Sensitivity of Simulated Climate to Conservation of Momentum in Gravity Wave Drag Parameterization

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The Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model is used to examine the sensitivity of simulated climate to conservation of momentum in gravity wave drag parameterization. Momentum conservation requires that the parameterized gravity wave momentum flux at the top of the model be zero and corresponds to the physical boundary condition of no momentum flux at the top of the atmosphere. Allowing momentum flux to escape the model domain violates momentum conservation. Here the impact of momentum conservation in two sets of model simulations is investigated. In the first set, the simulation of present-day climate for two model-lid height configurations, 0.001 and 10 hPa, which are identical below 10 hPa, is considered. The impact of momentum conservation on the climate with the model lid at 0.001 hPa is minimal, which is expected because of the small amount of gravity wave momentum flux reaching 0.001 hPa. When the lid is lowered to 10 hPa and momentum is conserved, there is only a modest impact on the climate in the Northern Hemisphere; however, the Southern Hemisphere climate is more adversely affected by the deflection of resolved waves near the model lid. When momentum is not conserved in the 10-hPa model the climate is further degraded in both hemispheres, particularly in winter at high latitudes, and the impact of momentum conservation extends all the way to the surface. In the second set of simulations, the impact of momentum conservation and model-lid height on the modeled response to ozone depletion in the Southern Hemisphere is considered, and it is found that the response can display significant sensitivity to both factors. In particular, both the lower-stratospheric polar temperature and surface responses are significantly altered when the lid is lowered, with the effect being most severe when momentum is not conserved. The implications with regard to the current round of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model projections are discussed.