Articles | Volume 10, issue 11
Methods for assessment of models
27 Nov 2017
Methods for assessment of models |  | 27 Nov 2017

The Cloud Feedback Model Intercomparison Project (CFMIP) Diagnostic Codes Catalogue – metrics, diagnostics and methodologies to evaluate, understand and improve the representation of clouds and cloud feedbacks in climate models

Yoko Tsushima, Florent Brient, Stephen A. Klein, Dimitra Konsta, Christine C. Nam, Xin Qu, Keith D. Williams, Steven C. Sherwood, Kentaroh Suzuki, and Mark D. Zelinka

Abstract. The CFMIP Diagnostic Codes Catalogue assembles cloud metrics, diagnostics and methodologies, together with programs to diagnose them from general circulation model (GCM) outputs written by various members of the CFMIP community. This aims to facilitate use of the diagnostics by the wider community studying climate and climate change. This paper describes the diagnostics and metrics which are currently in the catalogue, together with examples of their application to model evaluation studies and a summary of some of the insights these diagnostics have provided into the main shortcomings in current GCMs. Analysis of outputs from CFMIP and CMIP6 experiments will also be facilitated by the sharing of diagnostic codes via this catalogue.

Any code which implements diagnostics relevant to analysing clouds – including cloud–circulation interactions and the contribution of clouds to estimates of climate sensitivity in models – and which is documented in peer-reviewed studies, can be included in the catalogue. We very much welcome additional contributions to further support community analysis of CMIP6 outputs.

Short summary
Cloud feedback is the largest uncertainty associated with estimates of climate sensitivity. Diagnostics have been developed to evaluate cloud processes in climate models. For this understanding to be reflected in better estimates of cloud feedbacks, it is vital to continue to develop such tools and to exploit them fully during the model development process. Code repositories have been created to store and document the programs which will allow climate modellers to compute these diagnostics.