Towards a parametrization of river discharges into ocean general circulation models: a closure through energy conservation

Hordoir, R.; Polcher, J.; Brun-Cottan, J-C.; Madec, G.. 2008 Towards a parametrization of river discharges into ocean general circulation models: a closure through energy conservation. Climate Dynamics, 31 (7-8). 891-908.

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Diagnostic methods are defined in order to compare two numerical simulations of ocean dynamics in a region of freshwater influence. The first one is a river plume simulation based on a high resolution numerical configuration of the POM coastal ocean model in which mixing parametrizations have been previously defined. The second one is a simulation based on the NEMO Global Ocean Model used for climate simulations in its half-a-degree configuration in which a river inflow is represented as precipitation on two coastal grid cells. Both simulations are forced with the same freshwater inflows and wind stresses. The divergence of volumetric fluxes above and below the halocline are compared. Results show that when an upwelling wind blows, the two models display similar behavior although the impact of lack of precision can be observed in the NEMO configuration. When a downwelling wind blows, the NEMO Global Ocean configuration can not reproduce the coastally trapped baroclinic dynamics because its grid resolution is too coarse. To find a parametrization to help represent these dynamics in ocean general circulation models, a method based on energy conservation is investigated. This method shows that it is possible to link the energy fluxes provided by river inflows to the divergence of energy fluxes integrated over the grid cells of ocean general circulation models. A parametrization of the dynamics created by freshwater inflows is deduced from this method. This enabled creation of a box model that proved to have the same behavior as the fluxes previously computed from the high resolution configuration.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0930-7575
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00382-008-0416-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Additional Keywords: River inflows, Freshwater plumes, OGCMs, Subgrid-scale, Energy conservation
Date made live: 09 Dec 2008 +0 (UTC)

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