The Flexible Modelling Framework for the Met Office Unified Model (Flex-UM, using UM 12.0 release).

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Date: Feb. 9, 2022
From: Geoscientific Model Development(Vol. 15, Issue 3)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 386 words

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Abstract :

The Met Office Unified Model (UM) is a world-leading atmospheric weather and climate model. In addition to comprehensive simulations of the atmosphere, the UM is capable of running idealised simulations, such as the dry physics Held-Suarez test case, radiative convective equilibrium and simulating planetary atmospheres other than Earth. However, there is a disconnect between the simplicity of the idealised UM model configurations and the full complexity of the UM. This gap inhibits the broad use of climate model hierarchy approaches within the UM. To fill this gap, we have developed the Flexible Modelling Framework for the UM - Flex-UM - which broadens the climate model hierarchy capabilities within the UM. Flex-UM was designed to replicate the atmospheric physics of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) idealised moist physics aqua-planet model. New parameterisations have been implemented in Flex-UM, including simplified schemes for convection, large-scale precipitation, radiation, boundary layer and sea surface temperature (SST) boundary conditions. These idealised parameterisations have been implemented in a modular way, so that each scheme is available for use in any model configuration. This has the advantage that we can incrementally add or remove complexity within the model hierarchy. We compare Flex-UM to ERA5 and aqua-planet simulations using the Isca climate modelling framework (based on the GFDL moist physics aqua-planet model) and comprehensive simulations of the UM (using the GA7.0 configuration). We also use two SST boundary conditions to compare the models (fixed SST and a slab ocean). We find the Flex-UM climatologies are similar to both Isca and GA7.0 (though Flex-UM is generally a little cooler, with higher relative humidity and a less pronounced storm track). Flex-UM has a single Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) in the slab-ocean simulation but a double-ITCZ in the fixed-SST simulation. Further work is needed to ensure that the atmospheric energy budget closes to within 1-2 W m.sup.-2, as the current configuration of Flex-UM gains 9-11 W m.sup.-2 (the range covers the two SST boundary conditions). Flex-UM greatly extends the modelling hierarchy capabilities of the UM and offers a simplified framework for developing, testing and evaluating parameterisations within the UM.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A692692054