Revisiting the CMIP5 Thermocline in the Equatorial Pacific and Atlantic Oceans



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Castaño Tierno, Antonio and Mohino Harris, Elsa and Rodríguez Fonseca, María Belén and Losada Doval, Teresa (2018) Revisiting the CMIP5 Thermocline in the Equatorial Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Geophysical Research Letters, 45 (23). pp. 12963-12971. ISSN 0094-8276

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The thermocline is defined as the ocean layer for which the vertical thermal gradient is maximum. In the equatorial ocean, observations led to the use of the 20 °C isotherm depth (z20) as an estimate of the thermocline. This study compares z20 against the physical thermocline in the equatorial Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, using Simple Ocean Data Assimilation reanalysis and fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project preindustrial control simulations. Our results show that z20 is systematically deeper and flatter than the thermocline and does not respond correctly to surface wind stress variations. It is also shown that the annual cycle of z20 is much weaker than that of the physical thermocline. This happens in both equatorial basins and indicates that z20 does not react to the same mechanisms as the thermocline. This could have important consequences in the assessment of air-sea coupling in current general circulation models and bias reduction strategies.

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© 2018 American Geophysical Union. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement 603521 (PREFACE project) and from the Spanish Ministry of Science (Project PRE4 CAST, CGL2017- 86415-R). All data for this paper are properly cited and referred to in the reference list. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modeling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modeling groups responsible for the simulations of the models used (listed in Figure 2f of this paper) for producing and making available their model output. For CMIP the U.S. Department of Energy Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provided coordinating support and led development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals.

Uncontrolled Keywords:Tropical atlantic; Cold-tongue; SST biases; Models; Variability; Circulation
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Atmospheric physics
ID Code:55178
Deposited On:28 May 2019 11:19
Last Modified:12 Jun 2019 23:01

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