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Southern Ocean Response to Strengthening Winds in an Eddy-Permitting Global Climate Model

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  • 1 Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • | 2 Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Environment Canada, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  • | 3 School of Earth and Ocean Science, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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Abstract

A global climate model with horizontal resolutions in the ocean ranging from relatively coarse to eddy permitting is used to investigate the resolution dependence of the Southern Ocean response to poleward intensifying winds through the past and present centuries. The higher-resolution simulations show poleward migration of distinct ocean fronts associated with a more highly localized near-surface temperature response than in the lower-resolution simulations. The higher-resolution simulations also show increasing southward eddy heat transport, less high-latitude cooling, and greater sea ice loss than the lower-resolution simulations. For all resolutions, from relatively coarse to eddy permitting, there is poleward migration of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in the Atlantic and the western half of the Indian basin. Finally, zonal transports associated with the Antarctic Circumpolar Current are shown to be sensitive to resolution, and this is discussed in the context of recent observed change.

Corresponding author address: Paul Spence, SEOS, University of Victoria, 3800 Finnerty Road, P.O. Box 3065, STN CSC, Victoria, BC V8W 3V6, Canada. Email: paul.spence@ccrc.unsw.edu.au

Abstract

A global climate model with horizontal resolutions in the ocean ranging from relatively coarse to eddy permitting is used to investigate the resolution dependence of the Southern Ocean response to poleward intensifying winds through the past and present centuries. The higher-resolution simulations show poleward migration of distinct ocean fronts associated with a more highly localized near-surface temperature response than in the lower-resolution simulations. The higher-resolution simulations also show increasing southward eddy heat transport, less high-latitude cooling, and greater sea ice loss than the lower-resolution simulations. For all resolutions, from relatively coarse to eddy permitting, there is poleward migration of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in the Atlantic and the western half of the Indian basin. Finally, zonal transports associated with the Antarctic Circumpolar Current are shown to be sensitive to resolution, and this is discussed in the context of recent observed change.

Corresponding author address: Paul Spence, SEOS, University of Victoria, 3800 Finnerty Road, P.O. Box 3065, STN CSC, Victoria, BC V8W 3V6, Canada. Email: paul.spence@ccrc.unsw.edu.au

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