New Findings on Ocean Mixing and Influences on Global Ocean Climate Models

Dr. Jennifer MacKinnon, a research affiliate for the Center, recently led a paper summarizing findings from the Climate Process Team exploring new ways to represent turbulent mixing in global ocean models. The Climate Process Team, supported by the National Science Foundation and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and overseen by the U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability Program, was composed of leading researchers from Scripps, several other universities, and a representative from two national climate modeling centers. The group spent 5 years consolidating a physical understanding of processes that produce turbulent mixing in the ocean, particularly that driven by breaking internal waves (see cartoon schematic below). They used those physical insights to develop new ways for models to represent the way such mixing redistributes heat, dissolved greenhouse gases, and biologically essential nutrients within the ocean.  The new parameterizations should improve the accuracy of both regional and global climate models.

Read the full report online here.

Learn more about Dr. MacKinnon and her colleagues in the Multiscale Ocean Dynamics group studying small-scale mixing in the ocean here.

View all of the Center’s research affiliates here.