The impact of horizontal resolution on the tropical heat budget in an Atlantic ocean model

(Jochum, Markus and Murtugudde, Raghu and Ferrari, Raffaele and Malanotte-Rizzoli, Paola), Journal of Climate, vol. 18, no. 6, pp. pages, 2005.


Abstract An ocean general circulation model (OGCM) of the tropical Atlantic is coupled to an advective atmospheric boundary layer model. This configuration is used to investigate the hypothesis that resolving tropical instability waves (TIWs) in OGCMs will remove the equatorial cold bias that is a feature common to coarse-resolution OGCMs. It is shown that current eddy parameterizations cannot capture the TIW heat flux because diffusion in coarse-resolution OGCMs removes heat from the warm pool to heat the equatorial cold tongue, whereas TIWs draw their heat mostly from the atmosphere. Thus, they can bring more heat to the equatorial cold tongue without cooling the warm pool, and the SST in the warm pool is higher and more realistic. Contrary to expectations, the SST in the equatorial cold tongue is not significantly improved. The equatorial warming due to TIWs is slightly greater than the warming due to diffusion, but this increased equatorial heat flux in the high-resolution experiment is compensated by…

doi = 10.1175/JCLI-3288.1

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