Explorations of the Annual Mean Heat Budget of the Tropical Indian Ocean. Part II: Studies with a Simplified Ocean General Circulation Model
Journal of Climate
Present-day OGCMs give low values of annual mean net heat flux (AMNHF) in the tropical Indian Ocean, compared to climatologies. AMNHF generation is examined in an open-boundary model of this region with realistic coastlines. In the first two of three experiments only annual mean wind stresses were applied so that a modified form of the "minimum depth criterion" of the previous paper would be applicable. Area-integrated AMNHF was well below observed values, despite the fact that western boundary
... at western boundary inflow was substantially deeper and colder than was expected from the modified minimum depth estimate. The model showed large "spikes" in the gradient of "depth-integrated steric height" (DISH) along the western boundary, coinciding with coastline steps (which were absent in the previous paper). Most diapycnal entrainment occurred next to the coast, near these steps. In a third experiment a seasonal cycle of wind stress was added to the same annual mean. Annual mean diapycnal mixing and entrainment increased and the western boundary inflow deepened, resulting in substantially greater AMNHF for the same annual mean Ekman transports. However, area-integrated AMNHF was still well below the mean of directly observed surface fluxes. The recirculation around the "Great Whirl" doubled, permitting more cold water crossing the equator in one year to mix with recirculated water generated in a previous year. Entrainment up to the surface thus went by stages, over more than one year. The increased Great Whirl was related to stronger annual mean curls of nonlinear terms in the momentum equation, while the deeper entrainment was caused by stronger annual mean diapycnal mixing. In all experiments, diapycnal mixing was primarily due to the "flux corrected transport" (FCT) advective scheme, which in effect replaces spurious convective overturn by numerical diffusion. More research is needed to solve such problems, but sensitivity of AMNHF in OGCMs to time-varying forcing-due to seasonal, intraseasonal, or baroclinic instability-may offer a new source of climate predictability.