UK-HiGEM: The New U.K. High Resolution Global Environment Model – Model description and basic evaluation
This article describes the development and evaluation of the U.K.'s new High-Resolution Global Environmental Model (HiGEM), which is based on the latest climate configuration of the Met Office Unified Model, known as the Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model, version 1 (HadGEM1). In HiGEM, the horizontal resolution has been increased to 0.83° latitude × 1.25° longitude for the atmosphere, and 1/3° × 1/3° globally for the ocean. Multidecadal integrations of HiGEM, and the lower-resolution HadGEM, are used to explore the impact of resolution on the fidelity of climate simulations.Generally, SST errors are reduced in HiGEM. Cold SST errors associated with the path of the North Atlantic drift improve, and warm SST errors are reduced in upwelling stratocumulus regions where the simulation of low-level cloud is better at higher resolution. The ocean model in HiGEM allows ocean eddies to be partially resolved, which dramatically improves the representation of sea surface height variability. In the Southern Ocean, most of the heat transports in HiGEM is achieved by resolved eddy motions, which replaces the parameterized eddy heat transport in the lower-resolution model. HiGEM is also able to more realistically simulate small-scale features in the wind stress curl around islands and oceanic SST fronts, which may have implications for oceanic upwelling and ocean biology.Higher resolution in both the atmosphere and the ocean allows coupling to occur on small spatial scales. In particular, the small-scale interaction recently seen in satellite imagery between the atmosphere and tropical instability waves in the tropical Pacific Ocean is realistically captured in HiGEM. Tropical instability waves play a role in improving the simulation of the mean state of the tropical Pacific, which has important implications for climate variability. In particular, all aspects of the simulation of ENSO (spatial patterns, the time scales at which ENSO occurs, and global teleconnections) are much improved in HiGEM.