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Oceanobs19: An Ocean of Opportunity

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Front. Mar. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00065

Challenges and Prospects in Ocean Circulation Models

 Baylor Fox-Kemper1*, Alistair Adcroft2, Claus W. Böning3,  Eric P. Chassignet4, Enrique Curchitser5, Gokhan Danabasoglu6, Carsten Eden7,  Matthew H. England8, Rüdiger Gerdes9,  Richard J. Greatbatch3, Stephen M. Griffies2, Robert W. Hallberg2,  Emmanuel Hanert10,  Patrick Heimbach11,  Helene T. Hewitt12,  Christopher N. Hill13, Yoshiki Komuro14,  Sonza Legg2, Julien Le Sommer15, Simona Masina16,  Simon J. Marsland17,  StephenStephen G. Penny18,  Fangli Qiao19, Todd D. Ringler20, Anne Marie Treguier21,  Hiroyuki Tsujino22,  Petteri Uotila23 and  Stephen G. Yeager6
  • 1Brown University, United States
  • 2Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), United States
  • 3Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics, GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany
  • 4Center for Ocean Atmospheric Prediction Studies, Florida State University, United States
  • 5Department of Environmental Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, United States
  • 6Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory (UCAR), United States
  • 7Institut für Meereskunde, Fachbereich Geowissenschaften, Universität Hamburg, Germany
  • 8Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia
  • 9Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Germany
  • 10Earth and Life Institute, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium
  • 11Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, United States
  • 12Met Office Ocean Modelling Group, United Kingdom
  • 13Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, School of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
  • 14Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Japan
  • 15UMR5001 Institut des Géosciences de l'Environnement (IGE), France
  • 16Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC), Italy
  • 17Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, College of Sciences and Engineering, University of Tasmania, Australia
  • 18Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, United States
  • 19First Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, China
  • 20Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory (DOE), United States
  • 21UMR6523 Laboratoire d'Oceanographie Physique et Spatiale (LOPS), France
  • 22Meteorological Research Institute (MRI), Japan
  • 23Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research, University of Helsinki, Finland

We revisit the challenges and prospects for ocean circulation models following Griffies et al. (2010). Over the past decade, ocean circulation models evolved through improved understanding, numerics, spatial discretization, grid configurations, parameterizations, data assimilation, environmental monitoring, and process-level observations and modeling. Important large scale applications over the last decade are simulations of the Southern Ocean, the Meridional Overturning Circulation and its variability, and regional sea level change. Submesoscale variability is now routinely resolved in process models and permitted in a few global models, and submesoscale effects are parameterized in most global models. The scales where nonhydrostatic effects become important are beginning to be resolved in regional and process models. Coupling to sea ice, ice shelves, and high-resolution atmospheric models has stimulated new ideas and driven improvements in numerics.

Observations have provided insight into turbulence and mixing around the globe and assessed through perturbed physics models. Relatedly, parameterizations of the mixing and overturning processes in boundary layers and the ocean interior have improved. New diagnostics being used for evaluating models alongside present and novel observations are briefly referenced. The overall goal is summarizing new developments in ocean modeling, including: how new and existing observations can be used, what modeling challenges remain, and how simulations can be used to support observations.

Keywords: Ocean Circulation, Model, ocean processes, climate, Parameterization, Numerics numerical simulation

Received: 31 Oct 2018; Accepted: 05 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Sanae Chiba, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Japan

Reviewed by:

Fabien Roquet, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Markus Jochum, National Bureau of Investigation, Finland  

Copyright: © 2019 Fox-Kemper, Adcroft, Böning, Chassignet, Curchitser, Danabasoglu, Eden, England, Gerdes, Greatbatch, Griffies, Hallberg, Hanert, Heimbach, Hewitt, Hill, Komuro, Legg, Le Sommer, Masina, Marsland, Penny, Qiao, Ringler, Treguier, Tsujino, Uotila and Yeager. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Baylor Fox-Kemper, Brown University, Providence, United States,