Observed and modeled relationships among Arctic climate variables

Yonghua Chen, James R. Miller, Jennifer A. Francis, Gary L. Russell, Filipe Aires

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The complex interactions among climate variables in the Arctic have important implications for potential climate change, both globally and locally. Because the Arctic is a data-sparse region and because global climate models (GCMs) often represent Arctic climate variables poorly, significant uncertainties remain in our understanding of these processes. In addition to the traditional approach of validating individual variables with observed fields, we demonstrate that a comparison of covariances among interrelated parameters from observations and GCM output provides a tool to evaluate the realism of modeled relationships between variables. We analyze and compare a combination of conventional observations, satellite retrievals, and GCM simulations to examine some of these relationships. The three climate variables considered in this study are surface temperature, cloud cover, and downward longwave flux. Results show that the highest correlations between daily changes in pairs of variables for all three data sets occur between surface temperature and downward longwave flux, particularly in winter. There is less variability in GCM output, in part, because there is greater spatial averaging. Although the satellite products can be used to examine some of these relationships, additional work may be needed to ensure consistency between changes in radiative components of the energy budget and other retrieved quantities. The GCM's relationships between variables agree well with in situ observations, which provides some confidence that the GCM's representation of present-day climate is reasonable in high northern latitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research D: Atmospheres
Volume108
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 27 2003

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Climate models
climate models
climate
Arctic region
global climate
climate modeling
surface temperature
general circulation model
Satellites
Fluxes
energy budget
Climate change
cloud cover
uncertainty
climate change
energy budgets
output
satellite observation
Temperature
winter

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

Keywords

  • Arctic
  • Feedback
  • Global climate model
  • Radiation
  • Remote sensing
  • Validation

Cite this

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abstract = "The complex interactions among climate variables in the Arctic have important implications for potential climate change, both globally and locally. Because the Arctic is a data-sparse region and because global climate models (GCMs) often represent Arctic climate variables poorly, significant uncertainties remain in our understanding of these processes. In addition to the traditional approach of validating individual variables with observed fields, we demonstrate that a comparison of covariances among interrelated parameters from observations and GCM output provides a tool to evaluate the realism of modeled relationships between variables. We analyze and compare a combination of conventional observations, satellite retrievals, and GCM simulations to examine some of these relationships. The three climate variables considered in this study are surface temperature, cloud cover, and downward longwave flux. Results show that the highest correlations between daily changes in pairs of variables for all three data sets occur between surface temperature and downward longwave flux, particularly in winter. There is less variability in GCM output, in part, because there is greater spatial averaging. Although the satellite products can be used to examine some of these relationships, additional work may be needed to ensure consistency between changes in radiative components of the energy budget and other retrieved quantities. The GCM's relationships between variables agree well with in situ observations, which provides some confidence that the GCM's representation of present-day climate is reasonable in high northern latitudes.",
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Observed and modeled relationships among Arctic climate variables. / Chen, Yonghua; Miller, James R.; Francis, Jennifer A.; Russell, Gary L.; Aires, Filipe.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research D: Atmospheres, Vol. 108, No. 24, 27.12.2003.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

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AU - Chen, Yonghua

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AU - Russell, Gary L.

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AB - The complex interactions among climate variables in the Arctic have important implications for potential climate change, both globally and locally. Because the Arctic is a data-sparse region and because global climate models (GCMs) often represent Arctic climate variables poorly, significant uncertainties remain in our understanding of these processes. In addition to the traditional approach of validating individual variables with observed fields, we demonstrate that a comparison of covariances among interrelated parameters from observations and GCM output provides a tool to evaluate the realism of modeled relationships between variables. We analyze and compare a combination of conventional observations, satellite retrievals, and GCM simulations to examine some of these relationships. The three climate variables considered in this study are surface temperature, cloud cover, and downward longwave flux. Results show that the highest correlations between daily changes in pairs of variables for all three data sets occur between surface temperature and downward longwave flux, particularly in winter. There is less variability in GCM output, in part, because there is greater spatial averaging. Although the satellite products can be used to examine some of these relationships, additional work may be needed to ensure consistency between changes in radiative components of the energy budget and other retrieved quantities. The GCM's relationships between variables agree well with in situ observations, which provides some confidence that the GCM's representation of present-day climate is reasonable in high northern latitudes.

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