frequencies in E3SM show high degrees of correlation (≥0.97) with MERRA2 and low mean absolute errors (MAEs; <1 %) annually, seasonally, and across different ensemble members. However, some large-scale condition biases exist, leading to AR biases – most significant of which are the double intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), a stronger and/or equatorward-shifted subtropical jet during boreal and austral winters, and enhanced Northern Hemisphere westerlies during summer. By comparing atmosphere-only and fully coupled simulations, we attribute the sources of the biases to the atmospheric component or to a coupling response. Using relationships revealed in Dong et al. (2021), we provide evidence showing the stronger North Pacific jet in winter and the enhanced Northern Hemisphere westerlies during summer, associated with E3SM's double ITCZ and related weaker Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), respectively, which are significant sources of the AR biases found in the coupled simulations.