Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
Model description paper
30 Apr 2014
Model description paper |  | 30 Apr 2014

A 24-variable low-order coupled ocean–atmosphere model: OA-QG-WS v2

S. Vannitsem and L. De Cruz

Abstract. A new low-order coupled ocean–atmosphere model for midlatitudes is derived. It is based on quasi-geostrophic equations for both the ocean and the atmosphere, coupled through momentum transfer at the interface. The systematic reduction of the number of modes describing the dynamics leads to an atmospheric low-order component of 20 ordinary differential equations, already discussed in Reinhold and Pierrehumbert (1982), and an oceanic low-order component of four ordinary differential equations, as proposed by Pierini (2011). The coupling terms for both components are derived and all the coefficients of the ocean model are provided.

Its dynamics is then briefly explored, through the analysis of its mean field, its variability and its instability properties. The wind-driven ocean displays a decadal variability induced by the atmospheric chaotic wind forcing. The chaotic behavior of the coupled system is highly sensitive to the ocean–atmosphere coupling for low values of the thermal forcing affecting the atmosphere (corresponding to a weakly chaotic coupled system). But it is less sensitive for large values of the thermal forcing (corresponding to a highly chaotic coupled system). In all the cases explored, the number of positive exponents is increasing with the coupling. Two codes in Fortran and Lua of the model integration are provided as Supplement.