University of Cambridge > > British Antarctic Survey - Polar Oceans seminar series > Atmospheric & Oceanic Applications of Eulerian and Lagrangian Transport Modelling

Atmospheric & Oceanic Applications of Eulerian and Lagrangian Transport Modelling

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This thesis presents several ways to understand transports of air and water masses in the atmosphere and ocean, and the transports of energy they imply. It presents work using both various kinds of observations and computer simulations of the atmosphere and oceans. One of the main focuses is to identify similarities and differences between models and observations, as well as between different models.

The first half of the thesis applies Lagrangian methods to study flows in the atmosphere and oceans. Part of the work focuses on understanding how particles follow the currents in the Baltic Sea and how they disperse. It is suggested that the commonly used regional ocean model for the Baltic Sea, RCO , underestimates the transport and the dispersion of the particles, which can have consequences for studies of e.g. biogeochemistry as well as for operational use. A similar methodology is used to study how particles are transported between the tropics and mid-latitudes by the large-scale atmospheric circulation. It is found that the mass transport associated with northbound and southbound particles can cancel in the zonally averaged circulation, and it is proposed that the degree of cancellation depends on the method of averaging.

The latter half of the thesis focuses on Eulerian stream functions and specifically a thermodynamic stream function that combines the zonal and meridional circulations of the atmosphere into a single circulation. The stream function is used as a diagnostic to study the inter-annual variability of the intensity and thermodynamic properties of the global atmospheric circulation. A significant correlation to ENSO variability is found both in reanalysis and the EC-Earth coupled climate model. It is also shown that a set of models from the CMIP5 project show a slowdown of the atmospheric circulation as a result of global warming and associated changes in near-surface moisture content and upper-level radiative cooling.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey - Polar Oceans seminar series series.

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