Impact of horizontal resolution on global ocean–sea ice model simulations based on the experimental protocols of the Ocean Model Intercomparison Project phase 2 (OMIP-2)

Chassignet, Eric P.; Yeager, Stephen G.; Fox-Kemper, Baylor; Bozec, Alexandra; Castruccio, Frederic; Danabasoglu, Gokhan; Horvat, Christopher; Kim, Who M.; Koldunov, Nikolay; Li, Yiwen; Lin, Pengfei; Liu, Hailong; Sein, Dmitry V.; Sidorenko, Dmitry; Wang, Qiang; Xu, Xiaobiao

This paper presents global comparisons of fundamental global climate variables from a suite of four pairs of matched low- and high-resolution ocean and sea ice simulations that are obtained following the OMIP-2 protocol (Griffies et al., 2016) and integrated for one cycle (1958–2018) of the JRA55-do atmospheric state and runoff dataset (Tsujino et al., 2018). Our goal is to assess the robustness of climate-relevant improvements in ocean simulations (mean and variability) associated with moving from coarse (inline-formula∼ 1inline-formula) to eddy-resolving (inline-formula∼ 0.1inline-formula) horizontal resolutions. The models are diverse in their numerics and parameterizations, but each low-resolution and high-resolution pair of models is matched so as to isolate, to the extent possible, the effects of horizontal resolution. A variety of observational datasets are used to assess the fidelity of simulated temperature and salinity, sea surface height, kinetic energy, heat and volume transports, and sea ice distribution. This paper provides a crucial benchmark for future studies comparing and improving different schemes in any of the models used in this study or similar ones. The biases in the low-resolution simulations are familiar, and their gross features – position, strength, and variability of western boundary currents, equatorial currents, and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current – are significantly improved in the high-resolution models. However, despite the fact that the high-resolution models “resolve” most of these features, the improvements in temperature and salinity are inconsistent among the different model families, and some regions show increased bias over their low-resolution counterparts. Greatly enhanced horizontal resolution does not deliver unambiguous bias improvement in all regions for all models.

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Chassignet, Eric P. / Yeager, Stephen G. / Fox-Kemper, Baylor / et al: Impact of horizontal resolution on global ocean–sea ice model simulations based on the experimental protocols of the Ocean Model Intercomparison Project phase 2 (OMIP-2). 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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