Feedback of mesoscale ocean currents on atmospheric winds in high-resolution coupled models and implications for the forcing of ocean-only models

Abel, Rafael, Böning, Claus W., Greatbatch, Richard John, Hewitt, Helene T. and Roberts, Malcolm J. (2017) Feedback of mesoscale ocean currents on atmospheric winds in high-resolution coupled models and implications for the forcing of ocean-only models Ocean Science Discussions . pp. 1-22. DOI 10.5194/os-2017-24.

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Abstract

The repercussions of surface ocean currents for the near-surface wind and the air-sea momentum flux are investigated in two versions of a global climate model with eddying ocean. The focus is on the effect of mesoscale ocean current features at scales of less than 150 km, by considering high-pass filtered, monthly-mean model output fields. We find a clear signature of a mesoscale oceanic imprint in the wind fields over the energetic areas of the oceans, particularly along the extensions of the western boundary currents and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. These areas are characterized by a positive correlation between mesoscale perturbations in the curl of the surface currents and the wind curl. The coupling coefficients are spatially non-uniform and show a pronounced seasonal cycle. The positive feedback of mesoscale current features on the near-surface wind acts in opposition to their damping effect on the wind stress. A tentative incorporation of this feedback in the surface stress formulation of an eddy-permitting global ocean-only model leads to a gain in the kinetic energy of up to 10 %, suggesting a fundamental shortcoming of present ocean model configurations.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-TM Theory and Modeling
Refereed: No
DOI etc.: 10.5194/os-2017-24
ISSN: 1812-0822
Projects: RACE, MiKlip, ATMOS-MODINI, SACCUS, PRIMAVERA, DRAKKAR
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2017 12:19
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2017 12:19
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/37562

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