Steric sea level change in twentieth century historical climate simulation and IPCC-RCP8.5 scenario projection: A comparison of two versions of FGOALS model

Research paper by Lu Dong, Tianjun Zhou

Indexed on: 17 Apr '13Published on: 17 Apr '13Published in: Advances in Atmospheric Sciences


To reveal the steric sea level change in 20th century historical climate simulations and future climate change projections under the IPCC’s Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) scenario, the results of two versions of LASG/IAP’s Flexible Global Ocean-Atmosphere-Land System model (FGOALS) are analyzed. Both models reasonably reproduce the mean dynamic sea level features, with a spatial pattern correlation coefficient of 0.97 with the observation. Characteristics of steric sea level changes in the 20th century historical climate simulations and RCP8.5 scenario projections are investigated. The results show that, in the 20th century, negative trends covered most parts of the global ocean. Under the RCP8.5 scenario, global-averaged steric sea level exhibits a pronounced rising trend throughout the 21st century and the general rising trend appears in most parts of the global ocean. The magnitude of the changes in the 21st century is much larger than that in the 20th century. By the year 2100, the global-averaged steric sea level anomaly is 18 cm and 10 cm relative to the year 1850 in the second spectral version of FGOALS (FGOALS-s2) and the second grid-point version of FGOALS (FGOALS-g2), respectively. The separate contribution of the thermosteric and halosteric components from various ocean layers is further evaluated. In the 20th century, the steric sea level changes in FGOALS-s2 (FGOALS-g2) are largely attributed to the thermosteric (halosteric) component relative to the pre-industrial control run. In contrast, in the 21st century, the thermosteric component, mainly from the upper 1000 m, dominates the steric sea level change in both models under the RCP8.5 scenario. In addition, the steric sea level change in the marginal sea of China is attributed to the thermosteric component.