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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  10 Sep 2020

10 Sep 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESD.

Assessment of a full-field initialised decadal climate prediction system with the CMIP6 version of EC-Earth

Roberto Bilbao1, Simon Wild1, Pablo Ortega1, Juan Acosta-Navarro1, Thomas Arsouze1, Pierre-Antoine Bretonnière1, Louis-Philippe Caron1, Miguel Castrillo1, Rubén Cruz-García1, Ivana Cvijanovic1, Francisco Javier Doblas-Reyes1,2, Markus Donat1, Emanuel Dutra3, Pablo Echevarría1, An-Chi Ho1, Saskia Loosveldt-Tomas1, Eduardo Moreno-Chamarro1, Núria Pérez-Zanon1, Arthur Ramos1, Yohan Ruprich-Robert1, Valentina Sicardi1, Etienne Tourigny1, and Javier Vegas-Regidor1 Roberto Bilbao et al.
  • 1Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Jordi Girona 29, 08034, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avanc ̧ats (ICREA), Passeig Lluis Companys 23, 08010, Barcelona, Spain
  • 3Instituto Dom Luiz, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal

Abstract. In this paper we present and evaluate the skill of the EC-Earth3.3 decadal prediction system contributing to the Decadal Climate Prediction Project - Component A (DCPP-A). This prediction system is capable of skilfully simulating past global mean surface temperature variations at interannual and decadal forecast times as well as the local surface temperature in regions such as the Tropical Atlantic, the Indian Ocean and most of the continental areas, although most of the skill comes from the representation of the externally forced trends. A benefit of initialisation in the predictive skill is evident in some areas of the Tropical Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans in the first forecast years, an added value that gets mostly confined to the south-east Tropical Pacific and the eastern Subpolar North Atlantic at the longest forecast times (6–10 years). The central Subpolar North Atlantic shows poor predictive skill and a detrimental effect of the initialisation due to the occurrence of an initialisation shock, itself related to a collapse in Labrador Sea convection by the third forecast year that leads to a rapid weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and excessive local sea ice growth. The shutdown in Labrador Sea convection responds to a gradual increase in the local density stratification in the first years of the forecast, ultimately related to the different paces at which surface and subsurface temperature and salinity drift towards their preferred mean state. This transition happens rapidly in the surface and more slowly in the subsurface, where, by the tenth forecast year, the model is still far from the typical mean states in the corresponding ensemble of historical simulations with EC-Earth3. Our study thus highlights the importance of the Labrador Sea for initialisation, the relevance of reducing model bias by model tuning or, preferably, model improvement when using full-field initialisation, and the need to identify optimal initialisation strategies.

Roberto Bilbao et al.

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Roberto Bilbao et al.

Data sets

CMIP6.DCPP.EC-Earth-Consortium.EC-Earth3.dcppA-hindcast EC-Earth Consortium (EC-Earth)

CMIP6.CMIP.EC-Earth-Consortium.EC-Earth3.historical EC-Earth Consortium (EC-Earth)

CMIP6.ScenarioMIP.EC-Earth-Consortium.EC-Earth3.ssp245 EC-Earth Consortium (EC-Earth)

Roberto Bilbao et al.


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Latest update: 28 Nov 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This paper presents and evaluates a set of retrospective decadal predictions with the EC-Earth3 climate model. These experiments successfully predict past changes in surface air temperature, but show poor predictive capacity in the Subpolar North Atlantic, a well-known source region of decadal climate variability. The poor predictive capacity is linked to an initial shock affecting the Atlantic Ocean circulation, ultimately due to a suboptimal representation of the Labrador Sea density.
This paper presents and evaluates a set of retrospective decadal predictions with the EC-Earth3...