Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 508571
Title Impact of initial conditions versus external forcing in decadal climate predictions : A sensitivity experiment
Author(s) Corti, Susanna; Palmer, Tim; Balmaseda, Magdalena; Weisheimer, Antje; Drijfhout, Sybren; Dunstone, Nick; Hazeleger, Wilco; Kröger, Jürgen; Pohlmann, Holger; Smith, Doug; Storch, Jin Song Von; Wouters, Bert
Source Journal of Climate 28 (2015)11. - ISSN 0894-8755 - p. 4454 - 4470.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00671.1
Department(s) Meteorology and Air Quality
WIMEK
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2015
Keyword(s) Climate models - Climate prediction - Decadal variability - Interdecadal variability - Model comparison - Oceanic variability
Abstract

The impact of initial conditions relative to external forcings in decadal integrations from an ensemble of state-of-the-art prediction models has been assessed using specifically designed sensitivity experiments (SWAP experiments). They consist of two sets of 10-yr-long ensemble hindcasts for two initial dates in 1965 and 1995 using either the external forcings from the "correct" decades or swapping the forcings between the two decades. By comparing the two sets of integrations, the impact of external forcing versus initial conditions on the predictability over multiannual time scales was estimated as the function of lead time of the hindcast. It was found that over time scales longer than about 1 yr, the predictability of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) on a global scale arises mainly from the external forcing. However, the correct initialization has a longer impact on SST predictability over specific regions such as the North Atlantic, the northwestern Pacific, and the Southern Ocean. The impact of initialization is even longer and extends to wider regions when below-surface ocean variables are considered. For the western and eastern tropical Atlantic, the impact of initialization for the 700-m heat content (HTC700) extends to as much as 9 years for some of the models considered. In all models the impact of initial conditions on the predictability of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is dominant for the first 5 years.

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