Estimating Global Air-Sea Fluxes from Surface Properties and from Climatological Flux Data Using an Oceanic General Circulation Model

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Estimating Global Air-Sea Fluxes from Surface Properties and from Climatological Flux Data Using an Oceanic General Circulation Model

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Title: Estimating Global Air-Sea Fluxes from Surface Properties and from Climatological Flux Data Using an Oceanic General Circulation Model
Author: Tziperman, Eli; Bryan, Kirk

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Citation: Tziperman, Eli, and Kirk Bryan. 1993. Estimating global air-sea fluxes from surface properties and from climatological flux data using an oceanic general circulation model. Journal of Geophysical Research, Oceans 98(C12): 22629–22644.
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Abstract: A simple method is presented and demonstrated for estimating air-sea fluxes of heat and fresh water with the aid of a general circulation model (GCM), using both sea surface temperature and salinity data and climatological air-sea flux data. The approach is motivated by a least squares optimization problem in which the various data sets are combined to form an optimal solution for the air-sea fluxes. The method provides estimates of the surface properties and air-sea flux data that are as consistent as possible with the original data sets and with the model physics. The calculation of these estimates involves adding a simple equation for calculating the air-sea fluxes during the model run and then running the model to a steady state. The proposed method was applied to a coarse resolution global primitive equation model and annually averaged data sets. Both the spatial distribution of the global air-sea fluxes and the meridional fluxes carried by the ocean were estimated. The resulting air-sea fluxes seem smoother and significantly closer to the climatological flux estimates than do the air-sea fluxes obtained from the GCM by simply specifying the surface temperature and salinity. The better fit to the climatological fluxes was balanced by a larger deviation from the surface temperature and salinity. These surface fields were still close to the observations within the measurement error in most regions, except western boundary areas. The inconsistency of the model and data in western boundary areas is probably related to the inability of the coarse resolution GCM to appropriately simulate the large transports there. The meridional fluxes calculated by the proposed method differ very little from those obtained by simply specifying the surface temperature and salinity. We suggest therefore that these meridional fluxes are strongly influenced by the interior model dynamics; in particular, the too-weak model meridional circulation cell seems to be the reason for differences between the meridional transports in the model and those estimated from other sources. We discuss the implications for the calculation of air-sea fluxes by inverse models.
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/93JC01139
Other Sources: http://www.deas.harvard.edu/climate/eli/reprints/Tziperman-Bryan-1993.pdf
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3425910
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