Ocean Surface Flux Algorithm Effects on Earth System Model Energy and Water Cycles

J. E.Jack Reeves Eyre, Xubin Zeng, Kai Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Earth system models parameterize ocean surface fluxes of heat, moisture, and momentum with empirical bulk flux algorithms, which introduce biases and uncertainties into simulations. We investigate the atmosphere and ocean model sensitivity to algorithm choice in the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM). Flux differences between algorithms are larger in atmosphere simulations (where wind speeds can vary) than ocean simulations (where wind speeds are fixed by forcing data). Surface flux changes lead to global scale changes in the energy and water cycles, notably including ocean heat uptake and global mean precipitation rates. Compared to the control algorithm, both COARE and University of Arizona (UA) algorithms reduce global mean precipitation and top of atmosphere radiative biases. Further, UA may slightly reduce biases in ocean meridional heat transport. We speculate that changes seen here, especially in the ocean, could be even larger in coupled simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number642804
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
StatePublished - May 4 2021


  • boundary layer turbulence
  • climate dynamics
  • earth system modeling
  • ocean-atmosphere interactions
  • upper ocean processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ocean Engineering


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