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Increasing Atlantic Ocean Heat Transport in the Latest Generation Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Models: The Role of Air-Sea Interaction

Grist, Jeremy P.; Josey, Simon A.; New, Adrian L.; Roberts, Malcolm; Koenigk, Torben; Iovino, Doroteaciro. 2018 Increasing Atlantic Ocean Heat Transport in the Latest Generation Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Models: The Role of Air-Sea Interaction. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123 (11). 8624-8637. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JC014387

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Abstract/Summary

Recent increases in resolution of coupled ocean‐atmosphere models have the potential to improve the representation of poleward heat transport within the climate system. Here we examine the interplay between model resolution‐dependent changes in Atlantic Ocean heat transport (AOHT) and surface heat fluxes. The different roles of changes in atmospheric and ocean resolution are isolated using three different climate models (The Centro Euro‐Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici Climate Model 2, Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model 3 – Global Coupled configuration 2, and European Community Earth‐System Model 3.1) and comparing runs in which (a) only the ocean resolution changes, (b) only the atmosphere resolution changes, and (c) both change. Enhancing ocean resolution from eddy parameterized to eddy permitting increases the AOHT throughout the basin, values changing from 1.0 to 1.2 PW at 26°N, bringing the AOHT into the range of estimates from the RAPID observing array. This increase in AOHT is associated with higher North Atlantic sea surface temperatures and increased ocean heat loss to the atmosphere. Increasing the atmospheric resolution alone has little impact on the AOHT due to regionally compensating changes in the components of the net heat flux. Finally, in a fourth experiment the impact of resolution changes in both components and the transition to an eddy‐resolving ocean is assessed. This additional resolution increase is accompanied by a further change in the AOHT and improves agreement with observations in the tropics but not the subpolar regions. However, unlike with the increase to the eddy‐permitting ocean, when the greatest AOHT change occurs in the subtropics and subpolar region, the most significant increase now occurs in the tropics.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JC014387
ISSN: 21699275
Date made live: 08 Jan 2019 15:44 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/521992

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