Analyses of atmospheric heat and moisture budgets serve as an effective tool to study convective characteristics over a region and to provide large‐scale forcing fields for various modeling applications. This paper examines two popular methods for computing large‐scale atmospheric budgets: the conventional budget method (CBM) using objectively gridded analyses based primarily on radiosonde data and the constrained variational analysis (CVA) approach which supplements vertical profiles of atmospheric fields with measurements at the top of the atmosphere and at the surface to conserve mass, water, energy, and momentum. Successful budget computations are dependent on accurate sampling and analyses of the thermodynamic state of the atmosphere and the divergence field associated with convection and the large‐scale circulation that influences it. Utilizing analyses generated from data taken during Dynamics of the Madden‐Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO) field campaign conducted over the central Indian Ocean from October to December 2011, we evaluate the merits of these budget approaches and examine their limitations. While many of the shortcomings of the CBM, in particular effects of sampling errors in sounding data, are effectively minimized with CVA, accurate large‐scale diagnostics in CVA are dependent on reliable background fields and rainfall constraints. For the DYNAMO analyses examined, the operational model fields used as the CVA background state provided wind fields that accurately resolved the vertical structure of convection in the vicinity of Gan Island. However, biases in the model thermodynamic fields were somewhat amplified in CVA resulting in a convective environment much weaker than observed.
This paper provides a comprehensive derivation of the total energy equations for the atmospheric components of Earth System Models (ESMs). The assumptions and approximations made in this derivation are motivated and discussed. In particular, it is emphasized that closing the energy budget is conceptually challenging and hard to achieve in practice without resorting to ad hoc fixers. As a concrete example, the energy budget terms are diagnosed in a realistic climate simulation using a global atmosphere model. The largest total energy errors in this example are spurious dynamical core energy dissipation, thermodynamic inconsistencies (e.g., coupling parameterizations with the host model) and missing processes/terms associated with falling precipitation and evaporation (e.g., enthalpy flux between components). The latter two errors are not, in general, reduced by increasing horizontal resolution. They are due to incomplete thermodynamic and dynamic formulations. Future research directions are proposed to reconcile and improve thermodynamics formulations and conservation principles.more » « less
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- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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- Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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