A Linear Thermohaline Oscillator Driven by Stochastic Atmospheric Forcing
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Griffies, Stephen M.
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CitationGriffies, Stephen M. and Eli Tziperman. 1995. A linear thermohaline oscillator driven by stochastic atmospheric forcing. Journal of Climate 8(10): 2440-2453.
AbstractThe interdecadal variability of a stochastically forced four-box model of the oceanic meridional thermohaline circulation (THC) is described and compared to the THC variability in the coupled ocean–atmosphere GCM of Delworth, Manabe, and Stouffer. The box model is placed in a linearly stable thermally dominant mean state under mixed boundary conditions. A linear stability analysis of this state reveals one damped oscillatory THC mode in addition to purely damped modes. The variability of the model under a moderate amount of stochastic forcing, meant to emulate the random variability of the atmosphere affecting the coupled model's interdecadal THC variability, is studied. A linear interpretation, in which the damped oscillatory mode is of primary importance, is sufficient for understanding the mechanism accounting for the stochastically forced variability. Direct comparison of the variability in the box model and coupled GCM reveals common qualitative aspects. Such a comparison supports, although does not verify, the hypothesis that the coupled model's THC variability can be interpreted as the result of atmospheric weather exciting a linear damped oscillatory THC mode.
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