The GFDL Global Ocean and Sea Ice Model OM4.0: Model Description and Simulation Features

Alistair Adcroft, Whit Anderson, V. Balaji, Chris Blanton, Mitchell Bushuk, Carolina O. Dufour, John P. Dunne, Stephen M. Griffies, Robert Hallberg, Matthew J. Harrison, Isaac M. Held, Malte F. Jansen, Jasmin G. John, John P. Krasting, Amy R. Langenhorst, Sonya Legg, Zhi Liang, Colleen McHugh, Aparna Radhakrishnan, Brandon G. ReichlTony Rosati, Bonita L. Samuels, Andrew Shao, Ronald Stouffer, Michael Winton, Andrew T. Wittenberg, Baoqiang Xiang, Niki Zadeh, Rong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

196 Scopus citations


We document the configuration and emergent simulation features from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) OM4.0 ocean/sea ice model. OM4 serves as the ocean/sea ice component for the GFDL climate and Earth system models. It is also used for climate science research and is contributing to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project version 6 Ocean Model Intercomparison Project. The ocean component of OM4 uses version 6 of the Modular Ocean Model and the sea ice component uses version 2 of the Sea Ice Simulator, which have identical horizontal grid layouts (Arakawa C-grid). We follow the Coordinated Ocean-sea ice Reference Experiments protocol to assess simulation quality across a broad suite of climate-relevant features. We present results from two versions differing by horizontal grid spacing and physical parameterizations: OM4p5 has nominal 0.5° spacing and includes mesoscale eddy parameterizations and OM4p25 has nominal 0.25° spacing with no mesoscale eddy parameterization. Modular Ocean Model version 6 makes use of a vertical Lagrangian-remap algorithm that enables general vertical coordinates. We show that use of a hybrid depth-isopycnal coordinate reduces the middepth ocean warming drift commonly found in pure z* vertical coordinate ocean models. To test the need for the mesoscale eddy parameterization used in OM4p5, we examine the results from a simulation that removes the eddy parameterization. The water mass structure and model drift are physically degraded relative to OM4p5, thus supporting the key role for a mesoscale closure at this resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3167-3211
Number of pages45
JournalJournal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • CORE
  • hybrid coordinates
  • ocean circulation model


Dive into the research topics of 'The GFDL Global Ocean and Sea Ice Model OM4.0: Model Description and Simulation Features'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this