Postdoctoral researcher and WCE meteorologist Jan Lenaerts has been awarded a NWO Veni grant. From 2015 onwards he will use this grant to further improve snow physics in CESM. Congratulations Jan!
Figure: Sea surface temperature (colours), sea-ice concentration (whites) and atmospheric winds and surface pressure (vectors and lines, respectively from an earlier version of CESM. This project will improve the representation of snow cover above land, which is not shown here (Source: UCAR).
Understanding ongoing and future changes in Earth’s Polar Regions requires the use of an autonomous and fully coupled model framework. However, such models usually lack realistic snow physics. In this project, a high-resolution snow model will be implemented in the state-of-the-art Community Earth System Model (CESM), allowing better representation of snow processes and their interactions with soil, vegetation and land ice.
CESM will be run with full coupling between land, ocean and atmosphere, globally and at very high resolution (0.25°) for the historical period (1850-now), and compared with available in-situ, regional climate model and remote-sensing datasets. Next, CESM will be forced by a high-end (RCP 8.5) global warming scenario until 2200. These results will allow exploration of the full range of present-day and future climate interactions in the Polar Regions, and their feedbacks to the other regions of Earth. Future land ice loss and snow cover dynamics will be quantified, putting constraints on their contribution to sea level rise and impacts on the global hydrological cycle.