• Open Access

Tropical cyclones in the spectral element configuration of the Community Atmosphere Model



This paper explores the evolution of idealized tropical cyclones in the Community Atmosphere Model CAM 5 with the spectral element (SE) dynamical core at grid spacings of 111, 55 and 28 km. Over 10 simulation days the storms become increasingly intense and compact with increasing resolution. The experiments reveal unrealistically strong tropical cyclone intensities of minimum surface pressures ranging from 845 to 865 hPa and absolute maximum wind speeds greater than 100 m s−1 at the highest resolution, especially when small physics time steps are used. This unphysical behavior is related to the manner in which the physics time step is applied in CAM 5. The analysis indicates that the behavior of the physics parameterizations, namely the partitioning between convective and large-scale precipitation, at small time steps contributes to this intensity. Copyright © 2012 Royal Meteorological Society