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How much warmer is the ocean surface than the atmosphere directly above it? Part 1 of the present study offers a means to quantify this temperature difference using a nonlinear one-dimensional global energy balance coupled ocean–atmosphere model ("Aqua Planet"). The significance of our model, which is of intermediate complexity, is its ability to obtain an analytical solution for the global average temperatures. Preliminary results show that, for the present climate, global mean ocean temperature is 291.1 K whereas surface atmospheric temperature is 287.4 K. Thus, the surface ocean is 3.7 K warmer than the atmosphere above it. Temporal perturbation of the global mean solution obtained for "Aqua Planet" showed a stable system. Oscillation amplitude of the atmospheric temperature anomaly is greater in magnitude to those found in the ocean. There is a phase shift (a lag in the ocean), which is caused by oceanic thermal inertia. Climate feedbacks due to selected climate parameters such as incoming radiation, cloud cover, and CO2 are discussed. Warming obtained with our model compares with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) estimations. Application of our model to local regions illuminates the importance of evaporative cooling in determining derived air-sea temperature offsets, where an increase in the latter increases the systems overall sensitivity to evaporative cooling. In part 2, we wish to answer the fairly complicated question of whether global warming and an increased freshwater flux cause Northern Hemispheric warming or cooling. Starting from the assumption of the ocean as the primary source of variability in the Northern hemispheric ocean–atmosphere coupled system, we employed a simple non–linear one–dimensional coupled ocean–atmosphere model similar to the "Aqua Planet" model but with additional advective heat transports. The simplicity of this model allows us to analytically predict the evolution of many dynamical variables of interest such as, the strength of the Atlantic Meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), temperatures of the ocean and atmosphere, mass transports, salinity, and ocean–atmosphere heat fluxes. Model results show that a reduced AMOC transport due to an increased freshwater flux causes cooling in both the atmosphere and ocean in the North Atlantic (NA) deep–water formation region. Cooling in both the ocean and atmosphere can cause a reduction of the ocean–atmosphere temperature difference, which in turn reduces heat fluxes in both the ocean and atmosphere. For present day climate parameters, the calculated critical freshwater flux needed to arrest AMOC is 0.14 Sv. Assuming a constant atmospheric zonal flow, there is both minimal reduction in the AMOC strength, as well as minimal warming of the ocean and atmosphere. This model provides a conceptual framework for a dynamically sound response of the ocean and atmosphere to AMOC variability as a function of increased freshwater flux. The results are qualitatively consistent with numerous realistic coupled numerical models of varying complexity.
air-sea temperature difference, AMOC, freshwater flux, local cooling, ocean-atmosphere interaction, simple models
Date of Defense
November 2, 2015.
A Dissertation submitted to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Doron Nof, Professor Directing Dissertation; Christopher Tam, University Representative; Mark Bourassa, Committee Member; Allan Clarke, Committee Member; Philip Sura, Committee Member; Brian Ewald, Committee Member.
Florida State University
Girihagama, L. N. K. (2015). Local Cooling Despite Global Warming. Retrieved from http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_2015fall_Girihagama_fsu_0071E_12927