Volume 91A (2013) Pages 1-15
The Aqua-Planet Experiment (APE) was first proposed by Neale and Hoskins (2000a) as a benchmark for atmospheric general circulation models (AGCMs) on an idealised water-covered Earth. The experiment and its aims are summarised, and its context within a modelling hierarchy used to evaluate complex models and to provide a link between realistic simulation and conceptual models of atmospheric phenomena is discussed. The simplified aqua-planet configuration bridges a gap in the existing hierarchy. It is designed to expose differences between models and to focus attention on particular phenomena and their response to changes in the underlying distribution of sea surface temperature.