A water mass model of the World Ocean
Article first published online: 20 SEP 2012
This paper is not subject to U.S. copyright. Published in 1979 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans (1978–2012)
Volume 84, Issue C5, pages 2503–2517, 20 May 1979
How to Cite
1979), A water mass model of the World Ocean, J. Geophys. Res., 84(C5), 2503–2517, doi:10.1029/JC084iC05p02503., and (
- Issue published online: 20 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 20 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 7 NOV 1978
- Manuscript Received: 26 JUN 1978
A numerical model of the world ocean is developed to investigate the role of the ocean in the earth's heat balance. Climatological wind stress, temperature, and salinity are imposed as upper boundary conditions. An equilibrium solution is obtained based on an extended numerical integration over the equivalent of 1000 years. Seasonal variations are included. A series of numerical integrations over shorter periods indicate that quantitative aspects, such as the scale depth of the thermocline, are very sensitive to the closure parameterization representing the effect of unresolved scales of motion. The mean depth of the thermocline is found to be in proportion to the global available potential energy. Larger wind driving increases the scale depth of the thermocline, while larger lateral friction or diffusion leads to a shallower thermocline. The model predicts three major meridional cells in the upper thermocline in each hemisphere, corresponding to the three meridional cells of the atmosphere. The tropical and mid-latitude cells are largely wind driven. Thermohaline effects are dominant in the polar meridional cells. Seasonal changes in winds have a profound effect on the meridional circulation in the tropics and cause a flux of surface water from the summer to the winter hemisphere. It is suggested that this mechanism is an important factor in moderating climate by transferring excess heat from the summer hemisphere into the winter hemisphere.