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Will high-resolution global ocean models benefit coupled predictions on short-range to climate timescales?

TitleWill high-resolution global ocean models benefit coupled predictions on short-range to climate timescales?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsHewitt H.T, Bell M.J, Chassignet E.P, Czaja A., Ferreira D., Griffies S.M, Hyder P., McClean JL, New A.L, Roberts M.J
JournalOcean Modelling
Date Published2017/12
Type of ArticleReview
ISBN Number1463-5003
Accession NumberWOS:000417445200009
Keywordsantarctic; atmosphere; circumpolar current; coupled; embedded lagrangian model; gulf-stream; low-frequency variability; Meridional overturning circulation; Mesoscale eddies; north-atlantic; ocean; oscillation; parameterisation; resolution; sea-surface temperature; southern-ocean; transient atmospheric response

As the importance of the ocean in the weather and climate system is increasingly recognised, operational systems are now moving towards coupled prediction not only for seasonal to climate timescales but also for short-range forecasts. A three-way tension exists between the allocation of computing resources to refine model resolution, the expansion of model complexity/ capability, and the increase of ensemble size. Here we review evidence for the benefits of increased ocean resolution in global coupled models, where the ocean component explicitly represents transient mesoscale eddies and narrow boundary currents. We consider lessons learned from forced ocean/sea-ice simulations; from studies concerning the SST resolution required to impact atmospheric simulations; and from coupled predictions. Impacts of the mesoscale ocean in western boundary current regions on the large-scale atmospheric state have been identified. Understanding of air-sea feedback in western boundary currents is modifying our view of the dynamics in these key regions. It remains unclear whether variability associated with open ocean mesoscale eddies is equally important to the large-scale atmospheric state. We include a discussion of what processes can presently be parameterised in coupled models with coarse resolution non-eddying ocean models, and where parameterizations may fall short. We discuss the benefits of resolution and identify gaps in the current literature that leave important questions unanswered.

Short TitleOcean Model.
Student Publication: