Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 18531-18564, 2012
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Influence of model resolution on the atmospheric transport of 10Be
U. Heikkilä and A. M. Smith
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Australia

Abstract. Understanding the transport path of the solar activity proxy 10Be from source to archive is crucial for the interpretation of its observed variability. The extent of mixing of the strong production signal has been quantified in a previous study (Heikkilä et al., 2009). In this study we perform sensitivity studies to investigate the influence of model resolution on the level of mixing and transport path of 10Be in the atmosphere using the ECHAM5-HAM aerosol-climate model. This study permits us to choose an acceptable resolution, and so minimum CPU time, to produce physically accurate reconstructions. Four model resolutions are applied: T21L19: a coarse horizontal and vertical resolution with model top at ca. 30 km, T42L31: an average horizontal and fine vertical one, T42L39: similar vertical resolution than L19 but including the middle atmosphere up to ca. 80 km and T63L47: a fine resolution horizontally and vertically with middle atmosphere. Comparison with observations suggests that a finer vertical resolution might be beneficial, although the spread between observations was much larger than between the four model runs. A full validation of the resolutions is not possible with the limited number of observations available. In terms of atmospheric mixing the differences became more distinguishable. All resolutions agreed that the main driver of deposition variability is the stratospheric 10Be (total contribution 68%) which is transported into the troposphere at latitudes 30–50°. In the troposphere the model resolutions deviated largely in the dispersion of the stratospheric component over latitude. The finest resolution (T63L47) predicted the least dispersion towards low latitudes but the most towards the poles, whereas the coarsest resolution (T21L19) suggested the opposite. The tropospheric components of 10Be differed less between the four model runs. The largest differences were found in the polar tropospheric components, which contribute the least to total production (~4%). We conclude that the use of the T42 horizontal resolution seems to be sufficient in terms of atmospheric mixing of a stratospheric tracer. The use of the middle atmospheric configuration is a trade-off between correctly describing stratospheric dynamics and having to reduce vertical resolution. The use of a high vertical resolution seemed more beneficial than the middle atmospheric configuration in this study.

Citation: Heikkilä, U. and Smith, A. M.: Influence of model resolution on the atmospheric transport of 10Be, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 18531-18564, doi:10.5194/acpd-12-18531-2012, 2012.
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