Chapter 15 - Numerical Models
- Numerical models are used to simulate oceanic flows with realistic
and useful results. The most recent models include heat fluxes through
the surface, wind forcing, mesoscale eddies, realistic coasts and sea-floor
features, and more than 20 levels in the vertical.
- Recent models are now so good, with resolution near 0.1°, that
they show previously
unknown aspects of the ocean circulation,
- Numerical models are not perfect. They solve discrete equations, which
are not the same as the equations of motion described in earlier chapters.
- Numerical models cannot reproduce all turbulence of the ocean because
the grid points are tens to hundreds of kilometers apart. The influence
of turbulent motion over smaller distances must be calculated from theory,
and this introduces errors.
- Numerical models can be forced by real-time oceanographic data from
ships and satellites to produce forecasts of oceanic conditions, including
El Niño in the Pacific, and the position of the Gulf Stream in
- Coupled ocean-atmosphere models have much coarser spatial resolution
so that that they can be integrated for hundreds of years to simulate
the natural variability of the climate system and its response to increased
CO2 in the atmosphere.