Solar heating of the oceans-diurnal, seasonal and meridional variation.

Woods, John D., Barkmann, Wolfgang and Horch, Alexander (1984) Solar heating of the oceans-diurnal, seasonal and meridional variation. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 110 (465). pp. 633-656. DOI 10.1002/qj.49711046505.

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Solar heating is an important factor in modelling the upper boundary layer of the ocean. It influences not only the temperature, but also the depth of the mixed layer and must be taken into account in circulation dynamics. The study reported in this paper was designed to reveal the principal features of the global climatology of solar heating in the ocean, with such applications in mind. The meridional, seasonal and diurnal variations of the vertical distribution of solar heating inside the ocean, expressed in terms of I(z), the rate of heat accumulation below depth z, and †(z) = (1/c). dzI(z), the rate of temperature rise, are calculated for given values of cloud cover and seawater turbidity (expressed in terms of Jerlov's water types) using a model that incorporates a new parametrization of I(z)/I(0), which is shown to be more accurate than previous versions. At present there exist no reliable global climatologies of cloud cover and seawater turbidity, so the values of the corresponding parameters are held constant in each computation, which is then repeated using parameter sets covering the full ranges from clear to overcast sky, clear to turbid ocean water. It is found that uncertainty in cloud cover is more important in the mixed layer, and uncertainty in seawater turbidity is more important below. The results presented in this paper are mainly concerned with solar heating below the mixed layer. It is calculated that the annual temperature rise can exceed 1 K and the annual heat accumulation can exceed 100 MJ/m2 below the mixed layer in the tropics. At higher latitudes solar heating produces similar heating rates in summer, but the stored heat is extracted locally in winter when the mixed layer depth exceeds the maximum depth of solar heating, defined here by a daily temperature rise of 1 mK or a heat flux of 86.4 KJ/m2d (=1 W/m2). The sensitivity of the seasonal and meridional variations of the maximum depth of solar heating to cloud cover and seawater turbidity is investigated. The actual change of temperature due to solar heating in the seasonal thermocline at Ocean Weather Station ‘C’ is calculated using Bunker's monthly mean cloud cover and Jerlov's seawater turbidity. Extension of such calculations to the whole of the World Ocean must await the publication of global climatologies of cloud cover and seawater turbidity, which are expected to be derived from satellite observations during the next decade.
A solar heating climatology is a prerequisite for computation of the thermal response of the ocean to CO2 pollution of the atmosphere. The implications of the results obtained from the present study are discussed. An early rise in tropical sea surface temperature seems likely, but exact prediction will be hindered by uncertainty in the turbidity of the tropical ocean.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Physical Oceanography; Meteorology; Solar heating
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1002/qj.49711046505
ISSN: 0035-9009
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2012 11:51
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2019 10:39

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