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Xiaoli Wang, Peter H. Stone, and Jochem Marotzke

Abstract

A global ocean general circulation model of idealized geometry, combined with an atmospheric model based on observed transports of heat, momentum, and moisture, is used to explore the sensitivity of the global conveyor belt circulation to the surface freshwater fluxes, in particular the effects of meridional atmospheric moisture transports. The numerical results indicate that the equilibrium strength of the North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) formation increases as the global freshwater transports increase. However, the global deep water formation—that is, the sum of the NADW and the Southern Ocean Deep Water formation rates—is relatively insensitive to changes of the freshwater flux.

Perturbations to the meridional moisture transports of each hemisphere identify equatorially asymmetric effects of the freshwater fluxes. The results are consistent with box model results that the equilibrium NADW formation is primarily controlled by the magnitude of the Southern Hemisphere freshwater flux. However, the results show that the Northern Hemisphere freshwater flux has a strong impact on the transient behavior of the North Atlantic overturning. Increasing this flux leads to a collapse of the conveyor belt circulation, but the collapse is delayed if the Southern Hemisphere flux also increases. The perturbation experiments also illustrate that the rapidity of collapse is affected by random fluctuations in the wind stress field.

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Xiaoli Wang, Peter H. Stone, and Jochem Marotzke

Abstract

A hybrid coupled ocean–atmosphere model is used to investigate the stability of the thermohaline circulation (THC) to an increase in the surface freshwater forcing in the presence of interactive meridional transports in the atmosphere. The ocean component is the idealized global general circulation model used in Part I. The atmospheric model assumes fixed latitudinal structure of the heat and moisture transports, and the amplitudes are calculated separately for each hemisphere from the large-scale sea surface temperature (SST) and SST gradient, using parameterizations based on baroclinic stability theory. The ocean–atmosphere heat and freshwater exchanges are calculated as residuals of the steady-state atmospheric budgets.

Owing to the ocean component’s weak heat transport, the model has too strong a meridional SST gradient when driven with observed atmospheric meridional transports. When the latter are made interactive, the conveyor belt circulation collapses. A flux adjustment is introduced in which the efficiency of the atmospheric transports is lowered to match the too low efficiency of the ocean component.

The feedbacks between the THC and both the atmospheric heat and moisture transports are positive, whether atmospheric transports are interactive in the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere, or both. However, the feedbacks operate differently in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, because the Pacific THC dominates in the Southern Hemisphere, and deep water formation in the two hemispheres is negatively correlated. The feedbacks in the two hemispheres do not necessarily reinforce each other because they have opposite effects on low-latitude temperatures. The model is qualitatively similar in stability to one with conventional “additive” flux adjustment, but quantitatively more stable.

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Peter H. Stone and Mao-Sung Yao

Abstract

A number of perpetual January simulations are carried out with a two-dimensional (2-D) zonally averaged model employing various parameterizations of the eddy fluxes of heat (potential temperature) and moisture. The parameterizations are evaluated by comparing these results with the eddy fluxes calculated in a parallel simulation using a three-dimensional (3-D) general circulation model with zonally symmetric forcing. The 3-D model's performance in turn is evaluated by comparing its results using realistic (nonsymmetric) boundary conditions with observations.

Branscome's parameterization of the meridional eddy flux of heat and Leovy's parameterization of the meridional eddy flux of moisture simulate the seasonal and latitudinal variations of these fluxes reasonably well, while somewhat underestimating their magnitudes. In particular, Branscome's parameterization underestimates the vertically integrated flux of heat by about 30%, mainly because it misses out the secondary peak in this flux near the tropopause; and Leovy's parameterization of the meridional eddy flux of moisture underestimates the magnitude of this flux by about 20%. The analogous parameterizations of the vertical eddy fluxes of heat and moisture are found to perform much more poorly, i.e., they give fluxes only one quarter to one half as strong as those calculated in the 3-D model. New parameterizations of the vertical eddy fluxes are developed that take into account the enhancement of the eddy mixing slope in a growing baroclinic wave due to condensation, and also the effect of eddy fluctuations in relative humidity. The new parameterizations, when tested in the 2-D model, simulate the seasonal, latitudinal, and vertical variations of the vertical eddy fluxes quite well, when compared with the 3-D model, and only underestimate the magnitude of the fluxes by 10% to 20%.

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Andrei P. Sokolov, Chris E. Forest, and Peter H. Stone

Abstract

The transient response of both surface air temperature and deep ocean temperature to an increasing external forcing strongly depends on climate sensitivity and the rate of the heat mixing into the deep ocean, estimates for both of which have large uncertainty. In this paper a method for estimating rates of oceanic heat uptake for coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation models from results of transient climate change simulations is described. For models considered in this study, the estimates vary by a factor of 2½. Nevertheless, values of oceanic heat uptake for all models fall in the range implied by the climate record for the last century. It is worth noting that the range of the model values is narrower than that consistent with observations and thus does not provide a full measure of the uncertainty in the rate of oceanic heat uptake.

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Fabio Dalan, Peter H. Stone, and Andrei P. Sokolov

Abstract

The sensitivity of the ocean’s climate to the diapycnal diffusivity in the ocean is studied for a global warming scenario in which CO2 increases by 1% yr−1 for 75 yr. The thermohaline circulation slows down for about 100 yr and recovers afterward, for any value of the diapycnal diffusivity. The rates of slowdown and of recovery, as well as the percentage recovery of the circulation at the end of 1000-yr integrations, are variable, but a direct relation with the diapycnal diffusivity cannot be found. At year 70 (when CO2 has doubled) an increase of the diapycnal diffusivity from 0.1 to 1.0 cm2 s−1 leads to a decrease in surface air temperature of about 0.4 K and an increase in sea level rise of about 4 cm. The steric height gradient is divided into thermal component and haline component. It appears that, in the first 60 yr of simulated global warming, temperature variations dominate the salinity ones in weakly diffusive models, whereas the opposite occurs in strongly diffusive models.

The analysis of the vertical heat balance reveals that deep-ocean heat uptake is due to reduced upward isopycnal diffusive flux and parameterized-eddy advective flux. Surface warming, induced by enhanced CO2 in the atmosphere, leads to a reduction of the isopycnal slope, which translates into a reduction of the above fluxes. The amount of reduction is directly related to the magnitude of the isopycnal diffusive flux and parameterized-eddy advective flux at equilibrium. These latter fluxes depend on the thickness of the thermocline at equilibrium and hence on the diapycnal diffusion. Thus, the increase of deep-ocean heat uptake with diapycnal diffusivity is an indirect effect that the latter parameter has on the isopycnal diffusion and parameterized-eddy advection.

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Fabio Dalan, Peter H. Stone, Igor V. Kamenkovich, and Jeffery R. Scott

Abstract

The diapycnal diffusivity in the ocean is one of the least known parameters in current climate models. Measurements of this diffusivity are sparse and insufficient for compiling a global map. Inferences from inverse methods and energy budget calculations suggest as much as a factor of 5 difference in the global mean value of the diapycnal diffusivity. Yet, the climate is extremely sensitive to the diapycnal diffusivity. In this paper the sensitivity of the current climate to the diapycnal diffusivity is studied, focusing on the changes occurring in the ocean circulation. To this end, a coupled model with a three-dimensional ocean with idealized geometry is used.

The results show that, at equilibrium, the strength of the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic scales with the 0.44 power of the diapycnal diffusivity, in contrast to the theoretical value based on scaling arguments for uncoupled models of 2/3. On the other hand, the strength of the circulation in the South Pacific scales with the 0.63 power of the diapycnal diffusivity in closer accordance with the theoretical value.

The vertical heat balance in the global ocean is controlled by, in the downward direction, (i) advection and (ii) diapycnal diffusion; in the upward direction, (iii) isopycnal diffusion and (iv) parameterized mesoscale eddy [Gent–McWilliams (GM)] advection. The size of the latter three fluxes increases with diapycnal diffusivity, because the thickness of the thermocline also increases with diapycnal diffusivity leading to greater isopycnal slopes at high latitudes, and hence, enhanced isopycnal diffusion and GM advection. Thus larger diapycnal diffusion is compensated for by changes in isopycnal diffusion and GM advection. Little change is found for the advective flux because of compensation between downward and upward advection.

Sensitivity results are presented for the hysteresis curve of the thermohaline circulation. The stability of the climate system to slow freshwater perturbations is reduced as a consequence of a smaller diapycnal diffusivity. This result is consistent with the findings of two-dimensional climate models. However, contrary to the results of these studies, a common threshold for the shutdown of the thermohaline circulation is not found in this model.

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Boyin Huang, Peter H. Stone, Andrei P. Sokolov, and Igor V. Kamenkovich

Abstract

The deep-ocean heat uptake (DOHU) in transient climate changes is studied using an ocean general circulation model (OGCM) and its adjoint. The model configuration consists of idealized Pacific and Atlantic basins. The model is forced with the anomalies of surface heat and freshwater fluxes from a global warming scenario with a coupled model using the same ocean configuration. In the global warming scenario, CO2 concentration increases 1% yr−1. The heat uptake calculated from the coupled model and from the adjoint are virtually identical, showing that the heat uptake by the OGCM is a linear process.

After 70 yr the ocean heat uptake is almost evenly distributed within the layers above 200 m, between 200 and 700 m, and below 700 m (about 20 × 1022 J in each). The effect of anomalous surface freshwater flux on the DOHU is negligible. Analysis of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP-2) data for the same global warming scenario shows that qualitatively similar results apply to coupled atmosphere–ocean GCMs.

The penetration of surface heat flux to the deep ocean in the OGCM occurs mainly in the North Atlantic and the Southern Ocean, since both the sensitivity of DOHU to the surface heat flux and the magnitude of anomalous surface heat flux are large in these two regions. The DOHU relies on the reduction of convection and Gent–McWilliams–Redi mixing in the North Atlantic, and the reduction of Gent–McWilliams–Redi mixing in the Southern Ocean.

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Boyin Huang, Peter H. Stone, Andrei P. Sokolov, and Igor V. Kamenkovich

Abstract

The ocean heat uptake (OHU) is studied using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ocean general circulation model (OGCM) with idealized ocean geometry. The OGCM is coupled with a statistical–dynamic atmospheric model. The simulation of OHU in the coupled model is consistent with other coupled ocean–atmosphere GCMs in a transient climate change when CO2 concentration increases by 1% yr–1. The global average surface air temperature increases by 1.7°C at the time of CO2 concentration doubling (year 70). The ocean temperature increases by about 1.0°C near the surface, 0.1°C at 1000 m in the Pacific, and 0.3°C in the Atlantic. The maximum overturning circulation (MOTC) in the Atlantic at 1350 m decreases by about 4.5 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s–1). The center of MOTC drifts upward about 300 m, and therefore a large OTC anomaly (14 Sv) is found at 2700 m. The MOTC recovers gradually, but the OTC anomaly at 2700 m does not seem to recover after CO2 concentration is kept constant during 400-yr simulation period.

The diagnosis of heat flux convergence anomaly indicates that the warming in the lower latitudes of the Atlantic is associated with large-scale advection. But, the warming in the higher latitudes is associated with the heat brought down from the surface by convection and eddy mixing. In global average, the treatments of convection and eddy mixing are the two main factors affecting the OHU.

The uncertainty of OHU due to subgrid-scale eddy mixing is studied. In the MIT OGCM this mixing is a combination of Gent–McWilliams bolus advection and Redi isopycnal diffusion (GMR), with a single diffusivity being used to calculate the isopycnal and thickness diffusion. Experiments are carried out with values of the diffusivity of 500, 1000, and 2000 m2 s–1. The total OHU is insensitive to these changes. The insensitivity is mainly due to the changes in the vertical heat flux by GMR mixing being compensated by changes in the other vertical heat flux components.

In the Atlantic when the diffusivity is reduced from 1000 to 500 m2 s–1, the surface warming can penetrate deeper. Therefore, the warming decreases by about 0.15°C above 2000 m but increases by about 0.15°C below 2500 m. Similarly, when the diffusivity is increased from 1000 to 2000 m2 s–1, the surface warming becomes shallower; the warming increases by about 0.2°C above 1000 m but decreases by about 0.2°C below 1000 m. These changes in the vertical distribution of the OHU also contribute to the insensitivity of the total OHU to changes in the GMR mixing. The analysis of heat flux convergence indicates that the difference of OHU seems to be associated with the MOTC circulation.

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Gavin A. Schmidt, Reto Ruedy, James E. Hansen, Igor Aleinov, Nadine Bell, Mike Bauer, Susanne Bauer, Brian Cairns, Vittorio Canuto, Ye Cheng, Anthony Del Genio, Greg Faluvegi, Andrew D. Friend, Tim M. Hall, Yongyun Hu, Max Kelley, Nancy Y. Kiang, Dorothy Koch, Andy A. Lacis, Jean Lerner, Ken K. Lo, Ron L. Miller, Larissa Nazarenko, Valdar Oinas, Jan Perlwitz, Judith Perlwitz, David Rind, Anastasia Romanou, Gary L. Russell, Makiko Sato, Drew T. Shindell, Peter H. Stone, Shan Sun, Nick Tausnev, Duane Thresher, and Mao-Sung Yao

Abstract

A full description of the ModelE version of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) and results are presented for present-day climate simulations (ca. 1979). This version is a complete rewrite of previous models incorporating numerous improvements in basic physics, the stratospheric circulation, and forcing fields. Notable changes include the following: the model top is now above the stratopause, the number of vertical layers has increased, a new cloud microphysical scheme is used, vegetation biophysics now incorporates a sensitivity to humidity, atmospheric turbulence is calculated over the whole column, and new land snow and lake schemes are introduced. The performance of the model using three configurations with different horizontal and vertical resolutions is compared to quality-controlled in situ data, remotely sensed and reanalysis products. Overall, significant improvements over previous models are seen, particularly in upper-atmosphere temperatures and winds, cloud heights, precipitation, and sea level pressure. Data–model comparisons continue, however, to highlight persistent problems in the marine stratocumulus regions.

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