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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-257
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-257
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Dec 2018

Research article | 06 Dec 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Regional Grid Refinement in an Earth System Model: Impacts on the Simulated Greenland Surface Mass Balance

Leonardus van Kampenhout1, Alan M. Rhoades2, Adam R. Herrington3, Colin M. Zarzycki4, Jan T. M. Lenaerts5, William J. Sacks4, and Michiel R. van den Broeke1 Leonardus van Kampenhout et al.
  • 1Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • 2Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley CA, USA
  • 3Stony Brook University, Stony Brook NY, USA
  • 4National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder CO, USA
  • 5Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder CO, USA

Abstract. In this study, the resolution dependence of the simulated Greenland Ice Sheet surface mass balance in the variable-resolution Community Earth System Model (VR-CESM) is investigated. Coupled atmosphere-land simulations are performed on three regionally refined grids over Greenland at 1° (~111km), 0.5°(~55km), and 0.25° (~28km), maintaining a quasi-uniform resolution of 1° (~111km) over the rest of the globe. The SMB in the accumulation zone is significantly improved compared to airborne radar and in-situ observations, with a general wetting at the margins and a drying in the interior GrIS. Total precipitation decreases with resolution, which is in line with best-available regional climate model results. In the ablation zone, VR-CESM starts developing a positive SMB bias in some locations. Potential driving mechanisms are proposed, amongst which are diversions in large scale circulation, changes in cloud cover, and changes in summer snowfall. Overall, our results demonstrate that VR-CESM is a viable new tool in the cryospheric sciences and can be used to dynamically downscale future scenarios and/or be interactively coupled to dynamical ice sheet models.

Leonardus van Kampenhout et al.
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Leonardus van Kampenhout et al.
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Short summary
A global climate model capable of regional grid refinement (VR-CESM) is applied to the Greenland Ice Sheet. Such a model may be used to translate anthropogenic climatic warming into sea level rise estimates, in particular the surface mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet. In this study, however, the model is applied to the recent past (1980–1999) and evaluated using observational data.
A global climate model capable of regional grid refinement (VR-CESM) is applied to the Greenland...
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