Comparisons of GCM and observed surface wind fields over the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans

N. E. Graham, T. P. Barnett, R. M. Chervin, M. E. Schlesinger, U. Schlese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The first analysis concerns the annual cycles of the tropical wind fields simulated by versions of the GCM at the Oregon State University (OSU), European Centre for Medium Range Forecasts (ECMWF), and National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). These models have similar horizontal resolutions but vary widely in vertical resolution. There are substantial differences in model performance, and there are also clear similarities in their behaviour. Each GCM did best in major trade wind regions and somewhat poorly in convectively active areas with light winds. A second analysis examines the response of the NCAR GCM, in terms of tropical Pacific wind stress, to prescribed SST anomalies over the period 1961-1982. The model response to SST anomalies associated with the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) was distinct and in some respects resembled that of the real atmosphere. An analysis of the discrepancies suggests that while the trapped equatorial Kelvin wave response of an ocean model coupled to this GCM would be qualitatively correct, differences in the GCM and observed forcing fields would result in large errors away from the equator. Tests with the Florida State University model of the tropical Pacific support this conclusion. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)760-788
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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