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SOCCOM Modeling

Theme 2: Modeling

The modeling component of SOCCOM is focused on accelerating the process of reducing the uncertainty in our climate model projections of future climate associated with poor simulation of the Southern Ocean.

Principal responsibility for analyzing the next-generation ultra high-resolution models and developing model-data diagnostics, which are necessary to validate these new models at this much smaller scale and use them for future projections, lies with the University of Arizona (Theme 2 Lead Joellen Russell) and Princeton University (Co-Lead Jorge Sarmiento) in collaboration with NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory through the Cooperative Institute for Climate Science.


Undersampling of Nitrate Variability

This animation shows the observed climatological monthly nitrate data (from the World Ocean Atlas). Ship tracks between 1983 and 2008 that made hydrographic and nutrient measurements are overlaid in purple squares in the month they were taken, and are then replaced by black or white squares depending on the season (white for summer, black for winter). Ship tracks remain for 10 years after the cruise data. Starting in the animation’s year 2010, data taken by the Argo array are indicated by triangles, color coded with the same convention. Argo data is delayed in this animation by eight calendar years (data collected in 2005 will appear in the year 2013 in the animation), in order to avoid significant overlap with the ship-based data.
This animation was created by, and appears courtesy of R. Slater.


To improve our understanding of the uptake of carbon and heat by the Southern Ocean, and our ability to project the role of winds, buoyancy and stratification in determining the impacts of warming on the ocean’s role in climate, SOCCOM Modeling includes several integrated projects:

  • Observing System Simulation Experiments to inform deployment strategy
  • Carbon System Algorithm development and application to both new biogeochemical observations and earth system model simulations
  • Creating new assessment tools for newly available high-resolution Climate and Earth System Models
  • Design and implementation of Southern Ocean Wind Perturbation Experiment protocols in new simulations
  • Development of a Southern Ocean Model Intercomparison Project (SOMIP)
  • Development of standardized analysis packages and diagnostics to be shared with the global community.