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S. E. Best
,
V. O. Ivchenko
,
K. J. Richards
,
R. D. Smith
, and
R. C. Malone

Abstract

The dynamics of the Southern Ocean have been studied using two high-resolution models, namely the Fine Resolution Antarctic Model (FRAM) and the Parallel Ocean Program (POP) model. Analysis of these models includes zonal averaging at Drake Passage latitudes, averaging along streamlines (or contours of constant sea surface height), and examining particular subregions of the flow in some detail. The subregions considered in the local analysis capture different flow regimes in the vicinity of the Crozet Plateau, the Macquarie–Ridge Complex, and Drake Passage.

Many aspects of the model results are similar, for example, the magnitude of eddy kinetic energy (EKE) in the “eddy rich” regions associated with the large-scale topography. An important difference between the two models is that away from the strong topographic features the level of EKE in POP is 2–4 times greater than in FRAM, giving values close to those observed in altimeter studies.

In both FRAM and POP instability analysis performed over ACC jets showed that baroclinic instability is likely to be the main mechanism responsible for generating EKE. In the case of FRAM this view is confirmed by regional energy budgets made within the ACC. In contrast to quasigeostrophic numerical experiments upgradient transfer of momentum was not found in the whole ACC, or over large subregions of the Southern Ocean. The only place it occurred was in localized tight jets (e.g., the flow northeast of Drake Passage) where the transients are found to transfer kinetic energy into energy of the mean flow. The transient eddies result in a net deceleration of the ACC for the streamwise averaging.

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Richard D. Smith
,
Mathew E. Maltrud
,
Frank O. Bryan
, and
Matthew W. Hecht

Abstract

In this paper an initial analysis of an 0.1° simulation of the North Atlantic Ocean using a level-coordinate ocean general circulation model forced with realistic winds covering the period 1985–96 is presented. Results are compared to the North Atlantic sector of a global 0.28° simulation with similar surface forcing and to a variety of satellite and in situ observations. The simulation shows substantial improvements in both the eddy variability and the time-mean circulation compared to previous eddy-permitting simulations with resolutions in the range of 1/2°–1/6°. The resolution is finer than the zonal-mean first baroclinic mode Rossby radius at all latitudes, and the model appears to be capturing the bulk of the spectrum of mesoscale energy. The eddy kinetic energy constitutes 70% of the total basin-averaged kinetic energy. Model results agree well with observations of the magnitude and geographical distribution of eddy kinetic energy and sea-surface height variability, with the wavenumber–frequency spectrum of surface height anomalies in the Gulf Stream, with estimates of the eddy length scale as a function of latitude, and with measurements of eddy kinetic energy as a function of depth in the eastern basin. The mean circulation also shows significant improvements compared to previous models, although there are notable remaining discrepancies with observations in some areas. The Gulf Stream separates at Cape Hatteras, and its speed and cross-stream structure are in good agreement with current meter data; however, its path is somewhat too far south and its meander envelope too broad to the west of the New England Seamounts. The North Atlantic Current is remarkably well simulated in the model: it exhibits meanders and troughs in its time-mean path that agree with similar structures seen in float data, although the separation of this current in the region of the “Northwest Corner” is displaced somewhat too far to the northwest. The Azores Current appears in the simulation, perhaps for the first time in a basin-scale model, and its position, total transport, and eddy variability are consistent with observational estimates.

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A. M. Treguier
,
S. Theetten
,
E. P. Chassignet
,
T. Penduff
,
R. Smith
,
L. Talley
,
J. O. Beismann
, and
C. Böning

Abstract

The authors present the first quantitative comparison between new velocity datasets and high-resolution models in the North Atlantic subpolar gyre [1/10° Parallel Ocean Program model (POPNA10), Miami Isopycnic Coordinate Ocean Model (MICOM), ⅙° Atlantic model (ATL6), and Family of Linked Atlantic Ocean Model Experiments (FLAME)]. At the surface, the model velocities agree generally well with World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) drifter data. Two noticeable exceptions are the weakness of the East Greenland coastal current in models and the presence in the surface layers of a strong southwestward East Reykjanes Ridge Current. At depths, the most prominent feature of the circulation is the boundary current following the continental slope. In this narrow flow, it is found that gridded float datasets cannot be used for a quantitative comparison with models. The models have very different patterns of deep convection, and it is suggested that this could be related to the differences in their barotropic transport at Cape Farewell. Models show a large drift in watermass properties with a salinization of the Labrador Sea Water. The authors believe that the main cause is related to horizontal transports of salt because models with different forcing and vertical mixing share the same salinization problem. A remarkable feature of the model solutions is the large westward transport over Reykjanes Ridge [10 Sv (Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) or more].

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