The BRIDGE HadCM3 family of climate models: HadCM3@Bristol v1.0

Article, Other literature type English OPEN
Valdes, Paul J. ; Armstrong, Edward ; Badger, Marcus P. S. ; Bradshaw, Catherine D. ; Bragg, Fran ; Davies-Barnard, Taraka ; Day, Jonathan J. ; Farnsworth, Alex ; Hopcroft, Peter O. ; Kennedy, Alan T. ; Lord, Natalie S. ; Lunt, Dan J. ; Marzocchi, Alice ; Parry, Louise M. ; Roberts, William H. G. ; Stone, Emma J. ; Tourte, Gregory J. L. ; Williams, Jonny H. T. (2017)

Understanding natural and anthropogenic climate change processes involves using computational models that represent the main components of the Earth system: the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, and land surface. These models have become increasingly computationally expensive as resolution is increased and more complex process representations are included. However, to gain robust insight into how climate may respond to a given forcing, and to meaningfully quantify the associated uncertainty, it is often required to use either or both ensemble approaches and very long integrations. For this reason, more computationally efficient models can be very valuable tools. Here we provide a comprehensive overview of the suite of climate models based around the HadCM3 coupled general circulation model. This model was developed at the UK Met Office and has been heavily used during the last 15 years for a range of future (and past) climate change studies, but has now been largely superseded for many scientific studies by more recently developed models. However, it continues to be extensively used by various institutions, including the BRIDGE (Bristol Research Initiative for the Dynamic Global Environment) research group at the University of Bristol, who have made modest adaptations to the base HadCM3 model over time. These adaptations mean that the original documentation is not entirely representative, and several other relatively undocumented configurations are in use. We therefore describe the key features of a number of configurations of the HadCM3 climate model family, which together make up HadCM3@Bristol version 1.0. In order to differentiate variants that have undergone development at BRIDGE, we have introduced the letter B into the model nomenclature. We include descriptions of the atmosphere-only model (HadAM3B), the coupled model with a low-resolution ocean (HadCM3BL), the high-resolution atmosphere-only model (HadAM3BH), and the regional model (HadRM3B). These also include three versions of the land surface scheme. By comparing with observational datasets, we show that these models produce a good representation of many aspects of the climate system, including the land and sea surface temperatures, precipitation, ocean circulation, and vegetation. This evaluation, combined with the relatively fast computational speed (up to 1000 times faster than some CMIP6 models), motivates continued development and scientific use of the HadCM3B family of coupled climate models, predominantly for quantifying uncertainty and for long multi-millennial-scale simulations.
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