Evaluation of North Atlantic property field simulations at 1/6
One way to measure the skill of an ocean general circulation model is to evaluate its ability to simulate observed property distributions. Pressure, temperature, and salinity distributions generated by a 1/6° Atlantic Ocean general circulation model are compared with climatological fields on three potential density surfaces, representative of the upper, middepth, and deep ocean waters. The upper ocean property fields are relatively well simulated, a testimony to the model's ability to generally reproduce the wind-driven circulation in the North Atlantic. However, in the middepth and deep ocean, where wind forcing is negligible and bouyant flows associated with deep-water formation play a major role in establishing property distributions, the fields are poorly represented in the 1/6° Atlantic Ocean model. The comparison between the observed and modeled fields indicates several model deficiencies in the representation of intermediate and deep waters and their pathways. Possible model improvements to reduce the mismatch between model and data are proposed.
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