Journal cover Journal topic
Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 1827-1851, 2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Methods for assessment of models
12 May 2016
Inconsistent strategies to spin up models in CMIP5: implications for ocean biogeochemical model performance assessment
Roland Séférian1, Marion Gehlen2, Laurent Bopp2, Laure Resplandy3,2, James C. Orr2, Olivier Marti2, John P. Dunne4, James R. Christian5, Scott C. Doney6, Tatiana Ilyina7, Keith Lindsay8, Paul R. Halloran9, Christoph Heinze10,11, Joachim Segschneider12, Jerry Tjiputra11, Olivier Aumont13, and Anastasia Romanou14,15 1CNRM, Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, Météo-France/CNRS, 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, 31057 Toulouse, France
2LSCE/IPSL, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, Orme des Merisiers, CEA/Saclay 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette CEDEX, France
3Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, La Jolla, CA, USA
4Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, NOAA, Princeton, NJ, USA
5Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Victoria, B.C., Canada
6Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA
7Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Bundesstraße 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
8Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
9College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, EX4 4RJ, UK
10Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
11Uni Research Climate, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
12Department of Geosciences, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany
13Sorbonne Universités (UPMC, Univ Paris 06)-CNRS-IRD-MNHN, LOCEAN-IPSL Laboratory, 4 Place Jussieu, 75005 Paris, France
14Dept. of Applied Math. and Phys., Columbia University, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025, USA
15NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
Abstract. During the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) substantial efforts were made to systematically assess the skill of Earth system models. One goal was to check how realistically representative marine biogeochemical tracer distributions could be reproduced by models. In routine assessments model historical hindcasts were compared with available modern biogeochemical observations. However, these assessments considered neither how close modeled biogeochemical reservoirs were to equilibrium nor the sensitivity of model performance to initial conditions or to the spin-up protocols. Here, we explore how the large diversity in spin-up protocols used for marine biogeochemistry in CMIP5 Earth system models (ESMs) contributes to model-to-model differences in the simulated fields. We take advantage of a 500-year spin-up simulation of IPSL-CM5A-LR to quantify the influence of the spin-up protocol on model ability to reproduce relevant data fields. Amplification of biases in selected biogeochemical fields (O2, NO3, Alk-DIC) is assessed as a function of spin-up duration. We demonstrate that a relationship between spin-up duration and assessment metrics emerges from our model results and holds when confronted with a larger ensemble of CMIP5 models. This shows that drift has implications for performance assessment in addition to possibly aliasing estimates of climate change impact. Our study suggests that differences in spin-up protocols could explain a substantial part of model disparities, constituting a source of model-to-model uncertainty. This requires more attention in future model intercomparison exercises in order to provide quantitatively more correct ESM results on marine biogeochemistry and carbon cycle feedbacks.

Citation: Séférian, R., Gehlen, M., Bopp, L., Resplandy, L., Orr, J. C., Marti, O., Dunne, J. P., Christian, J. R., Doney, S. C., Ilyina, T., Lindsay, K., Halloran, P. R., Heinze, C., Segschneider, J., Tjiputra, J., Aumont, O., and Romanou, A.: Inconsistent strategies to spin up models in CMIP5: implications for ocean biogeochemical model performance assessment, Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 1827-1851,, 2016.
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This paper explores how the large diversity in spin-up protocols used for ocean biogeochemistry in CMIP5 models contributed to inter-model differences in modeled fields. We show that a link between spin-up duration and skill-score metrics emerges from both individual IPSL-CM5A-LR's results and an ensemble of CMIP5 models. Our study suggests that differences in spin-up protocols constitute a source of inter-model uncertainty which would require more attention in future intercomparison exercises.
This paper explores how the large diversity in spin-up protocols used for ocean biogeochemistry...