Lagrangian mixed layer modeling of the western equatorial Pacific

Toshiaki Shinoda
Roger Lukas

Department of Oceanography and
Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research
University of Hawaii
1000 Pope Rd
Honolulu HI 96822
USA


Abstract
Processes that control the upper ocean thermohaline structure in the western equatorial Pacific are examined using a Lagrangian mixed layer model.

The one-dimensional bulk mixed layer model of Garwood (1977) is integrated along the trajectories derived from a non-linear 1-1/2 layer reduced gravity model forced with actual wind fields. The Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) data are used to estimate surface fresh water fluxes for the mixed layer model. The wind stress data which forced the 1-1/2 layer model are used for the mixed layer model. The model was run for the period 1987-88. This simple model is able to simulate the isothermal layer below the mixed layer in the western Pacific warm pool and its variation. The subduction mechanism hypothesized by Lukas and Lindstrom (1991) is evident in the model results. During periods of strong South Equatorial Current, the warm and salty mixed layer waters in the central Pacific are subducted below the fresh shallow mixed layer in the western Pacific. However, this subduction mechanism is not evident when upwelling Rossby waves reach the western equatorial Pacific or when a prominent deepening of the mixed layer occurs in the western equatorial Pacific due to episodes of strong wind and light precipitation associated with ENSO.

Comparison of the results between the Lagrangian mixed layer model and a locally forced Eulerian mixed layer model indicated that horizontal advection of salty waters from the central Pacific strongly affects the upper ocean salinity variation in the western Pacific, and that this advection is necessary to maintain the upper ocean thermohaline structure in this region.


Reference:

Shinoda, T., R. Lukas, 1995: Lagrangian mixed layer modeling of the western equatorial Pacific. J. Geophys. Res., 100, C2, 2523-2541.


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Last modified: November 3, 1997