Regional Arctic System Model (RASM): A Tool to Advance Understanding and Prediction of Arctic Climate Change at Process Scales

Friday, 19 December 2014: 2:40 PM
Wieslaw Maslowski1, Andrew Roberts1, Robert Osinski2, Michael Brunke3, John J Cassano4, Jaclyn L Clement Kinney1, Anthony Craig5, Alice Duvivier4, Brandon J Fisel6, William J Gutowski Jr6, Joe Hamman7, Mimi Hughes4, Bart Nijssen7 and Xubin Zeng3, (1)Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, United States, (2)The Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences, Sopot, Poland, (3)University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States, (4)Univ Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States, (5)Not affiliated, Seattle, WA, United States, (6)Iowa State University, Ames, IA, United States, (7)University of Washington, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Seattle, WA, United States
The Arctic is undergoing rapid climatic changes, which are some of the most coordinated changes currently occurring anywhere on Earth. They are exemplified by the retreat of the perennial sea ice cover, which integrates forcing by, exchanges with and feedbacks between atmosphere, ocean and land. While historical reconstructions from Global Climate and Global Earth System Models (GC/ESMs) are in broad agreement with these changes, the rate of change in the GC/ESMs remains outpaced by observations. Reasons for that stem from a combination of coarse model resolution, inadequate parameterizations, unrepresented processes and a limited knowledge of physical and other real world interactions.

We demonstrate the capability of the Regional Arctic System Model (RASM) in addressing some of the GC/ESM limitations in simulating observed seasonal to decadal variability and trends in the sea ice cover and climate. RASM is a high resolution, fully coupled, pan-Arctic climate model that uses the Community Earth System Model (CESM) framework. It uses the Los Alamos Sea Ice Model (CICE) and Parallel Ocean Program (POP) configured at an eddy-permitting resolution of 1/12° as well as the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) and Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) models at 50 km resolution. All RASM components are coupled via the CESM flux coupler (CPL7) at 20-minute intervals.

RASM is an example of limited-area, process-resolving, fully coupled earth system model, which due to the additional constraints from lateral boundary conditions and nudging within a regional model domain facilitates detailed comparisons with observational statistics that are not possible with GC/ESMs. In this talk, we will emphasize the utility of RASM to understand sensitivity to variable parameter space, importance of critical processes, coupled feedbacks and ultimately to reduce uncertainty in arctic climate change projections.