Studying ocean circulation with simple forcing


Joe Lacasce

Professor - Meteorologi og oseanografi, UiO



The large scale ocean circulation is most frequently modelled
using full complexity numerical models, with wind, thermal and haline 
(salt) forcing. With such forcing it can be difficult to deduce what the main 
driving mechanisms are. We consider the simpler case in which the ocean
is driven purely by heating and cooling at the surface. We first examine
the case of a square ocean and compare with predictions from a 
theoretical model. Then we examine the response with realistic bathymetry.
This exhibits many realistic features, such as an appropriate overturning 
circulation which is intensified in the Atlantic. The advantage is that, lacking 
wind forcing, it is much easier to dissect the inter-basin exchange. The 
approach lends itself well to paleoclimatic studies, when the wind was 
unknown but solar radiation was. 

Published Aug. 25, 2015 1:53 PM - Last modified June 28, 2016 3:56 PM