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Authors: Navarra, A.* 
Gualdi, S.* 
Masina, S.* 
Behera, S.* 
Luo, J.-J.* 
Masson, S.* 
Guilyardi, E.* 
Delecluse, P.* 
Yamagata, T.* 
Title: Atmospheric horizontal resolution affects tropical climate variability in coupled models
Issue Date: Apr-2008
Series/Report no.: /21 (2008)
DOI: 10.1175/2007JCLI1406.1
Keywords: coupled models
tropical variability
ENSO system
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.01. General::03.01.03. Global climate models 
Abstract: The effect of horizontal resolution on tropical variability is investigated within the modified SINTEX model, SINTEX-F, developed jointly at INGV, IPSL and at the Frontier Research System. The horizontal resolutions T30 and T106 are investigated in terms of the coupling characteristics, frequency and variability of the tropical ocean-atmosphere interactions. It appears that the T106 resolution is generally beneficial even if it does not eliminate all the major systematic errors of the coupled model. There is an excessive shift west of the cold tongue and ENSO variability, and high resolution has also a somewhat negative impact to the variability in the East Indian Ocean. A dominant two-year peak for the NINO3 variabilty in the T30 model is moderated in the T106 as it shifts to longer time scale. At high resolution new processes come into play, as the coupling of tropical instability waves, the resolution of coastal flows at the Pacific Mexican coasts and improved coastal forcing along the coast of South America. The delayed oscillator seems the main mechanism that generates the interannual variability in both models, but the models realize it in different ways. In the T30 model it is confined close to the equator, involving relatively fast equatorial and near-equatorial modes, in the high resolution, it involves a wider latitudinal region and slower waves. It is speculated that the extent of the region that is involved in the interannual variability may be linked to the time scale of the variability itself.
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