Surface heat flux parameterization and the response of ocean general circulation models to high-latitude freshening

Power, S. B. and Kleeman, R. (1994) Surface heat flux parameterization and the response of ocean general circulation models to high-latitude freshening. Tellus. Series A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography, 46 (1). pp. 86-95. ISSN 0280-6495

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Abstract

A global ocean general circulation model (OGCM) is forced using mixed boundary conditions (i.e. a restoring condition on the upper level temperature but using a fixed, specified surface salt flux). A freshwater flux anomaly is then applied over the western half of the sub-polar gyre in the northern North Atlantic. The response of the model is found to be dependent upon the details of the parameterization of the surface heat flux: In particular the “coupling strength” or Haney relaxation time is crucial. Responses range from a halocline catastrophe at short relaxation times (strong coupling) to a very modest perturbation at longer relaxation times (weaker coupling). An accurate parameterization is therefore required to properly model the evolution of the response. It is uncertain that the restorative condition is sufficiently realistic, especially in cases where a significantly different climatology is obtained. It is possible, for example, that the evolution could move from an unstable trajectory to a stable one if the parameters in the heat flux formulation are also allowed to evolve. This might help to explain why OGCMs under mixed boundary conditions are more sensitive than the observations suggest they should be. When a recovery does occur it does so on decadal time scales. It is therefore tempting to speculate that the positive feedback on the initial perturbation provided by the heat flux response plays a central role in the dynamics of North Atlantic variability, in a manner that is analogous to the wind-stress feedback in the El Ni±o, Southern Oscillation.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2022 22:51
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2022 04:17
Uncontrolled Keywords: heat-flux; ocean; surface; North Atlantic; global ocean general circulation model (OGCM)
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0405 Oceanography > 040503 Physical Oceanography
Fields of Research (2020): 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370201 Climate change processes
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3708 Oceanography > 370803 Physical oceanography
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960310 Global Effects of Climate Change and Variability (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) ""
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1905 Understanding climate change > 190507 Global effects of climate change (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) (excl. social impacts)
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180506 Oceanic processes (excl. in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean)
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0870.1994.00008.x
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/44927

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