Development and Validation of the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model With Thermosphere and Ionosphere Extension (WACCM-X 2.0)


Key developments have been made to the NCAR Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model with thermosphere and ionosphere extension (WACCM-X). Among them, the most important are the self-consistent solution of global electrodynamics, and transport of O+ in the F-region. Other ionosphere developments include time-dependent solution of electron/ion temperatures, metastable O+ chemistry, and high-cadence solar EUV capability. Additional developments of the thermospheric components are improvements to the momentum and energy equation solvers to account for variable mean molecular mass and specific heat, a new divergence damping scheme, and cooling by O(3P) fine structure. Simulations using this new version of WACCM-X (2.0) have been carried out for solar maximum and minimum conditions. Thermospheric composition, density, and temperatures are in general agreement with measurements and empirical models, including the equatorial mass density anomaly and the midnight density maximum. The amplitudes and seasonal variations of atmospheric tides in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere are in good agreement with observations. Although global mean thermospheric densities are comparable with observations of the annual variation, they lack a clear semiannual variation. In the ionosphere, the low-latitude E \texttimes B drifts agree well with observations in their magnitudes, local time dependence, seasonal, and solar activity variations. The prereversal enhancement in the equatorial region, which is associated with ionospheric irregularities, displays patterns of longitudinal and seasonal variation that are similar to observations. Ionospheric density from the model simulations reproduces the equatorial ionosphere anomaly structures and is in general agreement with observations. The model simulations also capture important ionospheric features during storms.

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Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
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