The Ocean

Indian Ocean I di O Kolterma et al. (2 ann 2005)

There are a number of good books dealing with the ocean. At a level appropriate to this class: Bigg, G., 2003, Bigg G 2003 The Oceans and Climate, 2nd Ed., Cambrige University Press, 273 pp.; Climate Ed Press pp ; Pickard, G.L. and W.J. Emery, 1990, Descriptive Physical Oceanography, 5th Ed., Pergamon Press, Oxford, 320 pp.; Pond, S. and G.L. Pickard, 1983, Introductory Physical Oceanography, Oceanography Pergamon Press, Oxford, 329 pp. On a more mathematical level: Pedlosky, Press Oxford pp Pedlosky J., 2004, Ocean Circulation Theory, Springer, 453 pp.


The world oceans
The global ocean is considered as consisting of the following basins (definition of the boundaries may slightly vary): • Arctic Ocean > 65° N; • Atlantic Ocean 30° S - 65° N, 20° E - 70° W; • I di Ocean Indian O 30° S - 65° N 20° E - 120° E N, E; • Pacific Ocean 30° S - 65° N, 120° E - 70° W; • Southern Ocean < 30° S .


Characteristics of the world oceans

* Koltermann,

K.-P., J. Meincke and V. Gouretski, 2005, Global Ocean and Sea Ice In: Hantel M. (Ed.), Observed Global Climate, LandoltIce. Hantel., M (Ed ) Climate Landolt Börnstein, V/6 (Geophysics/Climatology), Springer.


The ocean in the climate system
The world oceans: • cover roughly 70 % of th earth’s surface; hl f the th’ f • represent roughly 97 % of the water storages; • represent therefore about 97 % of the mass contained in the biosphere/atmosphere/cryosphere/hydrosphere. Due to the high thermal capacity of water (specific heat of 4187 J kg-1 K-1 for pure water as compared to 1004 J kg-1 K-1 for dry air), the world oceans can store and transport a considerable amount of heat. As A a result, seasonal variations in the sea surface temperature (SST) are lt l i ti i th f t t modest, not exceeding 8 °C. In contrast, seasonal excursion of the surface temperature over the land masses can reach 50 °C.


The energy balance of the surface waters
Consideration the energy balance of the surface layer is essential for understanding how the oceans are heated. Note that we really look at a volume, not just at the surface itself.
Q* = NR QH = H QE = LvE

Oke (1987)


An excess of solar radiation during the day. During night. partly due to the low albedo of water at moderate solar zenith angles.Energy fluxes The energy budget of the oceans is peculiar. leads to heating of the underlying water. heat is t D i i ht h t i released to the atmosphere through the fluxes of sensible and latent heat. Oke (1987) 6 . Note that the average Bowen ratio of the oceans is close to 0.1.

The albedo of water Raschke and Ohmura (2005) 7 .

typically less than 0.The albedo of water for direct solar radiation For solar zenith angles of less than about 70o (solar elevations of more than 20o). the albedo of a plane water surface is small.15. albedo solar elevation Kondratyev (1969) 8 . but increases very rapidly for zenith angles above this threshold.

33 are the refractive indices of air and water. and r sun) is the angle of refraction given by Snell’s law as: sin(r ) = n air ⋅ sin(i) n wat nair = 1.00 and nwat = 1.5 ⋅ ⎢ 2 + ⎥ 2 ⎣ sin (i + r ) tan (i + r ) ⎦ where i denotes the angle of the incident beam (zenith angle of the sun). the reflectivity of a plane Fresnel s water surface for unpolarized light is given by: α wat ⎡ sin 2 (i − r ) tan 2 (i − r ) ⎤ = 0. . i air water r 9 . respectively. 1984).The albedo of water for direct solar radiation (2) The dependence of the albedo of water on solar elevation can be explained with the help of Fresnel’s formula (List. Namely.

because the incoming radiation becomes more diffuse. Kondratyev (1969) 10 .The albedo of water revisited The dependence of the albedo on the zenith angle decreases with increasing cloudiness.

11 . The extinction coefficient depends on the chemical make-up of the water (turbidity. light) In most water bodies shortwave radiation is restricted to the uppermost 10 m..Extinction of solar radiation The extinction of solar radiation in water can be well approximated by the Beer Bouguer Lambert Beer-Bouguer-Lambert law. . that is the amount of suspended material.. plankton. but in some very clear tropical waters it has been observed to reach 700 to 1000 m.) and increases with wavelength toward the infrared (red light absorbed more rapidly than blue light).

This interaction is called extinction or attenuation an overall matter attenuation. designation for the processes of absorption and scattering. We assume that the medium has a density ρ and is characterized by a mass extinction coefficient of kλ [m2 kg-1].Radiative transfer A pencil of radiation traversing a medium will be weakened by its interaction with matter. ds Nλ Nλ + dNλ ρ. kλ According to the above figure and to first order: dN λ = − ρ k λ N λ ds 12 .

0 s 13 . the equation can be integrated to yield: ⎛ s ⎞ ⎜ − ∫ ρ k λ ds ⎟ N λ (s) = N λ 0 exp⎜ ⎟ ⎝ 0 ⎠ If kλ is independent of s. Beer s Beer Bouguer Lambert law ∫ ρ ds .Beer Bouguer Lambert Beer-Bouguer-Lambert law If scattering and emission can be neglected: dN λ = − Nλ ρ k λ ds With Nλ(s = 0) = Nλ0. then s ⎛ ⎞ ⎜ − k λ ∫ ρ ds ⎟ ≡ N λ 0 exp(− k λ u ) N λ (s) = N λ 0 exp⎜ ⎟ 0 ⎝ ⎠ where the optical path u has been defined as u = This is Beer’s or Beer-Bouguer-Lambert law.

Seasonality of the surface temperature After Peixoto and Oort (1992) 14 .

15 . Caron. 3433-3443.Meridional transport of energy in the climate system Trenberth. Climate. J.M. and J. K.E. 2001: Estimates of meridional atmosphere and ocean heat transports. 14.

the deep water can store a considerable amount of carbon.Storage of carbon Due to the high solubility of CO2 in water. Sa armiento and Gruber (200 02) 1 Pg (petagram) ≡ 1015 g≡ 16 1012 kg .

solubility increases with decreasing temperature. σCO2(S. Its solubility. is a function of salinity and temperature. as shown in the following picture.Carbon dioxide solubility Carbon dioxide. is soluble in water. For a given salinity. like other gases.T). 17 . that is the saturation concentration divided by the atmospheric partial pressure.

but also have source from deposition (river or wind-blown dust) and weathering. but the conversion of bicarbonate to carbonate proceeds at a speed roughly 1000 times slower than the conversion of carbon dioxide into bicarbonate.Carbon dioxide in the ocean Unlike many other gases (oxygen for instance). or DIC). the component reactions are fast. carbonic acid (H2CO3). CO2 reacts with water and forms a balance of several ionic and non ionic species (collectively known as non-ionic dissolved inorganic carbon. and they interact with water as follows: CO2 + H2O ↔ H2CO3 ↔ HCO3. The net effect is therefore a summary reaction given by: CO2 + H2O + CO32. and about the bubbling when dissolving calcite with acid) As pointed out by Bigg (2003).+ H+ ↔ CO32. weathering These background sources permits a greater absorption of 18 atmospheric CO2 than would otherwise occur. These are dissolved free carbon dioxide (CO2). bicarbonate (HCO3-) and carbonate (CO32-).↔ 2HCO3The bicarbonate/carbonate species are not produced solely from the equilibrium with CO2.+ 2 H+ (Hints: thi k b t S d Cl b d b t th b bbli (Hi t think about Soda Club. .

( . ). Due to the p p y p g temperature dependence of the solubility this occurs in the tropics/high latitudes. pCO2: p . and the lower boundary of the mixed layer. the above equations show that the direction of the flux of CO2 at the sea/atmosphere interface depends on whether the oceanic concentration is above/below the equilibrium concentration. partial p pressure in the atmosphere.S). [CO2]m. the proportionality constant λ being essentially dependent on the surface wind speed. 19 . 1982) that the flux of CO2 at the sea/atmosphere interface is proportional to the difference in concentration between a thin diffusive layer beneath the surface . Defining the z-axis positive speed z axis upward we have: FCO 2 = − λ( U) ⋅ ( [CO 2 ]sf − [CO 2 ]ml ) The concentration in the surface layer can be expressed in terms of the y.Uptake of carbon dioxide by the ocean It is usually assumed (Broecker and Peng. σCO2(T. [CO2]sf. and the p [CO 2 ]sf = σ CO 2 ⋅ p CO 2 Since the atmospheric concentrations as well the partial pressure of CO2 are roughly uniform over the globe. solubility.

. Sci. Acad. the high latitudes represent a sink of atmospheric CO2. Natl.Uptake of carbon dioxide by the ocean (2) Thus. Vol.. 8292–8299. 1997) T. * Takahashi. et al. Global air-sea flux of CO2: An estimate based on measurements of 20 sea–air pCO2 difference. 1997. USA. on an annual mean. . Proc. while the equatorial and sub tropical regions are a source (Takahashi et sub-tropical al. 94. pp.

21 Ohmura and Raschke (2005) .The ocean as a source of water vapor The oceans also represent a major source of water vapor for the atmosphere.

Hartmann (1994) * Since 1982 a salinity scale based on the electrical conductivity of sea water has been used. salinity is expressed in practical salinity units (psu). In this system.Salinity of seawater Seawater contains a quantity of dissolved material (mostly ions) collectively termed salinity (see Table below). The average salinity of the oceans is about 35 g kg-1 or 35 ‰ or 35 psu*. Salinity values in i psu units are essentially identical to a measure of parts per thousand (‰) b weight i i ll id i l f h d by i h 22 .

(2005) 23 .Salinity of the world oceans Koltermann et al.

(2005) ( 24 . (20 W) (170 W) Kolterm mann et al. as seen in the following crosssections taken across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.Salinity of the world oceans (2) Salinity can vary considerably with depth.

Density anomaly. 25 . as a function of temperature and salinity. ρ(T.Density of sea water The global circulation in the world oceans. to a negligible degree. From Hartmann (1994). the thermohaline circulation (see later on). depends on both temperature (T) and salinity (S) and. on pressure (p).p). ρ – 1000 [kg m-3]. The density of sea water.S. are driven by density gradients.

Density of sea water (2) Pond and Pickard (1983) 26 .

We distinguish between the seasonal thermocline. 27 . 145°W) (Hartmann.. and the permanent thermocline. a sharp decline in temperature over a very shallow layer. usually found at a depth of ~ 100 m (left panel). panel) Evolution of the temperature in the upper 100 m of the Pacific Ocean (50°N.The thermocline The most prominent feature in the vertical distribution of the temperature is certainly the thermocline. located at depths of ~ 1000 m (right panel). 1991).

flux and turbulent mixing. waves and tides. mixing caused mainly by mechanical stirring of wind. the water transports. tid Denman and Mikaye (1973) 28 .The thermocline and salinity The d h of the mixed layer h depth f h i d l depends on the underlying water masses. precipitation. convection. and the changes at the surface. evaporation. The latter are influenced by solar heating. sensible heat flux.

g. but the concept is controversial (see e. Essay for the McDonnell Foundation Centennial Fellowship. • The thermohaline circulation. 1999). These are mainly horizontal currents on the large scale. on scales ranging from the local to the global. It is driven by the large-scale density gradients. • The gyres. and consists of both a horizontal as well as vertical component.. S. 29 . This takes place in the mixed layer.Currents in the oceans In dealing with the oceanic currents it is convenient to distinguish among the following types of circulations: • Wind-driven circulation. the thermohaline circulation is often associated to the global conveyor belt. which themselves depend of the distribution of temperature (→ thermo) and salinity (→ haline). After Broecker (1987). The so called so-called boundary currents on the western side of the gyres are part of this type of circulation. 1999. Investigating the Ocean’s Role in Climate. Rahmstorf. Rahmstorf. Currents of Change.

The equation shows that the stress is parallel to the surface wind.Wind driven Wind-driven circulation Atmospheric winds exert a drag or stress on the sea surface. according to: r r r τ = ρ CD U U where ρ i the air density. U is the wind vector. and CD a d h is th i d it i th i d t d drag (b lk exchange) (bulk h ) coefficient that itself is a function of the wind speed and the surface roughness. which leads to the following picture of the mean annual stress: 30 .

horizontal mass transport: r 1 ⎞ ⎛ 1 M hor = ⎜ + τ y . This depth defines the Ekman layer. the conservation of horizontal momentum in the surface layer. p Because momentum is dissipated through internal friction. (uE. to the left in the sourthern hemisphere. − τ x ⎟ f ⎠ ⎝ f which shows that the mass transport is perpendicular to the surface stress. to the surface results in the following equation for the vertical mean. to the right of τ in the northern hemisphere. can be simplified to a balance between the Coriolis accelaration and the acceleration due to stress: 1 ∂τ x 1 ∂τ y and f u E = − f vE = ρ0 ∂z ρ0 ∂z where f = 2 Ω sin(ϕ) is the Coriolis parameter. Integrating from a depth h. Th associated mass transport is therefore also called Ek Ek l The i t d t t i th f l ll d Ekman 31 transport.Wind driven Wind-driven circulation (2) In a steady state. where the stress becomes negligibly small. . vE). the wind-induced stress can penetrate only to a finite depth into the ocean.

32 .Wind driven Wind-driven circulation (3) A depiction of the various mechanisms acting in the Ekman layer is provided with the following picture.

Ekman up.5 m s-1.and downwelling up Depending on whether the Ekman transport in a given area is convergent or divergent. ocean A well known example of vertical motion driven by the surface stress is the upwelling of cold water along the coast of Peru. This is an important component of the El Niño / La Niña phenomenon. surface convergence sea surface downwelling thermocline 33 . there is an associated vertical transport which is directed downward or upward. Associated vertical velocities are generally less than 0. but they nevertheless significantly contribute to the vertical motion in the upper ocean.

Equatorial upwelling In the equatorial regions the divergence of the Ekman transport leads to a steady upwelling. that is apparent in the distribution of the water temperature. Hartmann (1991) 34 .

The gyres Rotational structures in the surface currents are apparent in many areas of the world oceans. These rotational structures are called gyres. Trenberth (1992) 35 .

The gyres (2) Schematically the gyre circulation can be represented as follows. 36 .

but also due to frictional effects. varying the depth H of the water layer. Pond and Pickard (1983). We note that the relative vorticity can be changed by moving in the meridional direction (change in f).and northward components of the current. 37 . as: d ζ = ∂v ∂u − ∂x ∂y A derivation of the relevant equations can be found in e.The gyres (3) The dynamics of the gyres can be understood in terms of the conservation of potential vorticity in a basin of limited size: ζ+f H where f is the Coriolis parameter. in particular at the eastern and western boundaries of the oceanic basins. u and v. H the depth of the layer and ζ is the relative vorticity defined in terms of the east.g.

However. the forcing terms would not balance. leading to a steady acceleration of the gyre. The Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic and the Kuroshio Current in the North Pacific are examples of such a current. 38 . a steady state i possible by allowing a strong western b H d is ibl b ll i boundary d current trapped in a narrow zone near the coast.The gyres (4) For a symmetric circulation across the oceanic basins (intensity of the meridional current on the western side equal to the intensity of the current on the eastern side).

The main sources of deep water in the North red blue Atlantic and the Southern Ocean are indicated with yellow dots. deep currents in blue. Surface currents are in red.The thermohaline circulation The global circulation of the world oceans is known as the thermohaline circulation. 39 . It is driven by density gradients that are due to variations in temperature and salinity. A schematic of the thermohaline circulation as proposed by Broecker (1987) is shown in the following figure.

f i • the transport of salty water into the North Atlantic. • loss of fresh water through evaporation. The densification of the surface water on the northward side of the Gulf Stream occurs through three processes: • cooling (mainly in winter) through evaporation and longwave radiation. Rahmstorf (1999) 40 .Formation of deep water in the North Atlantic One of the two main sources of deep water is located in the North Atlantic. • salt rejection during seaice formation.

(2005) 41 . The absence of cooling is certainly not the main reason. Koltermann et al. Salinity mainly controls density at low temperatures. The North Pacific i l P ifi is less salty then the North Atlantic (an average of 32 ‰ as compared to lt th th N th Atl ti ( f dt 35 ‰).The key factor: salinity Why is there no deep water formation in the North Pacific? Obviously the density of water in this basin is not sufficiently high to induce penetration of surface water to the bottom of the ocean. What is really missing is salinity.

The thermohaline circulation 42 .

Wind stress τ drives a wind driven gyre circulation (WGC) which shows western intensification due to rotation. (Figure from Stocker.A schematic view of the ocean circulation Steady-state circulations in a sectorial ocean b i extending from the basin di f h equator to the pole with a longitudinal extent of roughly 60°. In reality. This results in a vertical mass flux Q that closes the flow. τ also causes Ekman suction in the northerly and Ekman pumping in the southerly upper layer giving a near-surface isopycnal surface s its typical shape. DGF flows northward to conserve potential vorticity while slowly upwelling. ERCA 2000) . The i Th isopycnal is shallow below the subpolar gyre and deep below the l i h ll b l th b l dd b l th subtropical gyre. A source of newly formed deep water S0 feeds the deep ocean in which a deep western boundary current (DWBC) develops from which the deep geostrophic flow (DGF) of the interior is derived. Q < S0 y. in this sector and the DWBC is crossing the equator setting up a global 43 circulation.

The thermohaline circulation and past climate The state of the thermohaline circulation can change abruptly. as demonstrated by proxy records of past climatic changes. belt More on this topic later later. 44 . The supply of fresh water in the North Atlantic from melt water and icebergs during the final stage of a glacial cycle is one of the main reasons for the temporary shut down of the conveyor belt.

(2007) 45 . most climate models show a reduction of the meridional overturning circulation (thermohaline circulation) of 0 to 50% for the next century. In contrast to some simpler models. model. the complex ocean models show a rather gradual decrease.The thermohaline circulation in the future climate Driven by warming and freshening of the North Atlantic. Projected change in the Atlantic MOC for SRES scenarios A1B. Figure from IPCC AR4 (2007). not an abrupt shift The very local nature of mixing and convection is difficult to shift. and uncertainties are still large.

From Levitus et al.The observed ocean heat uptake The ocean has warmed over the last decades. Observed global ocean heat uptake for different depth layers. 46 . consistent with the observed warming in the atmosphere. and could be related to poor spatial coverage in some regions and/or model deficiencies deficiencies.. The decadal variations are still poorly understood. Models predicted that trend before it was measured globally. GRL (2005). in particular near the surface.

Detection and attribution in the ocean The observed warming (red) is far outside the natural variability in ocean temperature as simulated by model (green. l ( lower panels) from l )f models that include anthropogenic forcing. upper panels). (green panels) but in good agreement with the simulated warming (green. 47 .

. GRL (2005). From Levitus et al. Quantifying the anthropogenic heat uptake is critical to determine the current imbalance of the system. Observed global energy uptake for different reservoirs.The observed ocean heat uptake The ocean is by far the largest heat reservoir in the climate system and has taken up most of the additional energy in the system (red bar). 48 .

The imbalance of the climate Q = F .Q = λ ΔT) Equilibrium: Q = 0 Q Transient ⇒ F = λ Δ T2 ⇒ ΔT2 > ΔT1 Commitment warming ΔT2 .λ ΔT GHG Aerosol F λ ΔT1 (or F .ΔT1 GHG Aerosol F λ ΔT2 Climate sensitivity: equilibrium global mean surface warming for a given forcing: S = 1 / λ = Δ T2 / F Q 0 Q=0 Equilibrium 49 .

Sea level will continue to rise for many centuries. dynamical changes are important. and it matters where the warming in ocean takes place. Thermal expansion accounts for about h lf of the projected sea b half f h j d level rise over the next century. Because the thermal expansion coefficient of water depends on temperature and pressure. (Meehl et al. Science 2005) 50 .Commitment warming and sea level rise The surface will warm for about another century after the forcing is stabilized.

51 .