An assessment of oceanic variability in the NCEP climate forecast system reanalysis

Submitted by Zeng-Zhen.HU on Thu, 08/02/2012 - 13:23

Xue, Y., B. Huang, Z.-Z. Hu, A. Kumar, C. Wen, D. Behringer, and S. Nadiga, 2011: An assessment of oceanic variability in the NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis. Clim. Dyn., 37 (11-12), 2511-2539, DOI: 10.1007/s00382-010-0954-4.

At the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), a reanalysis of the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice and land over the period 1979-2009, referred to as the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR), was recently completed. The oceanic component of CFSR includes many advances: (a) the MOM4 ocean model with an interactive sea-ice, (b) the 6 hour coupled model forecast as the first guess, (c) inclusion of the mean climatological river runoff, and (d) high spatial (0.5o x 0.5o) and temporal (hourly) model outputs. Since the CFSR will be used by many in initializing/validating ocean models and climate research, the primary motivation of the paper is to inform the user community about the saline features in the CFSR ocean component, and how the ocean reanalysis compares with in situ observations and previous reanalysis. The net ocean surface heat flux of the CFSR has smaller biases compared to the sum of the latent and sensible heat fluxes from the Objectively Analyzed air-sea Fluxes (OAFlux) and the shortwave and longwave radiation fluxes from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP-FD) than the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis (R1) and NCEP/DOE reanalysis (R2) in both the tropics and extratropics. The ocean surface wind stress of the CFSR has smaller biases and higher correlation with the ERA40 produced by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts than the R1 and R2, particularly in the tropical Indian and Pacific Ocean. The CFSR also has smaller errors compared to the QuickSCAT climatology for September 1999 to October 2009 than the R1 and R2. However, the trade winds of the CFSR in the central equatorial Pacific are too strong prior to 1999, and become close to observations once the ATOVS radiance data are assimilated in late 1998. A sudden reduction of easterly wind bias is related to the sudden onset of a warm bias in the eastern equatorial Pacific temperature around 1998/99. The sea surface height and top 300 meter heat content (HC300) of the CFSR compare with observations better than the GODAS in the tropical Indian Ocean and extratropics, but much worse in the tropical Atlantic, probably due to discontinuity in the deep ocean temperature and salinity caused by the six data streams of the CFSR. In terms of climate variability, the CFSR provides a good simulation of Tropical Instability Waves (TIW) and oceanic Kelvin waves in the tropical Pacific, and the dominant modes of HC300 that are associated with El Nino and Southern Oscillation, Indian Ocean Dipole, Pacific Decadal Oscillation and Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation.


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