Articles | Volume 4, issue 4
Development and technical paper
08 Dec 2011
Development and technical paper |  | 08 Dec 2011

The CSIRO Mk3L climate system model v1.0 coupled to the CABLE land surface scheme v1.4b: evaluation of the control climatology

J. Mao, S. J. Phipps, A. J. Pitman, Y. P. Wang, G. Abramowitz, and B. Pak

Abstract. The CSIRO Mk3L climate system model, a reduced-resolution coupled general circulation model, has previously been described in this journal. The model is configured for millennium scale or multiple century scale simulations. This paper reports the impact of replacing the relatively simple land surface scheme that is the default parameterisation in Mk3L with a sophisticated land surface model that simulates the terrestrial energy, water and carbon balance in a physically and biologically consistent way. An evaluation of the new model's near-surface climatology highlights strengths and weaknesses, but overall the atmospheric variables, including the near-surface air temperature and precipitation, are simulated well. The impact of the more sophisticated land surface model on existing variables is relatively small, but generally positive. More significantly, the new land surface scheme allows an examination of surface carbon-related quantities including net primary productivity which adds significantly to the capacity of Mk3L. Overall, results demonstrate that this reduced-resolution climate model is a good foundation for exploring long time scale phenomena. The addition of the more sophisticated land surface model enables an exploration of important Earth System questions including land cover change and abrupt changes in terrestrial carbon storage.