An energy-diagnostics intercomparison of coupled ice-ocean Arctic models

Petteri Uotila, David M. Holland, Miguel A. Morales Maqueda, Sirpa Häkkinen, Greg Holloway, Michael Karcher, Frank Kauker, Michael Steele, Nikolai Yakovlev, Jinlun Zhang, Andrey Proshutinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monthly energetics of the Arctic Ocean are estimated based on results from six different coupled ice-ocean models. The components of the kinetic, potential and available potential energies, energy conversion and forcing rates are studied. The energy balances derived from the models differ significantly in the abyss, notably regarding the conversion of potential and kinetic energies. The models produce arctic boundary undercurrents controlled by the non-geostrophic components of the momentum equation, like advection and friction. Discrepancies exist where the modeled boundary currents are located and how completely the flow circulates around the Arctic Ocean. Two models produce cyclonic circulation, which is strongest at the depths of 300-800 m. The initial stratification, based on observations, contains a marked gradient of the available potential energy between the Eurasian and Canadian Basins with two corresponding circulation cells. The stratification is modified by the modeled circulation systematically so that this gradient vanishes. The models aim to produce a closer match toward the expected circulation, but result in a deviation from the observed, initial stratification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalOcean Modelling
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2006


  • Arctic zone
  • Energy balance
  • Intercomparison
  • Modeling
  • Polar oceanography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Oceanography
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Atmospheric Science


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