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Xianjin Li, Yi Chao, James C. McWilliams, and Lee-Lueng Fu

Abstract

The upper Pacific Ocean Current and temperature have been simulated by a three-dimensional ocean general circulation model (OGCM) with two different vertical-mixing schemes. One corresponds to the modified Richardson number–dependent scheme of Pacanowski and Philander (PP); the other is adapted from the newly developed K-Profile Parameterization (KPP) scheme. The performance of both schemes in a Pacific OGCM is evaluated under the same model configuration and boundary conditions. Model and data comparisons are made for the mean state, annual cycle, and interannual-to-interdecadal variability. In the Tropics, both the PP and KPP schemes produce reasonably realistic tropical thermal and current structures; however, KPP is better than PP in several important aspects. For example, the KPP scheme simulates a more realistic thermocline and significantly reduces the cold surface temperature bias in the eastern equatorial Pacific. The depth of the maximum Equatorial Undercurrent simulated by the KPP scheme is much closer to the observation. In the extratropics the KPP scheme is significantly better than the PP scheme in simulating the thermal and current structures, including the annual mean, annual cycle, and interannual-to-interdecadal variability.

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