19th Conference on Climate Variability and Change


Why simulating the ITCZ in GCMs is so difficult

Winston Chao, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD; and M. J. Suarez, J. T. Bacmeister, B. Chen, and L. L. Takacs

This study provides explanations for some of the experimental findings of Chao (2000) and Chao and Chen (2001) concerning the mechanisms responsible for the ITCZ in an aqua-planet model. These explanations are then applied to explain the origin of some of the systematic errors in the GCM simulation of ITCZ precipitation over oceans, including the origin of the “false double ITCZ.” The ITCZ systematic errors are highly sensitive to model physics and by extension model horizontal resolution. The findings in this study along with those of Chao (2000) and Chao and Chen (2001, 2004) contribute to building a theoretical foundation for ITCZ study. A few possible methods of alleviating the systematic errors in the GCM simulation of ITCZ are discussed. This study uses a recent version of the Goddard Modeling and Assimilation Office's Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS-5) GCM.

Session 2A, Model Diagnostic Studies - General
Monday, 15 January 2007, 1:30 PM-5:30 PM, 214B

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