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Estimates of bottom flows and bottom boundary layer dissipation of the oceanic general circulation from global high resolution models

Arbic, Brian K.; Shriver, Jay F.; Hogan, Patrick J.; Hurlburt, Harley E.; McClean, Julie L.; Metzger, E. Joseph; Scott, Robert B.; Sen, Ayon; Smedstad, Ole Martin; Wallcraft, Alan J.. 2009 Estimates of bottom flows and bottom boundary layer dissipation of the oceanic general circulation from global high resolution models. Journal of Geophysical Research, 114. C02024. 10.1029/2008JC005072

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Abstract/Summary

This paper (1) compares the bottom flows of three existing high-resolution global simulations of the oceanic general circulation to near-bottom flows in a current meter database and (2) estimates, from the simulations, the global energy dissipation rate of the general circulation by quadratic bottom boundary layer drag. The study utilizes a data-assimilative run of the Naval Research Laboratory Layered Ocean Model (NLOM), a nonassimilative run of NLOM, and a nonassimilative run of the Parallel Ocean Program z-level ocean model. Generally speaking, the simulations have some difficulty matching the flows in individual current meter records. However, averages of model values of (the time average of the cube of bottom velocity, which is proportional to the dissipation rate) computed over all the current meter sites agree to within a factor of 2.7 or better with averages computed from the current meters, at least in certain depth ranges. The models therefore likely provide reasonable order-of-magnitude estimates of areally integrated dissipation by bottom drag. Global dissipation rates range from 0.14 to 0.65 TW, suggesting that bottom drag represents a substantial sink of the ∼1 TW wind-power transformed into geostrophic motions.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1029/2008JC005072
ISSN: 0148-0227
Date made live: 26 Feb 2010 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/173071

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