The earth system model of intermediate complexity CLIMBER-3α. Part I: description and performance for present-day conditions

Research paper by Marisa Montoya, Alexa Griesel, Anders Levermann, Juliette Mignot, Matthias Hofmann, Andrey Ganopolski, Stefan Rahmstorf

Indexed on: 12 Jul '05Published on: 12 Jul '05Published in: Climate Dynamics


We herein present the CLIMBER-3α Earth System Model of Intermediate Complexity (EMIC), which has evolved from the CLIMBER-2 EMIC. The main difference with respect to CLIMBER-2 is its oceanic component, which has been replaced by a state-of-the-art ocean model, which includes an ocean general circulation model (GCM), a biogeochemistry module, and a state-of-the-art sea-ice model. Thus, CLIMBER-3α includes modules describing the atmosphere, land-surface scheme, terrestrial vegetation, ocean, sea ice, and ocean biogeochemistry. Owing to its relatively simple atmospheric component, it is approximately two orders of magnitude faster than coupled GCMs, allowing the performance of a much larger number of integrations and sensitivity studies as well as longer ones. At the same time its oceanic component confers on it a larger degree of realism compared to those EMICs which include simpler oceanic components. The coupling does not include heat or freshwater flux corrections. The comparison against the climatologies shows that CLIMBER-3α satisfactorily describes the large-scale characteristics of the atmosphere, ocean and sea ice on seasonal timescales. As a result of the tracer advection scheme employed, the ocean component satisfactorily simulates the large-scale oceanic circulation with very little numerical and explicit vertical diffusion. The model is thus suited for the study of the large-scale climate and large-scale ocean dynamics. We herein describe its performance for present-day boundary conditions. In a companion paper (Part II), the sensitivity of the model to variations in the external forcing, as well as the role of certain model parameterisations and internal parameters, will be analysed.