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Transcript
ventilated water. State-of-the-art ocean models in-
Ocean circulation models are remarkably sensitive
vestigate the impact of mixing from overflows over
to small perturbations in bathymetry. In high-reso-
sills and in deep ocean basins through direct simu-
lution models used to predict oceanic flows, small
lation and parameterization (Figure 3). Because
topographic features can steer major currents (Fig-
ocean currents interact with the bottom of the
ure 4). Other ocean models run for climate predic-
ocean, detailed knowledge of seafloor bathymetry
tion (Figure 3) show how changes in bathymetry
will help improve predictions of the global ocean
influence poleward heat transport. Ocean climate
circulation and heat transport, and thus their ef-
modelers looked at the impact of changing the
fect on climate.
depth of the ridge separating the high-latitude
Norwegian Sea from the North Atlantic Ocean. In
predicting ocean circulation
their model, the ocean transports nearly twice as
much heat northward when the ridge contains deep
Numerical models of the ocean’s circulation fore-
passageways. This difference implies significantly
cast currents for shipping and military operations,
different climate regimes. These results show that
predict climate, provide early warnings for natural
accurate representation of ridges and canyons is
disasters, and help us understand the fundamen-
important even for low-resolution climate models,
tal physics that governs ocean circulation, which
and that topographic features in the deep ocean
in turn helps develop improved forecast models.
can steer upper ocean and surface level flows, even
Bathymetry provides the bottom boundary condi-
when the flow does not intersect topography.
tion for all types of ocean models.
Greenland
0
Denmark
Strait
Iceland
200
Depth (m)
Scotland
Iceland Scotland
Ridges
Figure 3. Accurate bathymetry is important
even for the low-resolution ocean models
400
used in global climate change studies.
600
Including deep passageways (show in red)
800
in the sill that connects the Greenland-
1000
Iceland-Norway Sea with the North Atlantic
1200
results in twice as much poleward heat
Northward Heat Transport (PW)
transport in the UK Meteorological Office’s
0.8
0.6
1° by 1° ocean climate model. This difference predicts significantly different
Deep Passage
modeled climate regimes. Adapted from
0.4
Roberts, M. J. and R. A. Wood, 1997, J.
Phys. Oceanogr., 27, 823-836.
Shallow Sill
0.2
0.0
-0.2
-0.4
-10
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
Latitude (N)
7
70
80