Search Results

You are looking at 11 - 20 of 27 items for

  • Author or Editor: William G. Large x
  • All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Toshio M. Chin, Ralph F. Milliff, and William G. Large

Abstract

A numerical technique sensitive to both spectral and spatial aspects of sea surface wind measurements is introduced to transform the irregularly sampled satellite-based scatterometer data into regularly gridded wind fields. To capture the prevailing wavenumber characteristics (power-law dependence) of sea surface wind vector components, wavelet coefficients are computed from the scatterometer measurements along the satellite tracks. The statistics of the wavelet coefficients are then used to simulate high-resolution wind components over the off-track regions where scatterometer data are not available. Using this technique, daily wind fields with controlled spectral features have been produced by combining the low-wavenumber wind fields from ECMWF analyses with the high-wavenumber measurements from the ERS-1 scatterometer. The resulting surface wind fields thus reflect nearly all available measurements affecting surface wind, including the synoptic surface pressure. The new surface wind forces a basin-scale quasigeostrophic ocean model such that the average circulation and energetics are consistent with the previous studies, in which purely synthetic high-wavenumber wind forcing was used.

Full access
Scott C. Doney, William G. Large, and Frank O. Bryan

Abstract

The global distributions of the air–sea fluxes of heat and freshwater and water mass transformation rates from a control integration of the coupled National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Climate System Model (CSM) are compared with similar fields from an uncoupled ocean model equilibrium spinup and a new surface climatology. The climatology and uncoupled model use the same bulk-flux forcing scheme and are forced with National Centers for Environmental Predicition (formerly the National Meteorological Center) atmospheric reanalysis data and satellite-based cloud cover, solar flux, and precipitation estimates. The climatological fluxes for the open ocean are adjusted to give a global net balance and are in broad general agreement with standard ship-based estimates. An exception is the ice-free Southern Ocean, where the net heat and evaporative fluxes appear to be too weak but where the observational coverage underlying the reanalyis is quite poor. Major differences are observed between the climatology and the NCAR CSM coupled solution, namely, enhanced tropical and subtropic solar insolation, stronger energy and hydrologic cycles, and excessive high-latitude ice formation/melt producing a several-fold increase in Arctic and Antarctic deep water formation through brine rejection. The anomalous fluxes and corresponding water-mass transformations are closely tied to the coupled ocean model drift, characterized by a reorganization of the vertical salinity distribution. Some error features in the heat flux and sea surface temperature fields are common to both the coupled and uncoupled solutions, primarily in the western boundary currents and the Antarctic circumpolar current, and are thus likely due to the poor representation of the circulation field in the coarse-resolution NCAR ocean model. Other problems particular to the uncoupled spinup are related to the bulk-flux forcing scheme, an example being excess freshwater deposition in the western boundary currents arising from the inclusion of a weak open ocean surface salinity restoring term. The effective thermal restoring coefficent, which relates the change in nonsolar surface heat flux to sea surface temperature changes, is on average 14.6 W m−2 K−1 for the coupled solution or about a third of the range from the bulk flux forcing scheme, 40–60 W m−2 K−1.

Full access
Ralph F. Milliff, William G. Large, William R. Holland, and James C. McWilliams

Abstract

High-resolution (1/5°×1/6°) quasigeostrophic models of the North Atlantic Ocean are forced by daily wind stress curl fields of controlled wavenumber content. In the low-wavenumber case, the wind stress curl is derived from a low-pass filtering of ECMWF wind fields such that the retained wavenumber band is observed to obey a k −2 power law in the spectrum for each day (where k is the wavenumber vector). In a second case, the wavenumber content of the wind stress curl fields is comparable to that derivable from an ideal scatterometer-wind dataset. Decadal-average streamfunction fields are compared with a climatology of dynamic topography and compared between the model calculations driven by these synthetic wind stress curl datasets with the goal of testing the sensitivity of the general circulation to high-wavenumber forcing. The largest signal in decadal-average streamfunction response to high-wavenumber forcing occurs in the eastern basin of the North Atlantic. Fields of mean kinetic and eddy kinetic energies are enhanced in the eastern basin of the North Atlantic by 0.5 and 1.0 orders of magnitude, respectively, in calculations forced by the scatterometer-like wind stress curl. Model solutions are compared with the implied Sverdrup streamfunctions for each forcing dataset, and parallel experiments are performed with a linearized quasigeostrophic model. Conclusions are drawn regarding the operative dynamics and the wavenumber band of importance in improving the model general circulation. It is noted that present day and planned scatterometer missions are capable of resolving the requisite spatial scales.

Full access
William G. Large, Edward G. Patton, Alice K. DuVivier, Peter P. Sullivan, and Leonel Romero

Abstract

Monin–Obukhov similarity theory is applied to the surface layer of large-eddy simulations (LES) of deep Southern Ocean boundary layers. Observations from the Southern Ocean Flux Station provide a wide range of wind, buoyancy, and wave (Stokes drift) forcing. Two No-Stokes LES are used to determine the extent of the ocean surface layer and to adapt the nondimensional momentum and buoyancy gradients, as functions of the stability parameter. Stokes-forced LES are used to modify this parameter for wave effects, then to formulate dependencies of Stokes similarity functions on a Stokes parameter ξ. To account for wind-wave misalignment, the dimensional analysis is extended with two independent variables, namely, the production of turbulent kinetic energy in the surface layer due to Stokes shear and the total production, so that their ratio gives ξ. Stokes forcing is shown to reduce vertical shear more than stratification, and to enhance viscosity and diffusivity by factors up to 5.8 and 4.0, respectively, such that the Prandtl number can exceed unity. A practical parameterization is developed for ξ in terms of the meteorological forcing plus a Stokes drift profile, so that the Stokes and stability similarity functions can be combined to give turbulent velocity scales. These scales for both viscosity and diffusivity are evaluated against the LES, and the correlations are nearly 0.97. The benefit of calculating Stokes drift profiles from directional wave spectra is demonstrated by similarly evaluating three alternatives.

Full access
Stephen G. Yeager, Christine A. Shields, William G. Large, and James J. Hack

Abstract

The low-resolution fully coupled configuration of the Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3) is described and evaluated. In this most economical configuration, an ocean at nominal 3° resolution is coupled to an atmosphere model at T31 resolution. There are climate biases associated with the relatively coarse grids, yet the coupled solution remains comparable to higher-resolution CCSM3 results. There are marked improvements in the new solution compared to the low-resolution configuration of CCSM2. In particular, the CCSM3 simulation maintains a robust meridional overturning circulation in the ocean, and it generates more realistic El Niño variability. The improved ocean solution was achieved with no increase in computational cost by redistributing deep ocean and midlatitude resolution into the upper ocean and the key water formation regions of the North Atlantic, respectively. Given its significantly lower resource demands compared to higher resolutions, this configuration shows promise for studies of paleoclimate and other applications requiring long, equilibrated solutions.

Full access
John W. Weatherly, Bruce P. Briegleb, William G. Large, and James A. Maslanik

Abstract

The Climate System Model (CSM) consists of atmosphere, ocean, land, and sea-ice components linked by a flux coupler, which computes fluxes of energy and momentum between components. The sea-ice component consists of a thermodynamic formulation for ice, snow, and leads within the ice pack, and ice dynamics using the cavitating-fluid ice rheology, which allows for the compressive strength of ice but ignores shear viscosity.

The results of a 300-yr climate simulation are presented, with the focus on sea ice and the atmospheric forcing over sea ice in the polar regions. The atmospheric model results are compared to analyses from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and other observational sources. The sea-ice concentrations and velocities are compared to satellite observational data.

The atmospheric sea level pressure (SLP) in CSM exhibits a high in the central Arctic displaced poleward from the observed Beaufort high. The Southern Hemisphere SLP over sea ice is generally 5 mb lower than observed. Air temperatures over sea ice in both hemispheres exhibit cold biases of 2–4 K. The precipitation-minus-evaporation fields in both hemispheres are greatly improved over those from earlier versions of the atmospheric GCM.

The simulated ice-covered area is close to observations in the Southern Hemisphere but too large in the Northern Hemisphere. The ice concentration fields show that the ice cover is too extensive in the North Pacific and subarctic North Atlantic Oceans. The interannual variability of the ice area is similar to observations in both hemispheres. The ice thickness pattern in the Antarctic is realistic but generally too thin away from the continent. The maximum thickness in the Arctic occurs against the Bering Strait, not against the Canadian Archipelago as observed. The ice velocities are stronger than observed in both hemispheres, with a consistently greater turning angle (to the left) in the Southern Hemisphere. They produce a northward ice transport in the Southern Hemisphere that is 3–4 times the satellite-derived value. Sensitivity tests with the sea-ice component show that both the pattern of wind forcing in CSM and the air-ice drag parameter used contribute to the biases in thickness, drift speeds, and transport. Plans for further development of the ice model to incorporate a viscous-plastic ice rheology are presented.

In spite of the biases of the sea-ice simulation, the 300-yr climate simulation exhibits only a small degree of drift in the surface climate without the use of flux adjustment. This suggests a robust stability in the simulated climate in the presence of significant variability.

Full access
R. Justin Small, Enrique Curchitser, Katherine Hedstrom, Brian Kauffman, and William G. Large

Abstract

Of all the major coastal upwelling systems in the world’s oceans, the Benguela, located off southwest Africa, is the one that climate models find hardest to simulate well. This paper investigates the sensitivity of upwelling processes, and of sea surface temperature (SST), in this region to resolution of the climate model and to the offshore wind structure. The Community Climate System Model (version 4) is used here, together with the Regional Ocean Modeling System. The main result is that a realistic wind stress curl at the eastern boundary, and a high-resolution ocean model, are required to well simulate the Benguela upwelling system. When the wind stress curl is too broad (as with a 1° atmosphere model or coarser), a Sverdrup balance prevails at the eastern boundary, implying southward ocean transport extending as far as 30°S and warm advection. Higher atmosphere resolution, up to 0.5°, does bring the atmospheric jet closer to the coast, but there can be too strong a wind stress curl. The most realistic representation of the upwelling system is found by adjusting the 0.5° atmosphere model wind structure near the coast toward observations, while using an eddy-resolving ocean model. A similar adjustment applied to a 1° ocean model did not show such improvement. Finally, the remote equatorial Atlantic response to restoring SST in a broad region offshore of Benguela is substantial; however, there is not a large response to correcting SST in the narrow coastal upwelling zone alone.

Full access
William G. Large, Gokhan Danabasoglu, Scott C. Doney, and James C. McWilliams

Abstract

The effects of more realistic bulk forcing boundary conditions, a more physical subgrid-scale vertical mixing parameterization, and more accurate bottom topography are investigated in a coarse-resolution, global oceanic general circulation model. In contrast to forcing with prescribed fluxes, the bulk forcing utilizes the evolving model sea surface temperatures and monthly atmospheric fields based on reanalyses by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction and on satellite data products. The vertical mixing in the oceanic boundary layer is governed by a nonlocal K-profile parameterization (KPP) and is matched to parameterizations of mixing in the interior. The KPP scheme is designed to represent well both convective and wind-driven entrainment. The near- equilibrium solutions are compared to a baseline experiment in which the surface tracers are strongly restored everywhere to climatology and the vertical mixing is conventional with constant coefficients, except where there is either convective or near-surface enhancement.

The most profound effects are due to the bulk forcing boundary conditions, while KPP mixing has little effect on the annual-mean state of the ocean model below the upper few hundred meters. Compared to restoring boundary conditions, bulk forcing produces poleward heat and salt transports in better agreement with most oceanographic estimates and maintains the abyssal salinity and temperature closer to observations. The KPP scheme produces mixed layers and boundary layers with realistically large temporal and spatial variability. In addition, it allows for more near-surface vertical shear, particularly in the equatorial regions, and results in enhanced large-scale surface divergence and convergence. Generally, topographic effects are confined locally, with some important consequences. For example, realistic ocean bottom topography between Greenland and Europe locks the position of the sinking branch of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation to the Icelandic Ridge. The model solutions are especially sensitive to the under-ice boundary conditions where model tracers are strongly restored to climatology in all cases. In particular, a factor of 4 reduction in the strength of under-ice restoring diminishes the abyssal salinity improvements by about 30%.

Full access
Scott C. Doney, Steve Yeager, Gokhan Danabasoglu, William G. Large, and James C. McWilliams

Abstract

The interannual variability in upper-ocean (0–400 m) temperature and governing mechanisms for the period 1968–97 are quantified from a global ocean hindcast simulation driven by atmospheric reanalysis and satellite data products. The unconstrained simulation exhibits considerable skill in replicating the observed interannual variability in vertically integrated heat content estimated from hydrographic data and monthly satellite sea surface temperature and sea surface height data. Globally, the most significant interannual variability modes arise from El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Indian Ocean zonal mode, with substantial extension beyond the Tropics into the midlatitudes. In the well-stratified Tropics and subtropics, net annual heat storage variability is driven predominately by the convergence of the advective heat transport, mostly reflecting velocity anomalies times the mean temperature field. Vertical velocity variability is caused by remote wind forcing, and subsurface temperature anomalies are governed mostly by isopycnal displacements (heave). The dynamics at mid- to high latitudes are qualitatively different and vary regionally. Interannual temperature variability is more coherent with depth because of deep winter mixing and variations in western boundary currents and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that span the upper thermocline. Net annual heat storage variability is forced by a mixture of local air–sea heat fluxes and the convergence of the advective heat transport, the latter resulting from both velocity and temperature anomalies. Also, density-compensated temperature changes on isopycnal surfaces (spice) are quantitatively significant.

Full access
William G. Large, Gokhan Danabasoglu, James C. McWilliams, Peter R. Gent, and Frank O. Bryan

Abstract

Horizontal momentum flux in a global ocean climate model is formulated as an anisotropic viscosity with two spatially varying coefficients. This friction can be made purely dissipative, does not produce unphysical torques, and satisfies the symmetry conditions required of the Reynolds stress tensor. The two primary design criteria are to have viscosity at values appropriate for the parameterization of missing mesoscale eddies wherever possible and to use other values only where required by the numerics. These other viscosities control numerical noise from advection and generate western boundary currents that are wide enough to be resolved by the coarse grid of the model. Noise on the model gridscale is tolerated provided its amplitude is less than about 0.05 cm s−1. Parameter tuning is minimized by applying physical and numerical principles. The potential value of this line of model development is demonstrated by comparison with equatorial ocean observations.

In particular, the goal of producing model equatorial ocean currents comparable to observations was achieved in the Pacific Ocean. The Equatorial Undercurrent reaches a maximum magnitude of nearly 100 cm s−1 in the annual mean. Also, the spatial distribution of near-surface currents compares favorably with observations from the Global Drifter Program. The exceptions are off the equator; in the model the North Equatorial Countercurrent is improved, but still too weak, and the northward flow along the coast of South America may be too shallow. Equatorial Pacific upwelling has a realistic pattern and its magnitude is of the same order as diagnostic model estimates. The necessary ingredients to achieve these results are wind forcing based on satellite scatterometry, a background vertical viscosity no greater than about 1 cm2 s−1, and a mesoscale eddy viscosity of order 1000 m2 s−1 acting on meridional shear of zonal momentum. Model resolution is not critical, provided these three elements remain unaltered. Thus, if the scatterometer winds are accurate, the model results are consistent with observational estimates of these two coefficients. These winds have larger westward stress than NCEP reanalysis winds, produce a 14% stronger EUC, more upwelling, but a weaker westward surface flow.

In the Indian Ocean the seasonal cycle of equatorial currents does not appear to be overly attenuated by the horizontal viscosity, with differences from observations attributable to interannual variability. However, in the Atlantic, the numerics still require too large a meridional viscosity over too much of the basin, and a zonal resolution approaching 1° may be necessary to match observations. Because of this viscosity, increasing the background vertical viscosity slowed the westward surface current; opposite to the response in the Pacific.

Full access