The simulation of the tropical western Pacific warm pool is explored with the NCAR Climate System Model (CSM). The simulated sea surface temperatures in the Pacific basin have biases that are similar to other coupled model simulations in this region. In particular, an excessive cold tongue of water extends across the Pacific basin, with warm water on either side of this cold tongue. The warm pool region is also too cold. This cold bias exists in spite of an overestimate in surface net energy flux into this region. To understand the source of this bias in SST, simulations from the uncoupled and fully coupled models are analyzed in terms of biases in surface energy budget. These analyses suggest that the strong constraint of little ocean heat transport out of the warm pool region forces a change in SST gradient that leads to an increase in the atmospheric zonal wind. This increase in zonal wind causes an increase in latent heat flux in the warm pool region. The increase in latent heat flux is required to offset a significant (∼∼35 W m −−2 ) bias in net surface solar flux. The bias in surface solar flux is due to an underestimate of model cloud shortwave absorption.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Apr 14, 1997