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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: development and technical paper 11 Nov 2019

Submitted as: development and technical paper | 11 Nov 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

On the increased climate sensitivity in the EC-Earth model from CMIP5 to CMIP6

Klaus Wyser1, Twan van Noije2, Shuting Yang3, Jost von Hardenberg4,5, Declan O'Donnell6, and Ralf Döscher1 Klaus Wyser et al.
  • 1Rossby Centre, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), 601 76 Norrköping, Sweden
  • 2Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, the Netherlands
  • 3Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 4Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy
  • 5Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (ISAC-CNR), Torino, Italy
  • 6Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. Many modelling groups that contribute to CMIP6 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6) have found a larger equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) with their latest model versions compared to the values obtained with earlier versions for CMIP5. This is also the case for the EC-Earth model, and in this study we investigate what developments since the CMIP5 era could have caused the increase in the ECS in this model. Apart from increases in horizontal and vertical resolution, the EC-Earth model also has substantially changed the representation of aerosols, and in particular it has introduced a more sophisticated description of aerosol indirect effects. After testing the model with some of the recent updates switched off, we find that the ECS increase can be attributed to the more advanced treatment of aerosols, with the largest contribution coming from the effect of aerosols on cloud microphysics (cloud lifetime or second indirect effect). The increase in climate sensitivity is unrelated to model tuning as all experiments have been performed with the same tuning parameters and only the representation of the aerosol effects has been changing. These results cannot be easily generalised to other models as their CMIP5 and CMIP6 versions may differ in other aspects than the aerosol-cloud interaction, but the results highlights the strong sensitivity of ECS to the details of the aerosol forcing.

Klaus Wyser et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: open (until 13 Feb 2020)
Status: open (until 13 Feb 2020)
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Klaus Wyser et al.
Data sets

Global mean TAS and net TOA flux in CMIP5 piControl and abrupt4xCO2 experiments using EC-Earth model Shuting Yang

Sensitivity experiments with EC-Earth3-Veg at low resolution Klaus Wyser

CMIP6.CMIP.EC-Earth-Consortium.EC-Earth3-Veg.piControl EC-Earth Consortium (EC-Earth)

Klaus Wyser et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The EC-Earth model used for CMIP6 is found to have a higher equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) than its predecessor used for CMIP5. In a series of sensitivity experiments we investigate which model updates since CMIP5 have contributed to the increase in ECS. The main reason for the higher sensitivity in the EC-Earth model is the improved representation of the aerosol-radiation and aerosol-cloud interaction.
The EC-Earth model used for CMIP6 is found to have a higher equilibrium climate sensitivity...