We discuss and test the potential usefulness of single-column models (SCMs) for the testing of stochastic physics schemes that have been proposed for use in general circulation models (GCMs). We argue that although single column tests cannot be definitive in exposing the full behaviour of a stochastic method in the full GCM, and although there are differences between SCM testing of deterministic and stochastic methods, SCM testing remains a useful tool. It is necessary to consider an ensemble of SCM runs produced by the stochastic method. These can be usefully compared to deterministic ensembles describing initial condition uncertainty and also to combinations of these (with structural model changes) into poor man's ensembles. The proposed methodology is demonstrated using an SCM experiment recently developed by the GCSS (GEWEX Cloud System Study) community, simulating transitions between active and suppressed periods of tropical convection
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