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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)
Publisher: European Geosciences Union
Languages: English
Types: Article
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 of 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 coupled general circulation model HadCM3. This model was originally 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 is now largely being replaced by more recent models. However, it continues to be extensively used by the BRIDGE (Bristol Research Initiative for the Dynamic Global Environment) research group at the University of Bristol and elsewhere. Over time, adaptations have been made to the base HadCM3 model. These adaptations mean that the original documentation is not entirely representative, and several other configurations are in use which now differ from the originally described model versions. We therefore describe the key features of a number of configurations of the HadCM3 climate model family, including the atmosphere-only model (HadAM3), the coupled model with a low resolution ocean (HadCM3L), the high resolution atmosphere only model (HadAM3H), the regional model (HadRM3) and a fast coupled model (FAMOUS), which together make up HadCM3@Bristol version 1.0. 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 2000× faster than some CMIP6 models), motivates continued development and scientific use of the HadCM3 family of coupled climate models, particularly for quantifying uncertainty and for long multi-millennial scale simulations.
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