The representation of tropical upper tropospheric water in EC Earth V2
Journal article, 2012
Tropical upper tropospheric humidity, clouds, and ice water content, as well as outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), are evaluated in the climate model EC Earth with the aid of satellite retrievals. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder and Microwave Limb Sounder together provide good coverage of relative humidity. EC Earth's relative humidity is in fair agreement with these observations. CloudSat and CALIPSO data are combined to provide cloud fractions estimates throughout the altitude region considered (500-100 hPa). EC Earth is found to overestimate the degree of cloud cover above 200 hPa and underestimate it below. Precipitating and non-precipitating EC Earth ice definitions are combined to form a complete ice water content. EC Earth's ice water content is below the uncertainty range of CloudSat above 250 hPa, but can be twice as high as CloudSat's estimate in the melting layer. CERES data show that the model underestimates the impact of clouds on OLR, on average with about 9 W m(-2). Regionally, EC Earth's outgoing longwave radiation can be similar to 20 W m(-2) higher than the observation. A comparison to ERA-Interim provides further perspectives on the model's performance. Limitations of the satellite observations are emphasised and their uncertainties are, throughout, considered in the analysis. Evaluating multiple model variables in parallel is a more ambitious approach than is customary.
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