How Does the Redi Parameter for Mesoscale Mixing Impact Global Climate in an Earth System Model?

TitleHow Does the Redi Parameter for Mesoscale Mixing Impact Global Climate in an Earth System Model?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
JournalJournal of Advances in Modeling the Earth System
Volume6
Pages586-601
Date Published07/2014
Abstract / Summary

A coupled climate model is used to examine the impact of an increase in the mixing due to mesoscale eddies on the global climate system. A sixfold increase in the Redi mixing coefficient ARedi, which is within the admissible range of variation, has the overall effect of warming the global-mean surface air and sea surface temperatures by more than 1°C. Locally, sea surface temperatures increase by up to 7°C in the North Pacific and by up to 4°C in the Southern Ocean, with corresponding impacts on the ice concentration and ice extent in polar regions. However, it is not clear that the changes in heat transport from tropics to poles associated with changing this coefficient are primarily responsible for these changes. We found that the changes in the transport of heat are often much smaller than changes in long-wave trapping and short-wave absorption. Additionally, changes in the advective and diffusive transport of heat toward the poles often oppose each other. However, we note that the poleward transport of salt increases near the surface as ARedi increases. We suggest a causal chain in which enhanced eddy stirring leads to increased high-latitude surface salinity reducing salt stratification and water column stability and enhancing convection, triggering two feedback loops. In one, deeper convection prevents sea ice formation, which decreases albedo, which increases SW absorption, further increasing SST and decreasing sea ice formation. In the other, increased SST and reduced sea ice allow for more water vapor in the atmosphere, trapping long-wave radiation. Destratifying the polar regions is thus a potential way in which changes in ocean circulation might warm the planet.

URLhttp://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013MS000273/full
Journal: Journal of Advances in Modeling the Earth System
Year of Publication: 2014
Volume: 6
Pages: 586-601
Date Published: 07/2014

A coupled climate model is used to examine the impact of an increase in the mixing due to mesoscale eddies on the global climate system. A sixfold increase in the Redi mixing coefficient ARedi, which is within the admissible range of variation, has the overall effect of warming the global-mean surface air and sea surface temperatures by more than 1°C. Locally, sea surface temperatures increase by up to 7°C in the North Pacific and by up to 4°C in the Southern Ocean, with corresponding impacts on the ice concentration and ice extent in polar regions. However, it is not clear that the changes in heat transport from tropics to poles associated with changing this coefficient are primarily responsible for these changes. We found that the changes in the transport of heat are often much smaller than changes in long-wave trapping and short-wave absorption. Additionally, changes in the advective and diffusive transport of heat toward the poles often oppose each other. However, we note that the poleward transport of salt increases near the surface as ARedi increases. We suggest a causal chain in which enhanced eddy stirring leads to increased high-latitude surface salinity reducing salt stratification and water column stability and enhancing convection, triggering two feedback loops. In one, deeper convection prevents sea ice formation, which decreases albedo, which increases SW absorption, further increasing SST and decreasing sea ice formation. In the other, increased SST and reduced sea ice allow for more water vapor in the atmosphere, trapping long-wave radiation. Destratifying the polar regions is thus a potential way in which changes in ocean circulation might warm the planet.

Citation:
Pradal, M, and A Gnanadesikan.  2014.  "How Does the Redi Parameter for Mesoscale Mixing Impact Global Climate in an Earth System Model?"  Journal of Advances in Modeling the Earth System 6: 586-601.