Challenges and Prospects in Ocean Circulation Models

Last modified: 
March 12, 2019 - 4:08pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2019
Date published: 02/2019
Authors: Baylor Fox-Kemper, Alistair Adcroft, Claus Böning, Eric Chassignet, Enrique Curchitser, Gokhan Danabasoglu, Carsten Eden, Matthew England, Rüdiger Gerdes, Richard Greatbatch, Stephen Griffies, Robert Hallberg, Emmanuel Hanert, Patrick Heimbach, Helene Hewitt, Christopher Hill, Yoshiki Komuro, Sonya Legg, Julien Le Sommer, Simona Masina, Simon Marsland, Stephen Penny, Fangli Qiao, Todd Ringler, Anne Treguier, Hiroyuki Tsujino, Petteri Uotila, Stephen Yeager
Journal title: Frontiers in Marine Science
Volume: 6

We revisit the challenges and prospects for ocean circulation models following Griffies et al. (2010). Over the past decade, ocean circulation models evolved through improved understanding, numerics, spatial discretization, grid configurations, parameterizations, data assimilation, environmental monitoring, and process-level observations and modeling. Important large scale applications over the last decade are simulations of the Southern Ocean, the Meridional Overturning Circulation and its variability, and regional sea level change. Submesoscale variability is now routinely resolved in process models and permitted in a few global models, and submesoscale effects are parameterized in most global models. The scales where nonhydrostatic effects become important are beginning to be resolved in regional and process models. Coupling to sea ice, ice shelves, and high-resolution atmospheric models has stimulated new ideas and driven improvements in numerics. Observations have provided insight into turbulence and mixing around the globe and its consequences are assessed through perturbed physics models. Relatedly, parameterizations of the mixing and overturning processes in boundary layers and the ocean interior have improved. New diagnostics being used for evaluating models alongside present and novel observations are briefly referenced. The overall goal is summarizing new developments in ocean modeling, including: how new and existing observations can be used, what modeling challenges remain, and how simulations can be used to support observations.

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