A mechanistic analysis of tropical Pacific dynamic sea level in GFDL-OM4 under OMIP-I and OMIP-II forcings

Hsu, Chia-Wei; Yin, Jianjun; Griffies, Stephen M.; Dussin, Raphael

The sea level over the tropical Pacific is a key indicator reflecting vertically integrated heat distribution over the ocean. Here, we use the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory global ocean–sea ice model (GFDL-OM4) forced by both the Coordinated Ocean-Ice Reference Experiment (CORE) and Japanese 55-year Reanalysis (JRA-55)-based surface dataset for driving ocean–sea ice models (JRA55-do) atmospheric states (Ocean Model Intercomparison Project (OMIP) versions I and II) to evaluate the model performance and biases compared against available observations. We find persisting mean state dynamic sea level (DSL) bias along 9inline-formula N even with updated wind forcing in JRA55-do relative to CORE. The mean state bias is related to biases in wind stress forcing and geostrophic currents in the 4 to 9inline-formula N latitudinal band. The simulation forced by JRA55-do significantly reduces the bias in DSL trend over the northern tropical Pacific relative to CORE. In the CORE forcing, the anomalous westerly wind trend in the eastern tropical Pacific causes an underestimated DSL trend across the entire Pacific basin along 10inline-formula N. The simulation forced by JRA55-do significantly reduces the bias in DSL trend over the northern tropical Pacific relative to CORE. We also identify a bias in the easterly wind trend along 20inline-formula N in both JRA55-do and CORE, thus motivating future improvement. In JRA55-do, an accurate Rossby wave initiated in the eastern tropical Pacific at seasonal timescale corrects a biased seasonal variability of the northern equatorial countercurrent in the CORE simulation. Both CORE and JRA55-do generate realistic DSL variation during El Niño. We find an asymmetry in the DSL pattern on two sides of the Equator is strongly related to wind stress curl that follows the sea level pressure evolution during El Niño.

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Hsu, Chia-Wei / Yin, Jianjun / Griffies, Stephen M. / et al: A mechanistic analysis of tropical Pacific dynamic sea level in GFDL-OM4 under OMIP-I and OMIP-II forcings. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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