U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Will High-Resolution Global Ocean Models Benefit Coupled Predictions on Short-Range to Climate Timescales?
Published: December 01, 2017
Posted: April 09, 2018

Benefits of high-resolution ocean models to climate simulation.

The Science
This is a review article of the benefits of the explicit resolution of mesoscale eddies, narrow boundary currents and their frontal structures, and topographic-flow interactions in the ocean components of global coupled models. Based on published, albeit limited results, the emerging consensus is that the realistic representation of these features and processes is important for coupled prediction.

The Impact
Fine resolution coupled models allow for the representation of climate processes and feedbacks on short space scales that are currently missing in standard coupled models. Overall, both ocean and atmospheric circulations are impacted by the presence of explicit mesoscale eddies and well-resolved frontal systems. 

Summary
A review of published findings indicates that it is very likely important to explicitly resolve oceanic mesoscale eddies, frontal systems associated with western boundary currents, and topographic-flow interactions in coupled prediction models. In standard climate models, these processes and features are either unrealistically represented or are parameterized, or may even be missing. It was found that explicitly resolved mesoscale eddies reduce subsurface ocean model warming drifts, improving the realism of water masses relative to those in standard models. The energy cycle and meandering state of the Kuroshio Extension in the North Pacific was found to be strongly dependent on mesoscale eddy-atmosphere feedbacks. Accurate simulation of climate system responses in the Southern Ocean was reported to be critically dependent on mesoscale eddies. Mesoscale oceanic eddies impact the atmospheric boundary layer and above, as well as extra-tropical storm tracks. In the Gulf Stream region, storm track biases were reduced and blocking frequencies improved. 

Contacts (BER PM)
Renu Joseph
Regional and Global Climate Modeling
Renu.Joseph@science.doe.gov

Dorothy Koch
Earth System Modeling
Dorothy.Koch@science.doe.gov

(PI Contact)
Julie L McClean
Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Funding
This work is supported by the Director, Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research of the US Department of Energy as part of the Earth System Modeling and Regional and Global Climate Modeling programs.

Publications
Hewitt, H.T., M.J. Bell, E.P. Chassignet, A. Czaja, D. Ferreira, S.M. Griffies, P. Hyder, J. McClean, A.L. New, and M.J. Roberts, "Will high-resolution global ocean models benefit coupled predictions on short-range to climate timescales?" Ocean Modelling 120, 120-136 (2018). [DOI:10.1016/j.ocemod.2017.11.002]

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)