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Publication Date
26 July 2021

Ocean Surface Flux Algorithm Effects on Earth System Model Energy and Water Cycles



Earth system models parameterize ocean surface fluxes of heat, moisture, and momentum with empirical bulk flux algorithms, which introduce biases and uncertainties into simulations. We investigate the atmosphere and ocean model sensitivity to algorithm choice in the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM). Flux differences between algorithms are larger in atmosphere simulations (where wind speeds can vary) than ocean simulations (where wind speeds are fixed by forcing data). Surface flux changes lead to global scale changes in the energy and water cycles, notably including ocean heat uptake and global mean precipitation rates. Compared to the control algorithm, both COARE and University of Arizona (UA) algorithms reduce global mean precipitation and top of atmosphere radiative biases. Further, UA may slightly reduce biases in ocean meridional heat transport. We speculate that changes seen here, especially in the ocean, could be even larger in coupled simulations.

“Ocean Surface Flux Algorithm Effects On Earth System Model Energy And Water Cycles”. 2021. Frontiers In Marine Science 8. doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.642804.
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