Climate SPHINX: evaluating the impact of resolution and stochastic physics parameterisations in the EC-Earth global climate model
Abstract. The Climate SPHINX (Stochastic Physics HIgh resolutioN eXperiments) project is a comprehensive set of ensemble simulations aimed at evaluating the sensitivity of present and future climate to model resolution and stochastic parameterisation. The EC-Earth Earth system model is used to explore the impact of stochastic physics in a large ensemble of 30-year climate integrations at five different atmospheric horizontal resolutions (from 125 up to 16 km). The project includes more than 120 simulations in both a historical scenario (1979–2008) and a climate change projection (2039–2068), together with coupled transient runs (1850–2100). A total of 20.4 million core hours have been used, made available from a single year grant from PRACE (the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe), and close to 1.5 PB of output data have been produced on SuperMUC IBM Petascale System at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) in Garching, Germany. About 140 TB of post-processed data are stored on the CINECA supercomputing centre archives and are freely accessible to the community thanks to an EUDAT data pilot project. This paper presents the technical and scientific set-up of the experiments, including the details on the forcing used for the simulations performed, defining the SPHINX v1.0 protocol. In addition, an overview of preliminary results is given. An improvement in the simulation of Euro-Atlantic atmospheric blocking following resolution increase is observed. It is also shown that including stochastic parameterisation in the low-resolution runs helps to improve some aspects of the tropical climate – specifically the Madden–Julian Oscillation and the tropical rainfall variability. These findings show the importance of representing the impact of small-scale processes on the large-scale climate variability either explicitly (with high-resolution simulations) or stochastically (in low-resolution simulations).