The enhancement of warming rates with elevation, so-called elevation-dependent warming (EDW), is one of the regional, still not completely understood, expressions of global warming. Sentinels of climate and environmental changes, mountains have experienced more rapid and intense warming trends in the recent decades, leading to serious impacts on mountain ecosystems and downstream. In this paper we use a state-of-the-art Global Climate Model (EC-Earth) to investigate the impact of model spatial resolution on the representation of this phenomenon and to highlight possible differences in EDW and its causes in different mountain regions of the Northern Hemisphere. To this end we use EC-Earth climate simulations at five different spatial resolutions, from approximate to 125 to approximate to 16 km, to explore the existence and the driving mechanisms of EDW in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the Greater Alpine Region and the Tibetan Plateau-Himalayas. Our results show that the more frequent EDW drivers in all regions and seasons are the changes in albedo and in downward thermal radiation and this is reflected in both daytime and nighttime warming. In the Tibetan Plateau-Himalayas and in the Greater Alpine Region, an additional driver is the change in specific humidity. We also find that, while generally the model shows no clear resolution dependence in its ability to simulate the existence of EDW in the different regions, specific EDW characteristics such as its intensity and the relative role of different driving mechanisms may be different in simulations performed at different spatial resolutions. Moreover, we find that the role of internal climate variability can be significant in modulating the EDW signal, as suggested by the spread found in the multi-member ensemble of the EC-Earth experiments which we use.
Elevation-dependent warming in global climate model simulations at high spatial resolution / Palazzi, Elisa; Mortarini, Luca; Terzago, Silvia; von Hardenberg, Jost. - In: CLIMATE DYNAMICS. - ISSN 0930-7575. - 52:5-6(2019), pp. 2685-2702. [10.1007/s00382-018-4287-z]
|Titolo:||Elevation-dependent warming in global climate model simulations at high spatial resolution|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00382-018-4287-z|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|