Multimodel assessment of the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere: Extratropics



[1] A multimodel assessment of the performance of chemistry-climate models (CCMs) in the extratropical upper troposphere/lower stratosphere (UTLS) is conducted for the first time. Process-oriented diagnostics are used to validate dynamical and transport characteristics of 18 CCMs using meteorological analyses and aircraft and satellite observations. The main dynamical and chemical climatological characteristics of the extratropical UTLS are generally well represented by the models, despite the limited horizontal and vertical resolution. The seasonal cycle of lowermost stratospheric mass is realistic, however with a wide spread in its mean value. A tropopause inversion layer is present in most models, although the maximum in static stability is located too high above the tropopause and is somewhat too weak, as expected from limited model resolution. Similar comments apply to the extratropical tropopause transition layer. The seasonality in lower stratospheric chemical tracers is consistent with the seasonality in the Brewer-Dobson circulation. Both vertical and meridional tracer gradients are of similar strength to those found in observations. Models that perform less well tend to use a semi-Lagrangian transport scheme and/or have a very low resolution. Two models, and the multimodel mean, score consistently well on all diagnostics, while seven other models score well on all diagnostics except the seasonal cycle of water vapor. Only four of the models are consistently below average. The lack of tropospheric chemistry in most models limits their evaluation in the upper troposphere. Finally, the UTLS is relatively sparsely sampled by observations, limiting our ability to quantitatively evaluate many aspects of model performance.