Arctic moisture intrusions have played an important role in warming the Arctic over the past few decades. A prior study found that Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) models exhibit large regional biases in the moisture flux across 70°N. It is shown here that the systematic misrepresentation of the moisture flux is related to the models' overprediction of zonal wavenumber k = 2 contribution and underprediction of k = 1 contribution to the flux. Models with a warmer tropical upper troposphere and El-Niño-like tropical surface temperature tend to simulate stronger k = 2 flux, while k = 1 flux is uncorrelated with tropical upper tropospheric temperature and is associated with La-Niña-like surface temperature. The models also overpredict the transient eddy moisture flux while underpredicting the stationary eddy flux. Moreover, future projections in Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) simulations show trends in moisture flux that is consistent with biases in historical simulations, suggesting that these CMIP5 projections reflect the same error(s) that cause the model biases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)