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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: model evaluation paper 26 Feb 2020

Submitted as: model evaluation paper | 26 Feb 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Global aerosol simulations using NICAM.16 on a 14-km grid spacing for a climate study: Improved and remaining issues relative to a lower-resolution model

Daisuke Goto1, Yousuke Sato2,3, Hisashi Yashiro1,3, Kentaroh Suzuki4, Eiji Oikawa5, Rei Kudo6, Takashi M. Nagao4, and Teruyuki Nakajima7 Daisuke Goto et al.
  • 1National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan
  • 2Faculty of Science, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
  • 3RIKEN Center for Computational Research, Kobe, Japan
  • 4Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Japan
  • 5Research Institute for Applied Mechanics, Kyushu University, Kasuga, Japan
  • 6Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan
  • 7Earth Observation Research Center, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Tsukuba, Japan

Abstract. High-performance computing resources allow us to conduct numerical simulations with a horizontal grid spacing that is sufficiently high to resolve cloud systems on a global scale, and high-resolution models (HRMs) generally provide better simulation performances than low-resolution models (LRMs). In this study, we execute a next-generation model that is capable of simulating global aerosols on a nonhydrostatic icosahedral atmospheric model version 16 (NICAM.16). The simulated aerosol distributions are obtained for 3 years with a HRM in a global 14-km grid spacing, an unprecedentedly high horizontal resolution and long integration period. For comparison, a NICAM with a 56-km grid spacing is also run as an LRM, although this horizontal resolution is still high among current global climate models. The comparison elucidated that the differences in the various variables of meteorological fields, including the wind speed, precipitation, clouds, radiation fluxes and total aerosols, are generally within 10 % of their annual averages, but most of the variables related to aerosols simulated by the HRM are slightly closer to the observations than are those simulated by the LRM. Upon investigating the aerosol components, the differences in the water-insoluble black carbon (WIBC) and sulfate concentrations between the HRM and LRM are large (up to 32 %), even in the annual averages. This finding is attributed to the differences in the column burden of the aerosol wet deposition, which is determined by a conversion rate of precipitation to cloud and the difference between the HRM and LRM is approximately 20 %. Additionally, the differences in the simulated aerosol concentrations at polluted sites during polluted months between the HRM and LRM are estimated with medians of −23 % (−63 % to −2.5 %) for BC, −4 % (−91 % to +18 %) for sulfate and −1 % (−49 % to +223 %) for the aerosol optical thickness (AOT). These findings indicate that the differences in the secondary and tertiary products, such as the AOT, between the different horizontal grid spacings are not explained simply by the grid size. On a global scale, the subgrid variabilities in the simulated AOT and COT in the 1°×1° domain using 6-hourly data are estimated to be 28.5 % and 80.0 %, respectively, in the HRM, whereas the corresponding differences are 16.6 % and 22.9 % in the LRM. Over the Arctic, both the HRM and the LRM generally reproduce the observed aerosols, but the largest difference in the surface BC mass concentrations between the HRM and LRM reaches 30 % in spring (the HRM-simulated results are closer to the observations). The vertical distributions of the HRM- and LRM-simulated aerosols are generally close to the measurements, but the differences between the HRM and LRM results are large above a height of approximately 3 km, mainly due to differences in the wet deposition of the aerosols. The global annual averages of the direct and indirect aerosol radiative forcings (ARFs) attributed to anthropogenic aerosols in the HRM are estimated to be −0.29 Wm−2 and −0.93 Wm−2, respectively, whereas those in the LRM are −0.24 Wm−2 and −1.10 Wm−2. The differences in the direct ARF between the HRM and LRM are primarily caused by those in the aerosol burden, whereas the differences in the indirect ARF are primarily caused by those in the cloud expression and performance, which are attributed to the grid spacing. Because one-tenth of the computer resources are required for the LRM (56-km grid) compared to the HRM (14-km grid), we recommend that the various tuning parameters associated with the aerosol distributions using the LRM can be applicable to those using the HRM under the limitation of the available computational resources or before the HRM integration.

Daisuke Goto et al.

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Daisuke Goto et al.

Data sets

A data for aerosol simulations by NICAM.16 with 14-km and 56-km grid spacings Daisuke Goto, Yousuke Sato, Hisashi Yashiro, Kentaroh Suzuki, Eiji Oikawa, Rei Kudo, Takashi M. Nagao, Teruyuki Nakajima

Daisuke Goto et al.


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Latest update: 08 Jul 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We executed a global aerosol model over 3 years with the finest grid size in the world. The results elucidated that global annual averages of parameters associated with the aerosols were generally comparable to those obtained from a low-resolution model (LRM), but spatio-temporal variabilities of the aerosol components and their associated parameters provided better results and closer to the observations than those from the LRM. This study clarified the advantages of the high-resolution model.
We executed a global aerosol model over 3 years with the finest grid size in the world. The...