Wind stress forcing in the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans

tamas.kovacs [ at ]


One of the key processes responsible for driving the circulation of ocean waters is the wind stress. This important air-sea interaction stands for the imparting of atmospheric momentum to the ocean. The prevailing wind patterns largely influence the velocity in the top Ekman layer in the ocean, sustaining the observed system of surface currents. Given the internal variability of the wind climate, these surface currents are subject to anomalies in space and time that can have large scale effects on oceanic processes. This is particularly true in the Arctic and the subpolar North Atlantic oceans that play a key role in the global ocean circulation, and are influenced by variations of wind stress forcing associated with large scale atmospheric modes in these regions. In this study we examine the sensitivity of surface currents, ice cover, freshwater and heat content in these ocean basins to wind stress forcing through numerical experiments. The tool for this is the Modini-system, a partial coupling technique that allows flexible experiments with prescribed wind stress fields for the ocean in the otherwise fully coupled Earth System Model of the Max Planck Institute. In this work we present our results investigating the role of wind stress forcing in shaping the distribution and exchanges of state variables in and between the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans by comparing our model results using external wind stress forcing with the Modini-system, and fully coupled runs.

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Conference (Talk)
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POLAR2018 Open Science Conference, 19 Jun 2018 - 23 Jun 2018, Davos, Switzerland.
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Kovacs, T. and Gerdes, R. (2018): Wind stress forcing in the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans , POLAR2018 Open Science Conference, Davos, Switzerland, 19 June 2018 - 23 June 2018 .

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