Modeling Ocean Circulation

Kirk Bryan, Jorge Louis Sarmiento

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This chapter describes various aspects of the modeling of ocean circulation. Modeling the ocean circulation is entering a new era due to two major technical developments. One of these developments is the satellite-borne altimeter, which can provide a nearly synoptic view of the sea-surface elevation of the World Ocean. The three-dimensional models that are similar to current atmospheric circulation models are general enough to treat a wide variety of time scales. The use of single buoyancy variable is sufficient to discuss many aspects of ocean dynamics, keeping in mind that a separate treatment of temperature and salinity is necessary for an accurate simulation of the role of the ocean in climate. It is found that as the equatorward interior flow is much less intense than the flow at the western boundary current, its temperature roughly corresponds to the specified reference temperature at each latitudes rather than the western boundary current flow. It is observed that the effective global diffusion obtained by fitting the three-dimensional model results to the box-diffusion model is over five times that of the background vertical diffusion of the numerical model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-459
Number of pages27
JournalAdvances in Geophysics
Issue numberPA
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics


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