Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2679
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2679
22 Dec 2023
 | 22 Dec 2023

Using variable-resolution grids to model precipitation from atmospheric rivers around the Greenland ice sheet

Annelise Waling, Adam Herrington, Katharine Duderstadt, Jack Dibb, and Elizabeth Burakowski

Abstract. Atmospheric rivers (ARs) are synoptic-scale features that transport moisture poleward and have been shown to cause short duration, high-volume melt events on the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS). This project investigates the effectiveness of variable-resolution (VR) grids in modeling ARs and their subsequent precipitation around the GrIS using a study period of 1 January 1979 to 31 December 1998. VR simulations from the Community Earth System Model (CESM2.2) bridge the gap between limitations of global climate models and regional climate models while maximizing computational efficiency. VR grids improve the representation of ARs, in part by resolving small-scale processes. ARs from CESM2.2 simulations using three grid types (VR, latitude-longitude, and quasi-uniform) with varying resolutions are compared to output of ERA5 and MERRA2 observation-based reanalysis products.

The VR grids produce ARs with smaller areal extents and lower integrated precipitation over the GrIS compared to latitude-longitude and quasi-uniform grids. We hypothesize that the smaller areal extents in VR grids are produced by the refined topography resolved in these grids. In contrast, smoothing from coarser resolution latitude-longitude and quasi-uniform grids allow ARs to penetrate further inland on the GrIS. The reduced areal extent in VR grids also likely contributes to the lower area-integrated cumulative precipitation, whereas the area-average cumulative precipitation is similar for VR, latitude-longitude, and quasi-uniform grids. The VR grids most closely match the AR overlap extent and precipitation in ERA5 and MERRA2, suggesting the most realistic behavior among the three configurations.

Annelise Waling, Adam Herrington, Katharine Duderstadt, Jack Dibb, and Elizabeth Burakowski

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2679', Anonymous Referee #1, 29 Dec 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2679', Anonymous Referee #2, 29 Jan 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2679', Anonymous Referee #3, 31 Jan 2024
  • AC1: 'Response to our reviewers from co-authors', Annelise Waling, 01 Mar 2024
Annelise Waling, Adam Herrington, Katharine Duderstadt, Jack Dibb, and Elizabeth Burakowski

Model code and software

storms-greenland Adam Herrington and Annelise Waling https://github.com/adamrher/storms-greenland

Annelise Waling, Adam Herrington, Katharine Duderstadt, Jack Dibb, and Elizabeth Burakowski

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Short summary
Atmospheric rivers (ARs) are channel-shaped features within the atmosphere that carry moisture from the mid-latitudes to the poles, bringing warm temperatures and moisture that can cause melt in the Arctic. We used variable resolution grids to model ARs around the Greenland ice sheet and compared this output to uniform resolution grids and reanalysis products. We found that the variable-resolution grids produced ARs and precipitation more similar to observation-based products.