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Modelling Caribbean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Trends

Paper Reviewed
Ryu, J.-H. and Hayhoe, K. 2015. Regional and large-scale influences on seasonal to interdecadal variability in Caribbean surface air temperature in CMIP5 simulations. Climate Dynamics 45: 455-475.

Introducing their work, Ryu and Hayhoe (2015) say they evaluated "the ability of global climate models participating in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) to reproduce observed seasonality and inter-annual variability of temperature over the Caribbean." And what did their efforts reveal about the subject?

The two U.S. researchers report that in most coupled model simulations (1) "boreal summer temperature lags observations by about one month," with (2) "a similar lag in the simulated annual cycle of sea surface temperature (SST)," that there is also (3,4) "a systematic cold bias in both climatological annual mean air temperature and SST," as well as (5) "a tendency for models to over-emphasize the influence of SSTs on near-surface temperature," which bias (6) "may be exacerbated by model tendency to over-estimate ocean mixed layer depth," ultimately suggesting that (7) "an over-estimate in ocean heat storage capacity may be driving both the lag and the overall cold bias in SST and air temperature in the Caribbean."

In concluding their paper, Ryu and Hayhoe suggest that the type of analysis they conducted in the case of the Caribbean Sea "could be extended and applied to surrounding regions such as the South Central U.S., the Southeast U.S., and the northern coast of South America." And who knows but where else it may be needed throughout the world.

Posted 16 September 2015