This paper describes an updated configuration of the regional coupled research system, termed UKC3, developed and evaluated under the UK Environmental Prediction collaboration. This represents a further step towards a vision of simulating the numerous interactions and feedbacks between different physical and biogeochemical components of the environment across sky, sea and land using more integrated regional coupled prediction systems at kilometre-scale resolution. The UKC3 coupled system incorporates models of the atmosphere (Met Office Unified Model), land surface with river routing (JULES), shelf-sea ocean (NEMO) and ocean surface waves (WAVEWATCH III®), coupled together using OASIS3-MCT libraries. The major update introduced since the UKC2 configuration is an explicit representation of wave–ocean feedbacks through introduction of wave-to-ocean coupling. Ocean model results demonstrate that wave coupling, in particular representing the wave-modified surface drag, has a small but positive improvement on the agreement between simulated sea surface temperatures and in situ observations, relative to simulations without wave feedbacks. Other incremental developments to the coupled modelling capability introduced since the UKC2 configuration are also detailed.
Coupled regional prediction systems are of interest for applications across a range of timescales, from hours to decades ahead. The first results from four simulation experiments, each of the order of 1 month in duration, are analysed and discussed in the context of characterizing the potential benefits of coupled prediction on forecast skill. Results across atmosphere, ocean and wave components are shown to be stable over time periods of weeks. The coupled approach shows notable improvements in surface temperature, wave state (in near-coastal regions) and wind speed over the sea, whereas the prediction quality of other quantities shows no significant improvement or degradation relative to the equivalent uncoupled control simulations.