Articles | Volume 10, issue 3
Model experiment description paper
31 Mar 2017
Model experiment description paper |  | 31 Mar 2017

Climate SPHINX: evaluating the impact of resolution and stochastic physics parameterisations in the EC-Earth global climate model

Paolo Davini, Jost von Hardenberg, Susanna Corti, Hannah M. Christensen, Stephan Juricke, Aneesh Subramanian, Peter A. G. Watson, Antje Weisheimer, and Tim N. Palmer

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).

Short summary
The Climate SPHINX project is a large set of more than 120 climate simulations run with the EC-Earth global climate. It explores the sensitivity of present-day and future climate to the model horizontal resolution (from 150 km up to 16 km) and to the introduction of two stochastic physics parameterisations. Results shows that the the stochastic schemes can represent a cheaper alternative to a resolution increase, especially for the representation of the tropical climate variability.