A numerical study of the response of tropical Pacific SST to atmospheric forcing
Keywords:Tropical Pacific, Sea surface temperature (SST), Simulation, El Nino, Parameterization, Numerical model
Two sets of atmospheric forcing from NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project, one based on monthly averaged climatological data and the other on 1982-83 monthly averaged data, are used to derive the global Miami Isopycnic Coordinate Ocean Model (MICOM). These two runs are referred to as the climatological experiments and 1982-83 El Nino experiments. Sensitivity tests of tropical Pacific SST to different bulk parameterizations of air-sea heat and momentum fluxes are carried out in the two experiments. Primary results show that constant transfer coefficients (1.2 × 10-3) for heat flux greatly overestimate the tropical Pacific SST, whereas the Liu-Katsaros-Businger (Liu et al. 1979) method can significantly improve the SST simulation especially under very low-wind speed conditions. On the other hand, Large and Pond (1982) formulation of the drag coefficient made little difference on the tropical Pacific SST simulation although it might modify the surface ocean circulation. The SST seasonal cycle and interannual variability of tropical Pacific SST are also examined in this study. Since SST is the most important oceanic parameter that provides the link between the atmosphere and the ocean, this evaluation of different parameterization schemes may facilitate future studies on coupling ocean-atmospheric numeric models.
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