ERA-20CM: a twentieth century atmospheric model ensemble

ERA-20CM: a twentieth century atmospheric model ensemble
Date Published
ERA Report Series
Document Number
Hans Hersbach
C. Peubey
P. Poli
D.P. Dee
P. Berrisford
Event Series/Collection
ERA Report
Abstract This paper describes an ensemble of ten atmospheric model integrations for the years 1899 to 2009, performed at ECMWF. Horizontal spectral resolution is T159 (about 125 km in grid-point space), using 91 levels in the vertical from the surface up to 1 Pa, and a time step of one hour. This ensemble, denoted by ERA-20CM, forms the first step toward a 20th century reanalysis within ERA-CLIM, a three-year European funded project involving nine partners. Sea-surface temperature and sea-ice cover are prescribed by an ensemble of realizations (HadISST2), as recently produced by the Met Office Hadley Centre within ERA-CLIM. Variations in these realizations reflect uncertainties in the available observational sources on which this product is based. Forcing terms in the model radiation scheme follow CMIP5 recommendations. Any effect of their uncertainty is neglected. These terms include solar forcing, greenhouse gases, ozone and aerosols. Both the ocean-surface and radiative forcing incorporate a proper long-term evolution of climate trends in the 20th century, and the occurrence of major events, such as the El Nino-Southern Oscillations and volcanic eruptions. No atmospheric observations were assimilated. For this reason ERA-20CM is not able to reproduce actual synoptic situations. The ensemble is, however, able to provide a statistical estimate of the climate. Overall, the temperature rise over land is in fair agreement with the CRUTEM4 observational product. Over the last two decades the warming over land exceeds the warming over sea, which is consistent with models participating in the CMIP5 project, as well with the ECMWF ERA-Interim reanalysis. Some aspects of warming and of the hydrological cycle are discerned, and the model response to volcanic eruptions is qualitatively correct. The results of ERA-20CM are freely available, embracing monthly-mean fields for many geophysical parameters, and synoptic fields for a small, essential subset.