Implementation and Evaluation of a Machine Learned Mesoscale Eddy Parameterization Into a Numerical Ocean Circulation Model

Cheng Zhang, Pavel Perezhogin, Cem Gultekin, Alistair Adcroft, Carlos Fernandez-Granda, Laure Zanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We address the question of how to use a machine learned (ML) parameterization in a general circulation model (GCM), and assess its performance both computationally and physically. We take one particular ML parameterization (Guillaumin & Zanna, 2021, and evaluate the online performance in a different model from which it was previously tested. This parameterization is a deep convolutional network that predicts parameters for a stochastic model of subgrid momentum forcing by mesoscale eddies. We treat the parameterization as we would a conventional parameterization once implemented in the numerical model. This includes trying the parameterization in a different flow regime from that in which it was trained, at different spatial resolutions, and with other differences, all to test generalization. We assess whether tuning is possible, which is a common practice in GCM development. We find the parameterization, without modification or special treatment, to be stable and that the action of the parameterization to be diminishing as spatial resolution is refined. We also find some limitations of the machine learning model in implementation: (a) tuning of the outputs from the parameterization at various depths is necessary; (b) the forcing near boundaries is not predicted as well as in the open ocean; (c) the cost of the parameterization is prohibitively high on central processing units. We discuss these limitations, present some solutions to problems, and conclude that this particular ML parameterization does inject energy, and improve backscatter, as intended but it might need further refinement before we can use it in production mode in contemporary climate models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2023MS003697
JournalJournal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • MOM6
  • parameterization
  • stochastic deep learning
  • subgrid ocean processes


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