A Very High-Resolution General Circulation Model Simulation of the Global Circulation in Austral Winter

This paper discusses a simulation obtained with the GFDL "SKYHI" troposphere- stratosphere-mesosphere general circulation model (GCM) run at very high horizontal resolution (~60 km grid spacing) and without any parameterization of subgrid scale gravity wave drag (GWD). The results are for a period around Austral winter solstice, and the emphasis is on the simulated SH winter circulation. Comparisons are made with results obtained from lower horizontal resolution versions of the same model.

The focus in this paper is on two particularly striking features of the high resolution simulation: the extratropical surface winds and the winter polar middle atmospheric vortex. In the extratropical SH the simulated surface westerlies and meridional surface pressure gradients in the high resolution model are considerably stronger than observed, and are stronger than those simulated at lower horizontal resolution. In the middle atmosphere the high resolution model produces a simulation of the zonal-mean winter polar vortex which is considerably improved over that found with lower resolution models (although it is still significantly affected by the usual cold pole bias). Neither the improvement of the middle atmospheric polar vortex simulation, nor the deterioration of the simulation of surface winds with increased model resolution shows a clear convergence, even at the ~60 km grid spacing employed here.