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Journal Article

A spectral barotropic model of the wind-driven world ocean


Zhu,  Xiuhua
The Land in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Fellows, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Frisius, T., Fraedrich, K., Zhu, X., & Wang, W. (2009). A spectral barotropic model of the wind-driven world ocean. Ocean Modelling, 30, 310-322. doi:10.1016/j.ocemod.2009.07.008.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-3B7D-0
A global spectral barotropic ocean model is introduced to describe the depth-averaged flow. The equations are based on vorticity and divergence (instead of horizontal momentum); continents exert a nearly infinite drag on the fluid. The coding follows that of spectral atmospheric general circulation models using triangular truncation and implicit time integration to provide a first step for seamless coupling to spectral atmospheric global circulation models and an efficient method for filtering of ocean wave dynamics. Five experiments demonstrate the model performance: (i) Bounded by an idealized basin geometry and driven by a zonally uniform wind stress, the ocean circulation shows close similarity with Munk's analytical solution. (ii) With a real land-sea mask the model is capable of reproducing the spin-up, location and magnitudes of depth-averaged barotropic ocean currents. (iii) The ocean wave-dynamics of equatorial waves, excited by a height perturbation at the equator, shows wave dispersion and reflection at eastern and western coastal boundaries. (iv) The model reproduces propagation times of observed surface gravity waves in the Pacific with real bathymetry. (v) Advection of tracers can be simulated reasonably by the spectral method or a semi-Langrangian transport scheme. This spectral barotropic model may serve as a first step towards an intermediate complexity spectral atmosphere-ocean model for studying atmosphere-ocean interactions in idealized setups and long term climate variability beyond millennia. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.