Modelling the oceanic meridional overturning circulation: challenges and insights
Campus PMC Salle UFR TEB
Composition du jury
The objective of my habilitation is to review recent advances in the understanding of the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) and ocean modelling in parallel. Although the MOC is a complex oceanic structure, simple models provide useful insights into the processes that influence it. This is the method that I followed to clarify the role of eddies in convective basins where dense water is formed. More complex models, representing the whole ocean dynamics on a global scale, allow to examine the interactions between processes and the associated mechanisms of variability. I have then shown that the link between MOC and dense water formation depends on the spatial resolution of the ocean model, a critical parameter for the representation of western boundary currents. Unfortunately, the production of such models is costly and prevents the quantification of uncertainties related to numerical choices. For this reason, it is preferable to use climate models, which are less expensive because of their corser spatial resolution. I have therefore focused on IPSL-CM6 model since 2015 and conducted a collaborative project exploring various parameterizations and spatial resolutions, in the atmosphere and the ocean, to quantify the uncertainties of the simulations produced for CMIP6. The most important result is that the uncertainty related to model calibration is as large as that related to spatial resolution, for the range of resolutions explored (1/4 to 1 degree in the ocean). This motivates to develop new methods to calibrate ocean and climate model parameters, as well as to improve the parameterizations of fine scale processes in coarse resolution models, two objectives that are central in my future projects.