Climate model simulation of the South Indian Ocean Convergence Zone: mean state and variability

Lazenby, Melissa J, Todd, Martin C and Wang, Yi (2016) Climate model simulation of the South Indian Ocean Convergence Zone: mean state and variability. Climate Research, 68 (1). pp. 59-71. ISSN 0936-577X

[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (2MB)
[img] PDF - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (340kB)


Evaluation of climate model performance at regional scales is essential in determining confidence in simulations of present and future climate. Here we developed a process-based approach focussing on the South Indian Ocean Convergence Zone (SIOCZ), a large-scale, austral summer rainfall feature extending across southern Africa into the southwest Indian Ocean. Simulation of the SIOCZ was evaluated for the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Comparison was made between CMIP5 and Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) models to diagnose sources of biases associated with coupled ocean-atmosphere processes. Models were assessed in terms of mean SIOCZ characteristics and processes of interannual variability. Most models simulated a SIOCZ feature, but were typically too zonally oriented. A systematic bias of excessive precipitation was found over southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, but not particularly along the SIOCZ. Excessive precipitation over the continent may be associated with excessively high low-level moisture flux around the Angola Low found in most models, which is almost entirely due to circulation biases in models. AMIP models represented precipitation more realistically over the Indian Ocean, implying a potential coupling error. Interannual variability in the SIOCZ was evaluated through empirical orthogonal function analysis, where results showed a clear dipole pattern, indicative of a northeast-southwest movement of the SIOCZ. The drivers of this shift were significantly related to the El Niño Southern Oscillation and the subtropical Indian Ocean dipole in observations. However, the models did not capture these teleconnections well, limiting our confidence in model representation of variability.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: CMIP5, ENSO, Ensemble, Teleconnection, Model evaluation, South Indian Ocean Convergence Zone, SIOCZ, Southern Africa, December-January-February, DJF
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex Sustainability Research Programme
Subjects: L Education
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Nikoleta Kiapidou
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2016 09:52
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2017 20:41

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update
Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Uncertainty reduction in Models For Understanding deveLopment Applications (UMFULA)G1671NERC-NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCILNE/M020258/1