Predicting chaotic climates: from Earth to super-Earths?


PL Read

PyCCSM: Prototyping a python-based community climate system model

ANZIAM Journal 48 (2010) C1112-C1130

M Tobis, M Steder, J Walter Larson, RT Pierrehumbert, RL Jacob, ET Ong

© Austral. Mathematical Soc. 2010. Coupled climate models are multiphysics models comprising multi-ple separately developed codes that are combined into a single physical system. This composition of codes is amenable to a scripting solution, and Python is a language that offers many desirable properties for this task. We have prototyped a Python coupling and control infrastruc-ture for version 3.0 of the Community Climate System Model (ccsm3). Our objective was to improve dramatically ccsm3's already exible coupling facilities to enable research uses of the model not currently supported. We report the progress in the first steps in this effort: the construction of Python bindings for the Model Coupling Toolkit, a key piece of third-party coupling middleware used in ccsm3, and a Python-based ccsm3 coupler (pypcl) application. We report prelim-inary performance results for this new system, which we call pyccsm. We find pyccsm is significantly slower than its Fortran counterpart, and explain how pypcl's performance may be improved to support production runs. We believe our results augur well for the use of Python in the top-level coupling and organisation of large parallel multiphysics and multiscale applications.

Mudball: Surface dust and Snowball Earth deglaciation


DS Abbot, RT Pierrehumbert

Assessing eddy parameterization schemes in a differentially heated rotating annulus experiment

Ocean Modelling 32 (2010) 118-131

E Pérez-Pérez, PL Read, IM Moroz

We investigate three of the most common hypotheses underpinning parameterizations of baroclinic eddy fluxes in the context of the differentially heated rotating annulus experiment. The investigation is carried out over a region of parameter space which embraces the onset of baroclinic instability, the regular wave regime and the onset of irregular flows, the latter of which is arguably most relevant to oceanic conditions. Through diagnostics from a 2D axisymmetric and a 3D eddy-resolving numerical model, it was found that the transport of heat by baroclinic eddies is not strictly an adiabatic process but that diffusive 'ventilation' of the flow in the thermal boundary layers is significant during the nonlinear development of the flow. Total heat transport, however, is conserved overall. Depending on the stages of flow evolution and on the region in parameter space under consideration, either heat, quasi-geostrophic potential vorticity (QGPV) or relative vorticity (QGRV) may become a suitable variable on which to parameterize baroclinic eddy fluxes in a down-gradient manner. These results raise issues for eddy parameterization schemes that rely on these assumptions in ocean and atmosphere models. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.

A bulk cloud parameterization in a Venus General Circulation Model

ICARUS 206 (2010) 662-668

C Lee, SR Lewis, PL Read

A laboratory model of Saturn's North Polar Hexagon

Icarus 206 (2010) 755-763

AC Barbosa Aguiar, PL Read, RD Wordsworth, T Salter, Y Hiro Yamazaki

A hexagonal structure has been observed at ∼76°N on Saturn since the 1980s (Godfrey, D.A. [1988]. Icarus 76, 335-356). Recent images by Cassini (Baines, K., Momary, T., Roos-Serote, M., Atreya, S., Brown, R., Buratti, B., Clark, R., Nicholson, P. [2007]. Geophys. Res. Abstr. 9, 02109; Baines, K., Momary, T., Fletcher, L., Kim, J., Showman, A., Atreya, S., Brown, R., Buratti, B., Clark, R., Nicholson, P. [2009]. Geophys. Res. Abstr. 11, 3375) have shown that the feature is still visible and largely unchanged. Its long lifespan and geometry has puzzled the planetary physics community for many years and its origin remains unclear. The measured rotation rate of the hexagon may be very close to that of the interior of the planet (Godfrey, D.A. [1990]. Science 247, 1206-1208; Caldwell, J., Hua, X., Turgeon, B., Westphal, J.A., Barnet, C.D. [1993]. Science 206, 326-329; Sánchez-Lavega, A., Lecacheux, J., Colas, F., Laques, P. [1993]. Science 260, 329-332), leading to earlier interpretations of the pattern as a stationary planetary wave, continuously forced by a nearby vortex (Allison, M., Godfrey, D.A., Beebe, R.F. [1990]. Science 247, 1061-1063). Here we present an alternative explanation, based on an analysis of both spacecraft observations of Saturn and observations from laboratory experiments where the instability of quasi-geostrophic barotropic (vertically uniform) jets and shear layers is studied. We also present results from a barotropic linear instability analysis of the saturnian zonal wind profile, which are consistent with the presence of the hexagon in the North Pole and absence of its counter-part in the South Pole. We propose that Saturn's long-lived polygonal structures correspond to wavemodes caused by the nonlinear equilibration of barotropically unstable zonal jets. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Sensitivity of stable water isotopic values to convective parameterization schemes


J-E Lee, R Pierrehumbert, A Swann, BR Lintner

Global warming, convective threshold and false thermostats


IN Williams, RT Pierrehumbert, M Huber

The impact of methane thermodynamics on seasonal convection and circulation in a model Titan atmosphere

ICARUS 203 (2009) 250-264

JL Mitchell, RT Pierrehumbert, DMW Frierson, R Caballero

Saturn's rotation period from its atmospheric planetary-wave configuration

NATURE 460 (2009) 608-610

PL Read, TE Dowling, G Schubert

Gyrokinetic simulations of spherical tokamaks

Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 51 (2009)

CM Roach, IG Abel, RJ Akers, W Arter, M Barnes, Y Camenen, FJ Casson, G Colyer, JW Connor, SC Cowley, D Dickinson, W Dorland, AR Field, W Guttenfelder, GW Hammett, RJ Hastie, E Highcock, NF Loureiro, AG Peeters, M Reshko, S Saarelma, AA Schekochihin, M Valovic, HR Wilson

This paper reviews transport and confinement in spherical tokamaks (STs) and our current physics understanding of this that is partly based on gyrokinetic simulations. Equilibrium flow shear plays an important role, and we show how this is consistently included in the gyrokinetic framework for flows that greatly exceed the diamagnetic velocity. The key geometry factors that influence the effectiveness of turbulence suppression by flow shear are discussed, and we show that toroidal equilibrium flow shear can sometimes entirely suppress ion scale turbulence in today's STs. Advanced nonlinear simulations of electron temperature gradient (ETG) driven turbulence, including kinetic ion physics, collisions and equilibrium flow shear, support the model that ETG turbulence can explain electron heat transport in many ST discharges. © 2009 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Saturn atmospheric structure and dynamics

in Saturn from Cassini-Huygens, Springer Verlag (2009) 113-159

AD Del Genio, RK Achterberg, KH Baines, FM Flasar, PL Read, A Sanchez-Lavega, AP Showman

Saturn inhabits a dynamical regime of rapidly rotating, internally heated atmospheres similar to Jupiter. Zonal winds have remained fairly steady since the time of Voyager except in the equatorial zone and slightly stronger winds occur at deeper levels. Eddies supply energy to the jets at a rate somewhat less than on Jupiter and mix potential vorticity near westward jets. Convective clouds exist preferentially in cyclonic shear regions as on Jupiter but also near jets, including major outbreaks near 35°S associated with Saturn electrostatic discharges, and in sporadic giant equatorial storms perhaps generated from frequent events at depth. The implied meridional circulation at and below the visible cloud tops consists of upwelling (downwelling) at cyclonic (anti-cyclonic) shear latitudes. Thermal winds decay upward above the clouds, implying a reversal of the circulation there. Warm-core vortices with associated cyclonic circulations exist at both poles, including surrounding thick high clouds at the south pole. Disequilibrium gas concentrations in the tropical upper troposphere imply rising motion there. The radiative-convective boundary and tropopause occur at higher pressure in the southern (summer) hemisphere due to greater penetration of solar heating there. A temperature "knee" of warm air below the tropopause, perhaps due to haze heating, is stronger in the summer hemisphere as well. Saturn's south polar stratosphere is warmer than predicted by radiative models and enhanced in ethane, suggesting subsidence-driven adiabatic warming there. Recent modeling advances suggest that shallow weather layer theories of jet pumping may be viable if water condensation is the source of energy input driving the flow, and that deep convective cylinder models with a sufficiently large tangent cylinder radius can reproduce observed flow features as well.

Mapping potential vorticity dynamics on saturn: Zonal mean circulation from Cassini and Voyager data

Planetary and Space Science 57 (2009) 1682-1698

PL Read, BJ Conrath, LN Fletcher, PJ Gierasch, AA Simon-Miller, LC Zuchowski

Maps of Ertel potential vorticity on isentropic surfaces (IPV) and quasi-geostrophic potential vorticity (QGPV) are well established in dynamical meteorology as powerful sources of insight into dynamical processes involving 'balanced' flow (i.e. geostrophic or similar). Here we derive maps of zonal mean IPV and QGPV in Saturn's upper troposphere and lower stratosphere by making use of a combination of velocity measurements, derived from the combined tracking of cloud features in images from the Voyager and Cassini missions, and thermal measurements from the Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) instrument. IPV and QGPV are mapped and compared for the entire globe between latitudes 89{ring operator} S - 82{ring operator} N. As on Jupiter, profiles of zonally averaged PV show evidence for a step-like "stair-case" pattern suggestive of local PV homogenisation, separated by strong PV gradients in association with eastward jets. The northward gradient of PV (IPV or QGPV) is found to change sign in several places in each hemisphere, however, even when baroclinic contributions are taken into account. The stability criterion with respect to Arnol'd's second stability theorem may be violated near the peaks of westward jets. Visible, near-IR and thermal-IR Cassini observations have shown that these regions exhibit many prominent, large-scale eddies and waves, e.g. including 'storm alley'. This suggests the possibility that at least some of these features originate from instabilities of the background zonal flow. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.

Low-order dynamical behavior in the martian atmosphere: Diagnosis of general circulation model results

Icarus 204 (2009) 48-62

O Martínez-Alvarado, IM Moroz, PL Read, SR Lewis, L Montabone

The hypothesis of a low dimensional martian climate attractor is investigated by the application of the proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) to a simulation of martian atmospheric circulation using the UK Mars general circulation model (UK-MGCM). In this article we focus on a time series of the interval between autumn and winter in the northern hemisphere, when baroclinic activity is intense. The POD is a statistical technique that allows the attribution of total energy (TE) to particular structures embedded in the UK-MGCM time-evolving circulation. These structures are called empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs). Ordering the EOFs according to their associated energy content, we were able to determine the necessary number to account for a chosen amount of atmospheric TE. We show that for Mars a large fraction of TE is explained by just a few EOFs (with 90% TE in 23 EOFs), which apparently support the initial hypothesis. We also show that the resulting EOFs represent classical types of atmospheric motion, such as thermal tides and transient waves. Thus, POD is shown to be an efficient method for the identification of different classes of atmospheric modes. It also provides insight into the non-linear interaction of these modes. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Modeling Jupiter's cloud bands and decks. 1. Jet scale meridional circulations

Icarus 200 (2009) 548-562

LC Zuchowski, YH Yamazaki, PL Read

We have investigated the formation of jet scale meridional circulation cells on Jupiter in response to radiative and zonal momentum forcing. In the framework of semi-geostrophic theory, the meridional streamfunction is described by an elliptic equation with a source term dependent on the sum of the latitudinal derivative of the radiative forcing and the vertical derivative of the zonal momentum forcing. Using this equation with analytic terms similar to the assumed forcing on Jupiter, we obtained two set of atmospheric circulations cells, a stratospheric and a tropospheric one. A possible shift in the overturning circulation of the high and deep atmosphere can be induced by breaking the latitudinal alignment of radiative heating with the enforced belt and zones. A series of numerical simulations was conducted with the Jovian GCM OPUS, which was initiated with observational data obtained from the Cassini CIRS temperature cross-section and a corresponding geostrophic zonal wind field. Newtonian forcing of potential temperature as well as zonal momentum was applied respectively towards latitudinally and vertically uniform equilibrium fields. In accordance with the analytic illustrations two rows of jet scale circulation cells were created. The stratospheric circulation showed the distribution of upwelling over zones and downwelling over belts, consistent with cloud observations. The tropospheric cells featured a partial reversal of the downward vertical velocity over the belts and a considerable reduction of the upward movement over the zones in the domain, consistent with recent detections of high water clouds and lightning in belts. We also used the modeled new forcing fields as source terms for the semi-geostrophic Poisson equation to attribute the origin of the modeled secondary circulation. In this analysis, the stratospheric circulation cells observed in the model are primarily generated in response to radiative forcing, while momentum forcing induces the shifted configurations in the deep atmosphere. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Saturn's exploration beyond cassini-huygens

in Saturn from Cassini-Huygens, (2009) 745-761

T Guillot, S Atreya, S Charnoz, MK Dougherty, P Read

For its beautiful rings, active atmosphere and mysterious magnetic field, Saturn is a fascinating planet. It also holds some of the keys to understanding the formation of our Solar System and the evolution of giant planets in general. While the exploration by the Cassini-Huygens mission has led to great advances in our understanding of the planet and its moons, it has left us with puzzling questions: What is the bulk composition of the planet? Does it have a helium core? Is it enriched in noble gases like Jupiter? What powers and controls its gigantic storms? We have learned that we can measure an outer magnetic field that is filtered from its non-axisymmetric components, but what is Saturn's inner magnetic field? What are the rings made of and when were they formed? These questions are crucial in several ways: a detailed comparison of the compositions of Jupiter and Saturn is necessary to understand processes at work during the formation of these two planets and of the Solar System: was the pro-tosolar disk progressively photoevaporated of its hydrogen and helium while forming its planets? Did Jupiter and Saturn form at the same time from cores of similar masses? Saturn is also a unique laboratory for studying the meteorology of a planet in which, in contrast to the Earth, the vapor of any condensing species (in particular water) is heavier than the surrounding air. A precise measurement of its magnetic field is needed to constrain dynamo theories and apply it to other contexts, from our Earth to extrasolar planets. Finally, the theory behind the existence of its rings is still to be confirmed, and has consequences for a variety of subjects from theories of accretion of grains to the study of physical mechanisms at work in protoplanetary systems. All in all, this calls for the continued exploration of the second largest planet in our Solar System, with a variety of means including remote observations and space missions. Measurements of gravity and magnetic fields very close to the planet's cloud tops would be extremely valuable. Very high spatial resolution images of the rings would provide details on their structure and the material that form them. Last but not least, one or several probes sent into the atmosphere of the planet would provide the critical measurements that would allow a detailed comparison with the same measurements at Jupiter. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

A heat engine based moist convection parametrization for Jupiter

Planetary and Space Science 57 (2009) 1525-1537

LC Zuchowski, PL Read, YH Yamazaki, NO Renno

We have developed a parametrization of Jovian moist convection based on a heat engine model of moist convection. In comparison to other moist convection schemes, this framework allows the computation of the total available convective energy TCAPE and the corresponding mass flux M as dynamic variables from the mean atmospheric state. The effects of this parametrization have been investigated both analytically and numerically. In agreement with previous numerical experiments and observations, the inclusion of moist convection leads to heat and water vapor transport from the water condensation level into higher altitudes. The time development of the modeled convective events was found to be strongly influenced by a rapid reduction of kinetic energy and a subsequent lowering of the cumulus tower's top in response to convective heating. We have tested the sensitivity of the scheme to different variations in the fractional cloud coverage and under the inclusion of external radiative forcing towards a stable/unstable temperature profile. While the time development of convective events differs in response to these variations, the general moist convective heating and moistening of the upper troposphere was a robust feature observed in all experiments. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.

Transient teleconnection event at the onset of a planet-encircling dust storm on Mars

Annales Geophysicae 27 (2009) 3663-3676

O Martínez-Alvarado, L Montabone, SR Lewis, IM Moroz, PL Read

We use proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) to study a transient teleconnection event at the onset of the 2001 planet-encircling dust storm on Mars, in terms of empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs). There are several differences between this and previous studies of atmospheric events using EOFs. First, instead of using a single variable such as surface pressure or geopotential height on a given pressure surface, we use a dataset describing the evolution in time of global and fully three-dimensional atmospheric fields such as horizontal velocity and temperature. These fields are produced by assimilating Thermal Emission Spectrometer observations from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft into a Mars general circulation model. We use total atmospheric energy (TE) as a physically meaningful quantity which weights the state variables. Second, instead of adopting the EOFs to define teleconnection patterns as planetary-scale correlations that explain a large portion of long time-scale variability, we use EOFs to understand transient processes due to localised heating perturbations that have implications for the atmospheric circulation over distant regions. The localised perturbation is given by anomalous heating due to the enhanced presence of dust around the northern edge of the Hellas Planitia basin on Mars. We show that the localised disturbance is seemingly restricted to a small number (a few tens) of EOFs. These can be classified as low-order, transitional, or high-order EOFs according to the TE amount they explain throughout the event. Despite the global character of the EOFs, they show the capability of accounting for the localised effects of the perturbation via the presence of specific centres of action. We finally discuss possible applications for the study of terrestrial phenomena with similar characteristics.

Radiative transfer in CO2-rich paleoatmospheres


I Halevy, RT Pierrehumbert, DP Schrag

The mars climate database (version 4.3)

SAE Technical Papers (2009)

E Millour, F Forget, F González-Galindo, A Spiga, S Lebonnois, SR Lewis, L Montabone, PL Read, MA López-Valverde, G Gilli, F Lefèvre, F Montmessin, MC Desjean, JP Huot

The Mars Climate Database (MCD) is a database of meteorological fields derived from General Circulation Model (GCM) numerical simulations of the Martian atmosphere and validated using available observational data. The MCD is freely distributed and intended to be useful and used in the framework of engineering applications as well as in the context of scientific studies which require accurate knowledge of the state of the Martian atmosphere. Current applications include entry descent and landing (EDL) studies for future missions (ExoMars, MSL), investigations of some specific Martian issues (via coupling of the MCD with homemade codes), analysis of observations (Earth-based as well as with various instruments onboard Mars Express and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter),. Copyright © 2009 SAE International.