Climatological Numerical Models of the Surface Mixed Layer of the Ocean

Rory O. R. Y. Thompson Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.

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Abstract

Three slab models of the surface mixed layer of the ocean are given simple and fast computer implementations. Actual meteorological data from Ocean Weather Station N are used for a year-long forecast. The results compare quite well with the observations of vertical temperature profiles, with correlations up to 0.98 between predicted and observed sea-surface temperature and of 0.8 between predicted and observed mixed-layer depths. Temperature anomalies introduced in the spring can be covered up in the summer, yet reappear in the winter. A constant-thickness slab is suitable as a lower boundary for some atmospheric climatological studies, if a depth of 25 m is used. The model based on a Foude number criterion worked best for the available data set; this is physically appealing since the model contains no adjustable parameters.

Abstract

Three slab models of the surface mixed layer of the ocean are given simple and fast computer implementations. Actual meteorological data from Ocean Weather Station N are used for a year-long forecast. The results compare quite well with the observations of vertical temperature profiles, with correlations up to 0.98 between predicted and observed sea-surface temperature and of 0.8 between predicted and observed mixed-layer depths. Temperature anomalies introduced in the spring can be covered up in the summer, yet reappear in the winter. A constant-thickness slab is suitable as a lower boundary for some atmospheric climatological studies, if a depth of 25 m is used. The model based on a Foude number criterion worked best for the available data set; this is physically appealing since the model contains no adjustable parameters.

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