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Response of the Northeast Pacific Ocean Circulation

PI: Kettyah Chhak
Institution: Georgia Tech
In order to clarify the dynamics and uncertainties of the Northeast Pacific (NEP) ocean response to global warming, this project will generate and diagnose an ensemble of high-resolution ocean simulations (from the Regional Ocean Modeling System, ROMS)in the NEP forced with different climate change scenarios downscaled from the IPCC climate model outputs. Specifically, the project will address the following question:

1) How does the Northeast Pacific ocean circulation respond to global climate change? Specifically, how does coastal upwelling off the west coast of North America and eddy transport statistics change during global warming?

Several ensembles of ROMS simulations (4 members in each ensemble) will be performed. Each member will be forced by downscaling surface fluxes (momentum, heat and freshwater) from selected outputs of the atmospheric GCMs (AGCMs) used for the IPCC projections. The specific climate models used will be decided upon after a detailed analysis of the GCM outputs. One ensemble will serve as the "control" and another will represent the "future climate".

The focus of this project will be primarily on diagnosing the response to climate change of the upwelling cells along the NEP ocean boundary and the mesoscale eddy transport statistics. In particular, the project will be divided into two steps: (1) characterization of the changes and (2) diagnosis of the mechanisms.


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    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory  |  Physical & Life Sciences Directorate