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The Southern Ocean and Its Climate in CCSM4

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  • 1 * Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico
  • | 2 The New Mexico Consortium, Los Alamos, New Mexico
  • | 3 Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, CSIRO, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  • | 4 CSIRO Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  • | 5 Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida
  • | 6 ** Department of Physical Oceanography, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  • | 7 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

The new Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4), provides a powerful tool to understand and predict the earth’s climate system. Several aspects of the Southern Ocean in the CCSM4 are explored, including the surface climatology and interannual variability, simulation of key climate water masses (Antarctic Bottom Water, Subantarctic Mode Water, and Antarctic Intermediate Water), the transport and structure of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and interbasin exchange via the Agulhas and Tasman leakages and at the Brazil–Malvinas Confluence. It is found that the CCSM4 has varying degrees of accuracy in the simulation of the climate of the Southern Ocean when compared with observations. This study has identified aspects of the model that warrant further analysis that will result in a more comprehensive understanding of ocean–atmosphere–ice dynamics and interactions that control the earth’s climate and its variability.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Current affiliation: Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Corresponding author address: Wilbert Weijer, CCS-2, MS B296, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545. E-mail: wilbert@lanl.gov

This article is included in the CCSM4 Special Collection.

Abstract

The new Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4), provides a powerful tool to understand and predict the earth’s climate system. Several aspects of the Southern Ocean in the CCSM4 are explored, including the surface climatology and interannual variability, simulation of key climate water masses (Antarctic Bottom Water, Subantarctic Mode Water, and Antarctic Intermediate Water), the transport and structure of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and interbasin exchange via the Agulhas and Tasman leakages and at the Brazil–Malvinas Confluence. It is found that the CCSM4 has varying degrees of accuracy in the simulation of the climate of the Southern Ocean when compared with observations. This study has identified aspects of the model that warrant further analysis that will result in a more comprehensive understanding of ocean–atmosphere–ice dynamics and interactions that control the earth’s climate and its variability.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Current affiliation: Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Corresponding author address: Wilbert Weijer, CCS-2, MS B296, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545. E-mail: wilbert@lanl.gov

This article is included in the CCSM4 Special Collection.

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