Impact of the LMDZ atmospheric grid configuration on the climate and sensitivity of the IPSL-CM5A coupled model
The IPSL-CM5A climate model was used to perform a large number of control, historical and climate change simulations in the frame of CMIP5. The refined horizontal and vertical grid of the atmospheric component, LMDZ, constitutes a major difference compared to the previous IPSL-CM4 version used for CMIP3. From imposed-SST (Sea Surface Temperature) and coupled numerical experiments, we systematically analyze the impact of the horizontal and vertical grid resolution on the simulated climate. The refinement of the horizontal grid results in a systematic reduction of major biases in the mean tropospheric structures and SST. The mid-latitude jets, located too close to the equator with the coarsest grids, move poleward. This robust feature, is accompanied by a drying at mid-latitudes and a reduction of cold biases in mid-latitudes relative to the equator. The model was also extended to the stratosphere by increasing the number of layers on the vertical from 19 to 39 (15 in the stratosphere) and adding relevant parameterizations. The 39-layer version captures the dominant modes of the stratospheric variability and exhibits stratospheric sudden warmings. Changing either the vertical or horizontal resolution modifies the global energy balance in imposed-SST simulations by typically several W/m2 which translates in the coupled atmosphere-ocean simulations into a different global-mean SST. The sensitivity is of about 1.2 K per 1 W/m2 when varying the horizontal grid. A re-tuning of model parameters was thus required to restore this energy balance in the imposed-SST simulations and reduce the biases in the simulated mean surface temperature and, to some extent, latitudinal SST variations in the coupled experiments for the modern climate. The tuning hardly compensates, however, for robust biases of the coupled model. Despite the wide range of grid configurations explored and their significant impact on the present-day climate, the climate sensitivity remains essentially unchanged.