Spurious dianeutral mixing and the role of momentum closure

Mehmet Ilicak*, Alistair J. Adcroft, Stephen M. Griffies, Robert W. Hallberg

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118 Atıf (Scopus)


This paper examines spurious dianeutral transport within a suite of ocean models (GOLD, MITgcm, MOM, and ROMS). We quantify such transport through a global diagnostic that computes the reference potential energy, whose evolution arises solely through transport between density classes. Previous studies have focused on the importance of accurate tracer advection schemes in reducing the spurious transport and closure. The present study highlights complementary issues associated with momentum transport. Spurious dianeutral transport is shown to be directly proportional to the lateral grid Reynolds number (Re Δ), with such transport significantly reduced when Re Δ<10.Simulations with the isopycnal model GOLD provide a benchmark for the smallest level of spurious dianeutral transport realizable in our model suite. For idealized simulations with a linear equation of state, GOLD exhibits identically zero spurious dianeutral mixing, and thus maintains a constant reference potential energy when all physical mixing processes are omitted. Amongst the non-isopycnal models tested in idealized simulations, ROMS generally produces smaller spurious dianeutral mixing than MITgcm or MOM, since ROMS makes use of a higher order upwind-biased scheme for momentum transport that enforces a small Re Δ. In contrast, MITgcm and MOM both employ unbiased (centered) discretizations of momentum transport, and therefore rely on lateral friction operators to control the grid Reynolds number. We find that a lateral shear-dependent Smagorinsky viscosity provides an effective means to locally reduce Re Δ, and thus to reduce spurious dianeutral transport in MITgcm and MOM. In addition to four idealized simulations, we quantify spurious dianeutral transport in realistic global ocean climate simulations using GOLD and MOM with a realistic equation of state for seawater, both with and without mesoscale eddies in the resolved flow field. The GOLD simulations have detectable levels of spurious cabbeling from along isopycnal advective truncation errors. Significantly larger spurious dianeutral transport arises in a non-eddying MOM simulation. In an eddying MOM simulation, spurious dianeutral transport is larger still but is reduced by increasing momentum friction.

Orijinal dilİngilizce
Sayfa (başlangıç-bitiş)37-58
Sayfa sayısı22
DergiOcean Modelling
Yayın durumuYayınlandı - 2012
Harici olarak yayınlandıEvet

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