FY 05/06 | FY 04/05 | FY 03/04 | SPRING 2003 | FALL 2002 | SPRING 2002



The ocean climate modeling working group aims to understand how ocean biology and physics responds to a climate perturbation and, importantly, the extent to which this response is fed back to the climate system. The overall goal of this work is to understand the extent to which the ocean serves as a heat and carbon reservoir for the global climate system.

The group is composed of physical oceanographers (Susan Lozier, of Duke University, and Yi Chao, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory), a biological oceanographer (Richard Barber, Duke University), a statistical climatologist (Gabi Hegerl, Duke University), and a computational scientist (Mark Reed, of the NC Supercomputing Center).

Ocean scientists have an enormous role to play in deciphering our evolving climate because of the ocean's importance in establishing that climate. The ocean contains more than fifty times the amount of CO2 than the atmosphere, the heat capacity of the ocean is more than a thousand times greater that that of the atmosphere, and the ocean takes up, by gas exchange with the atmosphere, about 40% of the CO2 emitted to the atmosphere each year.

Despite the importance of the ocean to our global climate, we still have quite a limited understanding of the complex oceanic lag times and linkages between radiative input and climate response. The overall aim of the group’s work is to understand how ocean biology and physics respond to both natural and human-induced climate perturbation and, importantly, the extent to which this response is fed back to the climate system. The goal is to considerably improve our ability to reconstruct past climates with dynamical consistency, and to develop projections of future climate.

The investigation of the biological and physical coupling in response to climate change will use an eddy-resolving coupled physical-biological model. In the course of this initiative, the group will make the first attempt to run an eddy-resolving, basin-scale Ocean General Circulation Model (OCGM), coupling physics/dynamics with biogeochemistry.

During the Spring 2003 term, the group offered a course to graduate students on ocean climate modeling and analysis. More information.


Hegel, G. C., Zwiers, F. W. Stott, P. A. Kharin, V. V., 2004, Detectability of anthropogenic changes in annual temperature and precipitation extremes, J. Climate, 17(19), 683-3700

Groisman, P. Y.; Knight, R. W.; Easterling, D. R.; Karl, T. R.; Hegerl, G. C.; Razuvaev, V. N., 2005, Trends in precipitation intensity in the climate record, J. Climate, 18(9),1326-1350

Potter, R.A. and M. S. Lozier, 2004, On the warming and salinification of the Mediterranean outflow waters, Geophysical Research Letters, 31, L01202, doi:10.1028/2003GL018161

Yuan, G., M. S. Lozier, L. Pratt, C. Jones and K. Helfrich, 2004, Estimating the predictability of an oceanic time series using linear and nonlinear methods, Journal of Geophysical Research, 109, C08002, doi:10.1029/2003JC002148,

Lozier, M. S. and M.S.C. Reed, 2005, The influence of topography on the stability of shelfbreak fronts, Journal of Physical Oceanography, 35(6), 1023.

Palter, J.B., M.S. Lozier, and R.T. Barber, 2005. The role of the advective nutricline in establishing the North Atlantic nutrient reservoir. Nature, 437, 687-692.

Lozier, M.S., S.J. Leadbetter, R.G. Williams, V. Roussenov, M.S.C. Reed and N.J. Moore, 2008. The spatial pattern and mechanisms of heat content change in the North Atlantic. Science, 319, 800-803.

Wang, Xiaochun, and Yi Chao, 2004, Simulated Sea Surface Salinity Variability in the Tropical Pacific, Geophysical Research Letters, 31, L02302, doi:10.1029/2003GL018146