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Intercomparison of initialization methods for Seasonal-to-Decadal Climate Predictions with the NorCPM
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  • Lilian Garcia-Oliva,
  • Francois Counillon,
  • Ingo Bethke,
  • Noel S Keenlyside
Lilian Garcia-Oliva
University of Bergen and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Francois Counillon
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Ingo Bethke
University of Bergen and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research
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Noel S Keenlyside
Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen
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Initialization is essential for accurate seasonal-to-decadal (S2D) climate predictions. The initialization schemes used differ on the component initialized, the Data Assimilation (DA) method, or the technique. We compare five popular schemes within NorCPM following the same experimental protocol: reanalysis from 1980–2010 and seasonal and decadal predictions initialized from the reanalysis. We compare atmospheric initialization—Newtonian relaxation (nudging)—against ocean initialization—Ensemble Kalman Filter—(ODA). On the atmosphere, we explore the benefit of full-field (NudF-UVT) or anomaly (NudA-UVT) nudging of horizontal winds and temperature (U, V, and T) observations. The scheme NudA-UV nudges horizontal winds to disentangle the role of wind-driven variability. The scheme ODA+NudA-UV provides a first attempt at joint initialization of the ocean and atmospheric components. During the reanalysis, atmospheric nudging leads to atmosphere and land components best synchronized with observations. Conversely, ODA best synchronizes the ocean component with observations. The atmospheric nudging schemes are better at reproducing specific events, such as the rapid North Atlantic subpolar gyre (SPG) shift. An abrupt climatological change using the NudA-UV scheme demonstrates that energy conservation is crucial when only assimilating winds. ODA outperforms atmospheric-initialized versions for S2D global predictions, while atmospheric nudging is preferable for accurately initializing phenomena in specific regions, with the technique’s benefit depending on the prediction’s temporal scale. For instance, atmospheric full-field initialization benefits the tropical Atlantic Niño at one-month lead time, and atmospheric anomaly initialization benefits longer lead times, reducing hindcast drift. Combining atmosphere and ocean initialization yields sub-optimal results, as sustaining the ensemble’s reliability—required for ODA’s performance—is challenging with atmospheric nudging.
08 Sep 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
11 Sep 2023Published in ESS Open Archive