Role of surface fluxes in ocean general circulation models using satellite sea surface temperature: Validation of and sensitivity to the forcing frequency of the Mediterranean thermohaline circulation

Vincenzo Artale, Daniele Iudicone, Rosalia Santoleri, Volfango Rupolo, Salvatore Marullo, Fabrizio D'Ortenzio

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In this article we study the effect of high-frequency surface momentum and heat fluxes in the numerical simulation of some key ocean processes of the Mediterranean thermohaline circulation. The lack of synoptic and reliable heat and freshwater flux data sets is bypassed using the relaxation approach both for the salinity and temperature surface fields. We propose a parameterization of the heat fluxes in which the temperature-restoring coefficient depends on wind intensity and regime and in which the use of simuoultaneous satellite daily sea surface temperature (SST) estimates as a restoring field is required. The consistency of the proposed parameterization and of its numerical implementation with the previous oceanic boundary layer studies has been verified trough the analysis of the Saunders' proportionality constant. This parameterization coupling simultaneous surface heat fluxes and wind trough the skin-bulk temperature difference, recovers the high variability of the air-sea exchanges of the extreme events in the Mediterranean Sea. The effect of high-frequency surface momentum and heat fluxes is studied comparing results from two different experiments forced with monthly and daily surface wind and satellite SST data sets. These comparisons show the relevance of high-frequency forcing in the representation of the dynamical processes relative to the intermediate water mass transformation and horizontal advection as well as in the deep water formation in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29 - 1
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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