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UJCC Science highlights in year 1 Print E-mail
Written by Pier Luigi Vidale   
Thursday, 12 July 2007
Some very important phenomena have already emerged out of our line of research on increasing resolution:

Tropical Instability WavesTropical instability waves

These are responsible for the eddy transport of heat in the Equatorial ocean and have been shown to significantly contribute to the improvement of the modelled oceanic mean state (which normally displays a sizable cold bias in the coarser resolution models). The correct simulation of the oceanic mean state and of its inter-annual variability is a crucial pre-requisite to enabling the coupled models to properly simulate El Niño. El Niño is the oceanic component of ENSO (El Niño - Southern Oscillation), the major mode of global climate variability, and is an indispensable ingredient of any state-of-the-art climate simulation.
Nino3 ENSO (Hovmuller diagrams)

Regional distribution of precipitation

The smooth orography in the coarser resolution models causes an incorrect distribution of precipitation over the continents, due to poor definition of regions of surface convergence. The improvements in the regional distribution of precipitation are very important for the correct recharging of soil moisture, which is an indispensable resource for the maintenance of photosynthesis by land ecosystems, a major sink of atmospheric CO2.

Tropical cyclones, including typhoons and hurricanes

unlike the standard climate models, NUGAM has sufficient resolution to spawn and sustain the organization of convective activity, which is necessary for the formation of tropical cyclones, some of which develop into typhoons and hurricanes. These extremely intense storms have a large impact on the global climate, because of their ability to transport heat and water vapor to the extra-tropics, but are also important in the study of extremes, which are associated with severe damage to life and property. 
An advanced visualization of some of the features simulated by NUGAM has been prepared in cooperation with NASA's Earth Observatory group. The animation is already being used worldwide for teaching and for public outreach.
NUGAM animation
Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 July 2007 )
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