CMIP5 global climate model simulations
Assessment of the CMIP5 global climate model simulations of the western tropical Pacific climate system and comparison to CMIP3
A set of 27 global climate models from the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) ensemble are assessed for their performance for the purpose of making future climate projection studies in the western tropical Pacific and differences to Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3) are assessed. The CMIP5 models show some improvements upon CMIP3 in the simulation of the climate in the western tropical Pacific in the late 20th century. There are fewer CMIP5 models with very poor skill scores than in CMIP3 for some measures and a
small group of the well-performing models in CMIP5 have lower biases than in an equivalent group from CMIP3. These best-performing models could be particularly informative for studying certain climate sensitivities and feedbacks in the region.
There is evidence to reject one model as unsuitable for making regional climate projections in the region, and another two models unsuitable for analysis of the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ). However, while there have been improvements, many of the systematic model biases in the mean climate in CMIP3 are also present in the CMIP5 models. They are primarily related to the shape of the transition between the Indo-Pacific warm pool and equatorial cold tongue, and the associated biases in the position and orientation of the SPCZ and Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, as well as in the spatial pattern, variability and teleconnections of the West Pacific monsoon, and the simulation of El Ni˜no Southern Oscillation. Overall, the results show that careful interpretation and consideration of biases is required when using CMIP5 outputs for generating regional climate projections for the western tropical Pacific, particularly at the country scale, just as there was with CMIP3.