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Frank O. Bryan

Abstract

The National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Climate System Model is a comprehensive model of the physical climate system. A 300-yr integration of the model has been carried out without flux correction. The solution shows very little drift in the surface temperature distribution, sea-ice extent, or atmospheric circulation. The lack of drift in the surface climate is attributed to relatively good agreement in the estimates of meridional heat transport in the uncoupled ocean model and that implied by the uncoupled atmospheric model. On the other hand, there is significant drift in the temperature and salinity distributions of the deep ocean. The ocean loses heat at an area-averaged rate of 0.35 W m−2, the upper ocean becomes fresher, and the deep ocean becomes colder and saltier than in the uncoupled ocean model equilibrium or in observations. The cause of this drift is an unreasonably large meridional transport of freshwater in the sea ice model, resulting in the production of excessively cold and salty Antarctic Bottom Water. There is also significant drift in the Arctic basin, with the complete erosion of the surface halocline early in the coupled integration.

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Stuart P. Bishop and Frank O. Bryan

Abstract

For the first time estimates of divergent eddy heat flux (DEHF) from a high-resolution (0.1°) simulation of the Parallel Ocean Program (POP) are compared with estimates made during the Kuroshio Extension System Study (KESS). The results from POP are in good agreement with KESS observations. POP captures the lateral and vertical structure of mean-to-eddy energy conversion rates, which range from 2 to 10 cm2 s−3. The dynamical mechanism of vertical coupling between the deep and upper ocean is the process responsible for DEHFs in POP and is in accordance with baroclinic instability observed in the Gulf Stream and Kuroshio Extension. Meridional eddy heat transport values are ~14% larger in POP at its maximum value. This is likely due to the more zonal path configuration in POP. The results from this study suggest that HR POP is a useful tool for estimating eddy statistics in the Kuroshio Extension region, and thereby provide guidance in the formulation and testing of eddy mixing parameterization schemes.

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Frank O. Bryan, Claus W. Böning, and William R. Holland

Abstract

This paper describes, and establishes the dynamical mechanisms responsible for, the large-scale, time-mean, midlatitude circulation in a high-resolution model of the North Atlantic basin. The model solution is compared with recently proposed transport schemes and interpretations of the dynamical balances operating in the sub-tropical gyre. In particular, the question of the degree to which Sverdrup balance holds for the subtropical gyre is addressed. At 25°N, thermohaline-driven bottom flows cause strong local departures from the Sverdrup solution for the vertically integrated meridional mass transport, but these nearly integrate to zero across the interior of the basin. In the northwestern region of the subtropical gyre, in the vicinity of the Gulf Stream, higher-order dynamics become important, and linear vorticity dynamics is unable to explain the model's vertically integrated transport. In the subpolar gyre, the model transport bears little resemblance to the Sverdrup prediction, and higher-order dynamics are important across the entire longitudinal extent of the basin.

The sensitivity of the model transport amplitudes, patterns, and dynamical balances are estimated by examining the solutions under a range of parameter choices and for four different wind stress forcing specifications. Taking into account a deficit of 7–10 Sv (Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) in the contribution of the model thermohaline circulation to the meridional transports at 25°N, the wind stress climatology of Isemer and Hasse appears to yield too strong of a circulation, while that derived from the NCAR Community Climate Model yields too weak of a circulation. The Hellerman and Rosenstein and ECMWF climatologies result in wind-driven transports close to observational estimates at 25°N. The range between cases for the annual mean southward transport in the interior above 1000 m is 14 Sv, which is 40%–70% of the mean transport itself. There is little sensitivity to the model closure parameters at this latitude. At 55°N, in the subpolar gyre, there is little sensitivity of the model solution to the choice of either closure parameters or wind climatology, despite large differences in the Sverdrup transports implied by the different wind stress datasets. Large year to year variability of the meridional transport east of the Bahamas makes it difficult to provide robust estimates of the sensitivity of the Antilles and deep western boundary current systems to forcing and parameter changes.

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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.

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Stuart P. Bishop, Frank O. Bryan, and R. Justin Small

Abstract

Observational and model evidence has been mounting that mesoscale eddies play an important role in air–sea interaction in the vicinity of western boundary currents and can affect the jet stream storm track. What is less clear is the interplay between oceanic and atmospheric meridional heat transport in the vicinity of western boundary currents. It is first shown that variability in the North Pacific, particularly in the Kuroshio Extension region, simulated by a high-resolution fully coupled version of the Community Earth System Model matches observations with similar mechanisms and phase relationships involved in the variability. The Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) is correlated with sea surface height anomalies generated in the central Pacific that propagate west preceding Kuroshio Extension variability with a ~3–4-yr lag. It is then shown that there is a near compensation of O(0.1) PW (PW ≡ 1015 W) between wintertime atmospheric and oceanic meridional heat transport on decadal time scales in the North Pacific. This compensation has characteristics of Bjerknes compensation and is tied to the mesoscale eddy activity in the Kuroshio Extension region.

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William R. Holland, Julianna C. Chow, and Frank O. Bryan

Abstract

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Ocean Model has been developed for use in NCAR’s Climate System Modeling project, a comprehensive development of a coupled ocean–atmosphere–sea ice–land surface model of the global climate system. As part of this development, new parameterizations of diffusive mixing by unresolved processes have been implemented for the tracer equations in the model. Because the strength of the mixing depends upon the density structure under these parameterizations, it is possible that local explicit mixing may be quite small in selected locations, in contrast to the constant diffusivity model generally used. When a spatially centered advection scheme is used in the standard model configuration, local overshooting of tracer values occurs, leading to unphysical maxima and minima in the fields. While the immediate problem is a local Gibbs’s phenomenon, there is the possibility that such local tracer anomalies might propagate by advection and diffusion far from the source, causing inaccuracies in the tracer fields globally.

Because of these issues, a third-order upwind scheme was implemented for the advection of tracers. Numerical experiments show that this scheme is computationally efficient compared to alternatives (such as the flux-corrected transport scheme) and that it works well with other aspects of the model, such as acceleration (important for spinup efficiency) and the new mixing parameterizations. The scheme mimimizes overshooting effects while keeping the dissipative aspect of the advective operator reasonably small. The net effect is to produce solutions in which the large-scale fields are affected very little while local extrema are nearly (but not completely) removed, leading to physically much more realistic tracer patterns.

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Frank O. Bryan, Peter R. Gent, and Robert Tomas

Abstract

Present-day control and 1% yr−1 increasing carbon dioxide runs have been made using two versions of the Community Climate System Model, version 3.5. One uses the standard versions of the ocean and sea ice components where the horizontal resolution is 1° and the effects of mesoscale eddies are parameterized, and the second uses a resolution of 1/10° where the eddies are resolved. This is the first time the parameterization has been tested in a climate change run compared to an eddy-resolving run. The comparison is made not straightforward by the fact that the two control run climates are not the same, especially in their sea ice distributions. The focus is on the Antarctic Circumpolar Current region, where the effects of eddies are of leading order. The conclusions are that many of the differences in the two carbon dioxide transient forcing runs can be explained by the different control run sea ice distributions around Antarctica, but there are some quantitative differences in the meridional overturning circulation, poleward heat transport, and zonally averaged heat uptake when the eddies are parameterized rather than resolved.

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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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Claus W. Böning, Frank O. Bryan, William R. Holland, and Ralf Döscher

Abstract

The authors use different versions of the model of the wind- and thermohaline-driven circulation in the North and Equatorial Atlantic developed under the WOCE Community Modeling Effort to investigate the mean flow pattern and deep-water formation in the subpolar region, and the corresponding structure of the basin-scale meridional overturning circulation transport. A suite of model experiments has been carded out in recent years, differing in horizontal resolution (1° × 1.2°, 1/3° × 0.4°, 1/6° × 0.2°), thermohaline boundary conditions, and parameterization of small-scale mixing. The mass transport in the subpolar gyre and the production of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) appears to be essentially controlled by the outflow of dense water from the Greenland and Norwegian Seas. in the present model simulated by restoring conditions in a buffer zone adjacent to the boundary near the Greenland–Scotland Ridge. Deep winter convection homogenizes the water column in the center of the Labrador Sea to about 2000 m. The water mass properties (potential temperature about 3°C, salinity about 34.9 psu) and the volume (1.1×1053 km3) of the homogenized water are in fair agreement with observations. The convective mixing has only little effect on the net sinking of upper-layer water in the subpolar gyre. Sensitivity experiments show that the export of NADW from the subpolar North Atlantic is more strongly affected by changes in the overflow conditions than by changes in the surface buoyancy fluxes over the Labrador and Irminger Seas, even if these suppress the deep convection completely. The host of sensitivity experiments demonstrates that realistic meridional overturning and heat transport distributions for the North Atlantic (with a maximum of 1 PW) can be obtained with NADW production rates of 15–16 Sv, provided the spurious upwelling of deep water that characterizes many model solutions in the Gulf Stream regime is avoided by adequate horizontal resolution add mixing parameterization.

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Eric P. Chassignet, Linda T. Smith, Rainer Bleck, and Frank O. Bryan

Abstract

A series of medium-resolution (∼1°) numerical simulations for the equatorial and North Atlantic basin have been performed with two primitive equation models, one employing depth and the other density as the vertical coordinate. The models have been configured for this exercise in as similar a fashion as their basic formulations allow, and with fundamentally identical initialization, boundary conditions, and forcing functions for each of the experiments. The purpose of comparing the models’ results is twofold: 1) to understand the degree to which model-generated circulation fields depend on the particular model architecture by examining the rate of divergence of the solutions of an isopycnic and a depth coordinate model given the same initial conditions and 2) to uncover and remedy possible defects in either model design. The comparison is focused on the importance in each simulation of the choice of mixing parameterization, which has a crucial impact on the meridional overturning circulation, on the associated northward heat transport, and on the evolution of water masses. Although the model-generated horizontal fields viewed at specific times during the integrations do not appear to be strongly dependent on the design of each model and are in good agreement with one another, the integrated properties of the depth coordinate model and the isopycnic coordinate model diverge significantly over time, with the depth coordinate model being unable to retain its most dense water masses after long integration periods.

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