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CR 15:95-108 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/cr015095

Use of Baltic Sea modelling to investigate the water cycle and the heat balance in GCM and regional climate models

A. Omstedt1,2,*, B. Gustafsson2, J. Rodhe2, G. Walin2

1Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, 60176 Norrköping, Sweden
2Department of Earth Sciences, University of Göteborg, Earth Sciences Centre, Box 460, 40530 Göteborg, Sweden

ABSTRACT: Results from the first simulations with the Rossby Centre regional climate atmosphere (RCA) model were used to force 2 versions of process-oriented models of the Baltic Sea‹one time-dependent, the other considering the mean state. The purpose was primarily to obtain a first scenario of the future state of the Baltic Sea. In addition, we looked at this exercise as a method to evaluate the consistency of the water cycle and the heat balance produced by atmospheric climate models. The RCA model is a high-resolution atmospheric regional model which is forced with lateral conditions from a global model. A large-scale Baltic drainage basin hydrological model, forced by the RCA model, was used to simulate river runoff. Using RCA model data from the control run we found that that the temperature and ice conditions in the Baltic Sea were reasonably realistic while the salinity field was poorly reproduced. We conclude that the modelling of the water cycle needs considerable improvement. We also conclude that the time for the Baltic Sea to respond to the water cycle is much longer than the integration period so far used with the RCA model. Forcing the ocean models with RCA model data from a future scenario with an enhanced greenhouse effect gives an increased sea-surface temperature and a much reduced extent of ice in the Baltic Sea due to climate warming. Also the salinity is reduced, which implies possible serious effects on the future marine life in the Baltic Sea. The results demonstrate that accurate atmospheric modelling of not only the heat balance but also the water cycle is crucial for Baltic Sea climate simulations.

KEY WORDS: Baltic Sea · Climate change · Temperature · Sea ice

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