Miller, A. J., M. Collins, S. Gualdi, T. G. Jensen,
V. Misra, L. P. Pezzi, D. W. Pierce,
D. Putrasahan, H. Seo and Y.-H. Tseng, 2017:
Coupled ocean-atmosphere modeling and predictions
The Science of Ocean Prediction, The Sea, Volume 17, N. Pinardi, P. Lermusiaux and K. Brink, eds., in press.
The ocean exerts a strong influence on the atmospheric circulation and precipitation,
both due to the oceanic mean state and its anomalies. These influences occur throughout
the ocean and extend over land and affect many time scales of variability, including
monsoons, El-Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), decadal modes and the response to
greenhouse gas emissions. Global coupled climate models are needed to represent and
understand the complicated processes involved and allow us to make predictions over
land and sea. Regional coupled climate models are needed to enhance our interpretation
of the fine-scale response.
This chapter focuses on the fundamental ideas of coupling between the oceanatmosphere-
land system, particularly as it affects precipitation, in both global and
regional contexts. While other chapters discuss shorter time scales (daily to seasonal), we
focus here on interannual to decadal variations of the large-scale system. We also discuss
how those large-scale, low-frequency variations can influence shorter timescale
variations and how the system can be downscaled to understand local impacts.
Our goal here is to summarize key aspects of the current state of global and regional
climate models, focusing on their ability to represent dynamical and precipitation
processes on interannual, decadal and global-warming timescales, in which the influence
of the oceans is relevant and the potential for predictability is emphasized.