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The ocean's gravitational potential energy budget in a coupled climate model

Butler, E. D., Oliver, K. I., Gregory, J. M. and Tailleux, R. ORCID: (2013) The ocean's gravitational potential energy budget in a coupled climate model. Geophysical Research Letters, 40 (20). pp. 5417-5422. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/2013GL057996


This study examines, in a unified fashion, the budgets of ocean gravitational potential energy (GPE) and available gravitational potential energy (AGPE) in the control simulation of the coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model HadCM3. Only AGPE can be converted into kinetic energy by adiabatic processes. Diapycnal mixing supplies GPE, but not AGPE, whereas the reverse is true of the combined effect of surface buoyancy forcing and convection. Mixing and buoyancy forcing, thus, play complementary roles in sustaining the large scale circulation. However, the largest globally integrated source of GPE is resolved advection (+0.57 TW) and the largest sink is through parameterized eddy transports (-0.82 TW). The effect of these adiabatic processes on AGPE is identical to their effect on GPE, except for perturbations to both budgets due to numerical leakage exacerbated by non-linearities in the equation of state.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Walker Institute
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:34399
Uncontrolled Keywords:ocean circulation; gravitational potential energy; energy budget; available gravitational potential energy; diabatic process; adiabatic process
Publisher:American Geophysical Union


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