Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Summer and winter climates simulated with the ECMWF (cycle 33) model at spectral scales T21, T42, T63 and T106 are analyzed to determine the impact of changes in horizontal resolution on atmospheric water vapor, clouds, convection, and precipitation. Qualitative changes in many moist processes occur in the transition from T21 to T42, especially in the tropics; at higher resolutions mostly incremental variations from patterns established at T42 result. Large-scale tropical moist processes are simulated more realistically at T21 than at finer resolutions, possibly reflecting a mismatch between the finer-scale dynamics and the scales at which the underlying assumptions of the physical parameterizations apply. Global precipitation increases monotonically with resolution, as a consequence of increasing convection. Global cloud cover, however, decreases in the transition from T21 to T42 due to drying of the tropics, but then increases slightly at finer resolutions. These small global increases are an outcome of compensating changes in different regions: decreases in cloud cover due to drying of the atmosphere at low latitudes are offset by high-latitude increases resulting from enhanced relative humidity associated with an intensifying atmospheric cold bias at finer resolutions.
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