Modeling in Anticipation of Future Space Missions

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November 6, 2018 by Helen Hill
Surface currents from the 1/48 degree simulation - courtesy: H. Torres.

This month we spotlight work by a team of researchers who have been analyzing the recent very high resolution (1/48°) MITgcm ocean global numerical simulation to better understand the distribution of internal gravity waves and submesoscale (10-100 km scale range) balanced motions in the near-surface around the globe.

Much of the energy in the upper ocean vertical velocity field is divided between internal gravity waves (IGWs) and balanced motions (BMs) with scales <100-km. Although the signals from each can be discerned in satellite observations, for such data to be useful as a tool for eg exploring spatial and temporal variations in the ocean heat budget, researchers must first characterize and understand their signatures in the different surface oceanic fields.

In their new paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, authors from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/California Institute of Technology Patrice Klein, Dimitris Menemenlis, Zhan Su, Jimbo Wang, and Lee Leung Fu , and the Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa Bo Ciu and Shuiming Chen led by JPL’s Hector S. Torres describe a study which seeks to do this through the analysis of a recent very high resolution (1/48°) MITgcm ocean global numerical simulation.

Hector Torres started to use MITgcm two years ago when he began a postdoc under the supervision of Dimitris Menemenlis at JPL/ Caltech. he is using MITgcm to understand the complex ocean dynamics held in the upper ocean layers. He says "Most importantly, it is helping us in developing the tools to exploit the synergy of present and future satellite missions."  When he's not modeling the ocean, he says he likes to play soccer and videogames with his kids and spend time with his 'beautiful' family.

The team bases their methodology on the analysis of the 12,000 frequency-wave number spectra to discriminate between the two classes of motion in the surface kinetic energy, sea surface height, sea surface temperature, sea surface salinity, relative vorticity, and divergence fields seen in the model output, which they analyze for two seasons.

Their results reveal a complex global picture of the partitioning of motions between IGWs and BMs in the different surface fields, depending on the season, the hemisphere, and low and high eddy kinetic energy regions, as well as several generic properties on the impact of these two classes of motions on the different fields giving the authors confidence that using present and future satellite observations can be useful in assessing the ocean kinetic energy on a global scale.

Finally, they note that as a world atlas of surface ocean dynamics, there is certainly more to be learned from the 12,000 frequency-wave number spectra they based their study on and that they look forward to other studies extending their results. The 12,000 frequency-wave number spectra are available at the next ftp-site:

To find out more about this work contact Hector.

This Month’s Featured Publication

Related Publication

Qiu, B., Chen, S., Klein, P., Wang, J., Torres, H. S., Fu, L.-L., Menemenlis, D. (2018), Seasonality in transition scale from balanced to unbalanced motions in the world ocean, Journal of Physical Oceanography, doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-17-0169.1

Other New Publications this Month

E. de Andres, J. Otero, F. Navarro, A. Prominska, J. Lapazaran, W. Walczowski (2018), A two-dimensional glacier–fjord coupled model applied to estimate submarine melt rates and front position changes of Hansbreen, Svalbard, Journal of Glaciology, 64(247) 745–758, doi: 10.1017/jog.2018.61

William Barham and Ian Grooms (2018), Exact instantaneous optimals in the non-geostrophic Eady problem and the detrimental effects of discretization, arXiv: 1810.10620 []

Marcelo Barreiro, Lina Sitz, Santiago de Mello, Ramon Fuentes Franco, Madeleine Renom, Riccardo Farneti (2018), Modelling the role of Atlantic air–sea interaction in the impact of Madden–Julian Oscillation on South American climate, International Journey of Climatology, doi: 10.1002/joc.5865

Pedro M. Chiossi, Olga T. Sato (2018), Sea Surface Salinity Variability in the South Atlantic from Satellite and Model Data, IWMO2018 presentation (PDF)

Emily E. Conklin, Anna B. Neuheimer, Robert J. Toonen (2018), Modeled larval connectivity of a multi-species reef fish and invertebrate assemblage off the coast of Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i, PeerJ 6:e5688, doi: 10.7717/peerj.5688

Brady S. Ferster, Bulusu Subrahmanyam, Ichiro Fukumori, and Ebenezer S. Nyadjro (2018), Variability of Southern Ocean Transports, Journal of Physical Oceanography, doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-18-0055.1

Nicholas P. Foukal and M. Susan Lozier (2018), Examining the origins of ocean heat content variability in the eastern North Atlantic subpolar gyre, Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.1029/2018GL079122

Yawen Guan, Christian Sampson, J. Derek Tucker, Won Chang, Anirban Mondal, Murali Haran and Deborah Sulsky (2018), Computer model calibration based on image warping metrics: an application for sea ice deformation, arXiv: 1810.06608 [stat.AP]

Nils Hutter, Lorenzo Zampieri, and Martin Losch (2018), Leads and ridges in Arctic sea ice from RGPS data and a new tracking algorithm, The Cryosphere Discuss., doi: 10.5194/tc-2018-207

Andreas Klocker (2018), Opening the window to the Southern Ocean: The role of jet dynamics, Science Advances, Vol. 4, no. 10, eaao4719, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aao4719

Chengyan Liu, Zhaomin Wang, Chen Cheng, Yang Wu, Ruibin Xia, Bingrui Li, Xiang Li (2018), On the modified Circumpolar Deep Water upwelling over the Four Ladies Bank in Prydz Bay, East Antarctica, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, doi: 10.1029/2018JC014026

Martin Losch, Jean-Michel Campin (2018), Sea ice dynamics solvers in the MITgcm, Presentation at COMMODORE, Paris, 2018, (PDF)

Gianluca Meneghello, John Marshall, Jean‐Michel Campin, Edward Doddridge, Mary‐Louise Timmermans (2018), The Ice‐Ocean governor: ice‐ocean stress feedback limits Beaufort Gyre spin up, Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.1029/2018GL080171

Longjiang Mu, Martin Losch, Qinghua Yang, Robert Ricker, Svetlana N. Loza, Lars Nerger (2018), Arctic‐wide sea ice thickness estimates from combining satellite remote sensing data and a dynamic ice‐ocean model with data assimilation during the CryoSat‐2 period, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, doi: 10.1029/2018JC014316

S. Elnaz Naghibi, Sergey A. Karabasov, Mir Abbas Jalali, S.M. Hadi Sadati (2018), Fast spectral solutions of the double-gyre problem in a turbulent flow regime, Applied Mathematical Modeling, doi: 10.1016/j.apm.2018.09.026

Alexandre Pohl, Marie Laugié, Jean Borgomano, Julien Michel, Cyprien Lanteaume, Christopher R. Scotese, Camille Frau, Emmanuelle Poli, Yannick Donnadieu (2018), Quantifying the paleogeographic driver of Cretaceous carbonate platform development using paleoecological niche modeling, Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology, doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.10.017

Namrata Roy, Ritaban Chatterjee, Manasvita Joshi, Aritra Ghosh (2018), Probing the Jets of Blazars Using the Temporal Symmetry of Their Multi-Wavelength Outbursts, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, doi: 10.1093/mnras/sty2748

Michael Spall, Robert S. Pickart, Min Li, Motoyo Itoh, Peigen Lin, Takashi Kikuchi, Yiquan Qi (2018), Transport of Pacific Water into the Canada Basin and the formation of the Chukchi Slope Current, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, doi: 10.1029/2018JC013825

Ehud Strobach, Andrea Molod, Gael Forget, Jean-Michel Campin, Chris Hill, Dimitris Menemenlis, Patrick Heimbach (2018), Consequences of different air-sea feedbacks on ocean using MITgcm and MERRA-2 forcing: Implications for Coupled Data Assimilation Systems, Ocean Modelling, doi: 10.1016/j.ocemod.2018.10.006

Mischa Ungermann, Martin Losch (2018), An Observationally‐Based Evaluation of Sub‐Grid Scale Ice Thickness Distributions Simulated in a Large‐Scale Sea Ice ‐ Ocean Model of the Arctic Ocean, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, doi: 10.1029/2018JC014022

Bronwyn Wake (2018), Pacific oxygen changes, Nature Climate Change 8, 854, doi: 10.1038/s41558-018-0302-y

Shuya Wang, Xu Chen, Qun Li, Jinhu Wang, Jing Meng, Mengxin Zhao (2018), Scattering of low-mode internal tides at different shaped continental shelves, Continental Shelf Research, Volume 169, Pages 17-24, doi: 10.1016/j.csr.2018.09.010

Katherine Zaba, Daniel L. Rudnick, Bruce Cornuelle, Ganesh Gopalakrishnan, and Matthew Mazloff (2018), Annual and interannual variability in the California Current System: Comparison of an ocean state estimate with a network of underwater gliders, Journal of Physical Oceanography, doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-18-0037.1

L. Zanna J. M. Brankart M. Huber S. Leroux T. Penduff P. D. Williams (2018), Uncertainty and Scale Interactions in Ocean Ensembles: From Seasonal Forecasts to Multi‐Decadal Climate Predictions, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, doi: 10.1002/qj.3397

Do you have news about research using MITgcm? We are looking for contributions to these pages. If you have an interesting MITgcm project (ocean, atmosphere, sea-ice, physics, biology or otherwise) that you want to tell people about, get in touch. To make a post, contact Helen