Assessment of CMIP5 and CMIP6 AMIP Simulated Clouds and Surface Shortwave Radiation Using ARM Observations over Different Climate Regions

Xiaojian Zheng, Cheng Tao, Chengzhu Zhang, Shaocheng Xie, Yuying Zhang, Baike Xi, Xiquan Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The simulations of clouds and surface radiation from 10 CMIP6 models and their CMIP5 predecessors are compared to the ARM ground-based observations over different climate regions. Compared to the ARM radar-lidar derived total cloud fractions (CFT) and cloud fraction vertical distributions over the six selected sites, both CMIP5 and CMIP6 significantly underestimated CFT and low-level CF over the Northern Hemispheric midlatitude sites (SGPC1 and ENAC1), although the biases are generally smaller in CMIP6. Over the tropical oceanic site (TWPC2), 5 out of 10 CMIP6 models better simulated low-level CF than their CMIP5 predecessors. CMIP6 simulations generally agreed well with the ARM observations in CFT and cloud fraction vertical distributions over the tropical continental (MAOM1) and coastal (TWPC3) sites but missed the transitions between dry and wet seasons, similar to CMIP5 simulations. The improvements in downwelling shortwave fluxes (SWdn) at the surface from the majority of CMIP6 compared to CMIP5 primarily resulted from the improved cloud fraction simulations, especially over the SGPC1, ENAC1, and TWPC3 sites. By contrast, both CMIP5 and CMIP6 models exhibited diverse performances of clouds and shortwave radiation over the Arctic site (NSAC1), where CMIP6 models produced more clouds than CMIP5 models, especially for the low-level clouds. The comparisons between observations and CMIP5 and CMIP6 simulations provide valuable quantitative assessments of the accuracy of mean states and variabilities in the model simulations and shed light on general directions to improve climate models in different regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8475-8495
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume36
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2023

Keywords

  • Climate models
  • Cloud cover
  • Clouds
  • Model evaluation/performance
  • Radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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