Comparison of ocean vertical mixing schemes in the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model (MPI-ESM1.2)

Gutjahr, Oliver; Brüggemann, Nils; Haak, Helmuth; Jungclaus, Johann H.; Putrasahan, Dian A.; Lohmann, Katja; von Storch, Jin-Song

For the first time, we compare the effects of four different ocean vertical mixing schemes on the mean state of the ocean and atmosphere in the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model (MPI-ESM1.2). These four schemes are namely the default citxref_text.1#bib1.bibx85Pacanowski and Philander (#bib1.bibx851981) (PP) scheme, the inline-formulaK-profile parameterization (KPP) from the Community Vertical Mixing (CVMix) library, a recently implemented scheme based on turbulent kinetic energy (TKE), and a recently developed prognostic scheme for internal wave dissipation, energy, and mixing (IDEMIX) to replace the often assumed constant background diffusivity in the ocean interior. In this study, the IDEMIX scheme is combined with the TKE scheme (collectively called the TKEinline-formula+IDEMIX scheme) to provide an energetically more consistent framework for mixing, as it does not rely on the unwanted effect of creating spurious energy for mixing. Energetic consistency can have implications on the climate. Therefore, we focus on the effects of TKEinline-formula+IDEMIX on the climate mean state and compare them with the first three schemes that are commonly used in other models but are not energetically consistent.

We find warmer sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the North Atlantic and Nordic Seas using KPP or TKE(inline-formula+IDEMIX), which is related to 10 % higher overflows that cause a stronger and deeper upper cell of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) and thereby an enhanced northward heat transport and higher inflow of warm and saline water from the Indian Ocean into the South Atlantic. Saltier subpolar North Atlantic and Nordic Seas lead to increased deep convection and thus to the increased overflows. Due to the warmer SSTs, the extratropics of the Northern Hemisphere become warmer with TKE(inline-formula+IDEMIX), weakening the meridional gradient and thus the jet stream. With KPP, the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere also become warmer without weakening the jet stream. Using an energetically more consistent scheme (TKEinline-formula+IDEMIX) produces a more heterogeneous and realistic pattern of vertical eddy diffusivity, with lower diffusivities in deep and flat-bottom basins and elevated turbulence over rough topography. IDEMIX improves in particular the diffusivity in the Arctic Ocean and reduces the warm bias in the Atlantic Water layer. We conclude that although shortcomings due to model resolution determine the global-scale bias pattern, the choice of the vertical mixing scheme may play an important role for regional biases.

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Gutjahr, Oliver / Brüggemann, Nils / Haak, Helmuth / et al: Comparison of ocean vertical mixing schemes in the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model (MPI-ESM1.2). 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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