Ocean Transport and Eddy Energy CPT

Welcome the Ocean Transport and Eddy Energy Climate Process Team. This CPT is a large collaborative project funded by NOAA and NSF.

CPT Goals

Energy entering the climate system in the form of solar radiation is transferred between a variety of forms, scales, and locations before eventual radiation back into space. Most of the ocean’s kinetic energy takes the form of mesoscale eddies, which have lateral scales from tens to hundreds of kilometers and have a significant impact on the transport of heat, freshwater, carbon, nutrients, and biota throughout the oceans. These eddies are partially resolved in many climate models, and much of their momentum and tracer transports are parametrized. Imperfections in these parametrizations lead to prominent biases in the climate models, including incorrect rates of exchange of heat and carbon with the atmosphere, errors in the position and strength of some of the ocean’s strongest current systems, and incorrect stratification at high latitudes, inter alia. Extant parametrizations fail to make a complete accounting for the energetics of mesoscale eddies: exchanges of mesoscale energy with the resolved large scales and with submesoscales, conversions between eddy kinetic and potential energies, and transport of eddy energy across ocean basins.

This Climate Process Team (CPT) aims to implement, assess, improve, and unify recent work on energetically-consistent ocean eddy momentum and tracer parametrizations in ocean-only and coupled climate models to improve model fidelity. We will implement and compare recently-developed energetically-consistent parametrizations in the NCAR, GFDL, and LANL climate models.

The text of the proposal to NOAA and NSF can be found at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.10105922.v1 .