Simulated annual and seasonal Arctic Ocean and sea-ice variability from a high resolution, coupled ice-ocean model
Marble, Douglas Craig.
Semtner, Albert J.
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The role of the Arctic Ocean in global thermohaline circulation and climate change is not well understood. High resolution, physically realistic simulations of the Arctic Ocean, calibrated and validated with observations and paleo-climate data, may provide the spatial and temporal coverage and resolution to more accurately characterize Arctic Ocean circulation, large-scale inter-ocean exchanges and allow future conditions to be projected correctly. A 1/12-degree (~9 km) resolution coupled ice-ocean model, optimized for massively parallel computers, was developed. The model employs the latest digital bathymetry and ocean climatology available. Decades of model integration using climatological and realistic daily varying atmospheric forcing were performed. Comparisons of model output with climatic atlases and observations indicate greatly improved representation of circulation, ocean and seaice characteristics, mass and property transports and water mass transformations. Areas where model physics and resolution improvements are needed are highlighted as well. Comparison with a 1/6 degree (~18 km) ice-ocean model quantifies improvements gained from doubling model resolution. A ten fold increase in eddy kinetic energy is seen in the 9 km model versus the 18 km model. Narrow shelf and slope boundary currents, absent in the latter, now appear and mass and property transports are closer to observed values.
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