Modular Ocean Model

The Modular Ocean Model (MOM) is a three-dimensional ocean circulation model designed primarily for studying the ocean climate system. The model is developed and supported primarily by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (NOAA/GFDL) in Princeton, NJ, USA.

Modular Ocean Model (MOM)
Initial releaseDecember 5, 1990 (MOM1)
Stable release
5.1.0 / March 25, 2014
Preview release
Written inFortran
TypeComputer simulation
LicenseGNU General Public License


MOM has traditionally been a level-coordinate ocean model, in which the ocean is divided into boxes whose bottoms are located at fixed depths. Such a representation makes it easy to solve the momentum equations and the well-mixed, weakly stratified layer known as the ocean mixed layer near the ocean surface. However, level coordinate models have problems when it comes to the representation of thin bottom boundary layers (Winton et al., 1998) and thick sea ice. Additionally, because mixing in the ocean interior is largely along lines of constant potential density rather than along lines of constant depth, mixing must be rotated relative to the coordinate grid- a process that can be computationally expensive. By contrast, in codes which represent the ocean in terms of constant-density layers (which represent the flow in the ocean interior much more faithfully)- representation of the ocean mixed layer becomes a challenge.

MOM3, MOM4, and MOM5 are used as a code base for the ocean component of the GFDL coupled models used in the IPCC assessment reports, including the GFDL CM2.X physical climate model series and the ESM2M Earth System Model. Versions of MOM have been used in hundreds of scientific papers by authors around the world. MOM4 is used as the basis for the El Nino prediction system employed by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction.


MOM owes its genesis to work at GFDL in the late 1960s by Kirk Bryan and Mike Cox. This code, along with a version generated at GFDL and UCLA/NCAR by Bert Semtner, is the ancestor of many of the level-coordinate ocean model codes run around the world today. In the late 1980s, Ron Pacanowski, Keith Dixon, and Tony Rosati at GFDL rewrote the Bryan-Cox-Semtner code in a modular form, enabling different options and configurations to be more easily generated and new physical parameterizations to be more easily included. This version, released on December 5, 1990, became known as Modular Ocean Model v1.0 (MOM1).[1] Further development by Pacanowski, aided by Charles Goldberg and encouraged by community feedback, led to the release of v2.0 (MOM2) in 1995. Pacanowski and Stephen Griffies released v3.0 (MOM3) in 1999. Griffies, Matthew Harrison, Rosati and Pacanowski, with considerable input from a scientific community of hundreds of users, resulted in significant evolution of the code released as v4.0 (MOM4) in 2003. An update, v4.1 (MOM4p1) was released by Griffies in 2009, as was the latest version v5.0 (MOM5), which was released in 2012.

See also


  1. ^ "Modular Ocean Model version 1". GFDL. Retrieved 2019-04-12.

External links

Bahama Banks

The Bahama Banks are the submerged carbonate platforms that make up much of the Bahama Archipelago. The term is usually applied in referring to either the Great Bahama Bank around Andros Island, or the Little Bahama Bank of Grand Bahama Island and Great Abaco, which are the largest of the platforms, and the Cay Sal Bank north of Cuba. The islands of these banks are politically part of the Bahamas. Other banks are the three banks of the Turks and Caicos Islands, namely the Caicos Bank of the Caicos Islands, the bank of the Turks Islands, and wholly submerged Mouchoir Bank. Further southeast are the equally wholly submerged Silver Bank and Navidad Bank north of the Dominican Republic.

Carbonate platform

A carbonate platform is a sedimentary body which possesses topographic relief, and is composed of autochthonic calcareous deposits. Platform growth is mediated by sessile organisms whose skeletons build up the reef or by organisms (usually microbes) which induce carbonate precipitation through their metabolism. Therefore, carbonate platforms can not grow up everywhere: they are not present in places where limiting factors to the life of reef-building organisms exist. Such limiting factors are, among others: light, water temperature, transparency and pH-Value. For example, carbonate sedimentation along the Atlantic South American coasts takes place everywhere but at the mouth of the Amazon River, because of the intense turbidity of the water there. Spectacular examples of present-day carbonate platforms are the Bahama Banks under which the platform is roughly 8 km thick, the Yucatan Peninsula which is up to 2 km thick, the Florida platform, the platform on which the Great Barrier Reef is growing, and the Maldive atolls. All these carbonate platforms and their associated reefs are confined to tropical latitudes. Today's reefs are built mainly by scleractinian corals, but in the distant past other organisms, like archaeocyatha (during the Cambrian) or extinct cnidaria (tabulata and rugosa) were important reef builders.

Climate model

Climate models use quantitative methods to simulate the interactions of the important drivers of climate, including atmosphere, oceans, land surface and ice. They are used for a variety of purposes from study of the dynamics of the climate system to projections of future climate.

All climate models take account of incoming energy from the sun as short wave electromagnetic radiation, chiefly visible and short-wave (near) infrared, as well as outgoing long wave (far) infrared electromagnetic. Any imbalance results in a change in temperature.

Models vary in complexity:

A simple radiant heat transfer model treats the earth as a single point and averages outgoing energy

This can be expanded vertically (radiative-convective models) and/or horizontally

Finally, (coupled) atmosphere–ocean–sea ice global climate models solve the full equations for mass and energy transfer and radiant exchange.

Box models can treat flows across and within ocean basins.

Other types of modelling can be interlinked, such as land use, allowing researchers to predict the interaction between climate and ecosystems.

General circulation model

A general circulation model (GCM) is a type of climate model. It employs a mathematical model of the general circulation of a planetary atmosphere or ocean. It uses the Navier–Stokes equations on a rotating sphere with thermodynamic terms for various energy sources (radiation, latent heat). These equations are the basis for computer programs used to simulate the Earth's atmosphere or oceans. Atmospheric and oceanic GCMs (AGCM and OGCM) are key components along with sea ice and land-surface components.

GCMs and global climate models are used for weather forecasting, understanding the climate and forecasting climate change.

Versions designed for decade to century time scale climate applications were originally created by Syukuro Manabe and Kirk Bryan at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, New Jersey. These models are based on the integration of a variety of fluid dynamical, chemical and sometimes biological equations.

Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) is a laboratory in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR). The current director is Dr. Venkatachalam Ramaswamy. It is one of seven NOAA Research Laboratories (RLs).GFDL is engaged in comprehensive long lead-time research to expand the scientific understanding of the physical processes that govern the behavior of the atmosphere and the oceans as complex fluid systems. These systems can then be modeled mathematically and their phenomenology can be studied by computer simulation methods.

GFDL's accomplishments include the development of the first climate models to study global warming, the first comprehensive ocean prediction codes, and the first dynamical models with significant skill in hurricane track and intensity predictions. Much current research within the laboratory is focused around the development of Earth System Models for assessment of natural and human-induced climate change.

Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Coupled Model

Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Coupled Model (GFDL CM2.5) is a coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model (AOGCM) developed at the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in the United States. It is one of the leading climate models used in the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC, along with models developed at the Max Planck Institute for Climate Research, the Hadley Centre and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Index of physics articles (M)

The index of physics articles is split into multiple pages due to its size.

To navigate by individual letter use the table of contents below.

Kirk Bryan (oceanographer)

Kirk Bryan (Jr.) (born 1929, son of Kirk Bryan,Sr.(geologist,1888-1950) is an American oceanographer who is considered to be the founder of numerical ocean modeling. Starting in the 1960s at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, then located in Washington, D.C., Bryan worked with a series of colleagues to develop numerical schemes for solving the equations of motion describing flow on a sphere. His work on these schemes led to the so-called "Bryan-Cox code" with which many early simulations were made, and which led to the Modular Ocean Model currently used by many numerical oceanographers and climate scientists.

In addition to his important contributions in developing numerical codes, Bryan was also involved in early efforts to apply them to understanding the global climate system. In 1967, he published, with Michael Cox, the first model of the 3-dimensional circulation of the ocean, forced by both winds and thermodynamic forcing. In 1969, a paper with Syukoro Manabe was the first to present integrations of a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean model, demonstrating the importance of ocean heat transport to the climate. This work was recently named one of the top ten breakthroughs in the history of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Bryan's 1971 paper with the noted dynamicist Adrian Gill demonstrated the important role played by bottom topography in setting the structure of the global ocean circulation, and played a major role in suggesting links between changes in continental topography and climate, continuing a long-term interest in the role of oceanic heat transport in determining global climate. Dr. Bryan was a lead author of the "Transient Climate Change" section of the 1989 scientific assessment report to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.Bryan has been awarded the Maurice Ewing Medal of the American Geophysical Union for his contributions to the field of ocean science.

List of ocean circulation models

This is a list of ocean circulation models, as used in physical oceanography. Ocean circulation models can also be used to study chemical oceanography, biological oceanography, geological oceanography, and climate science.

List of submarine volcanoes

A list of active and extinct submarine volcanoes and seamounts located under the world's oceans. There are estimated to be 40,000 to 55,000 seamounts in the global oceans. Almost all are not well-mapped and many may not have been identified at all. Most are unnamed and unexplored. This list is therefore confined to seamounts that are notable enough to have been named and/or explored.

Marine biology

Marine biology is the scientific study of marine life, organisms in the sea. Given that in biology many phyla, families and genera have some species that live in the sea and others that live on land, marine biology classifies species based on the environment rather than on taxonomy.

A large proportion of all life on Earth lives in the ocean. The exact size of this large proportion is unknown, since many ocean species are still to be discovered. The ocean is a complex three-dimensional world covering approximately 71% of the Earth's surface. The habitats studied in marine biology include everything from the tiny layers of surface water in which organisms and abiotic items may be trapped in surface tension between the ocean and atmosphere, to the depths of the oceanic trenches, sometimes 10,000 meters or more beneath the surface of the ocean. Specific habitats include coral reefs, kelp forests, seagrass meadows, the surrounds of seamounts and thermal vents, tidepools, muddy, sandy and rocky bottoms, and the open ocean (pelagic) zone, where solid objects are rare and the surface of the water is the only visible boundary. The organisms studied range from microscopic phytoplankton and zooplankton to huge cetaceans (whales) 25–32 meters (82–105 feet) in length. Marine ecology is the study of how marine organisms interact with each other and the environment.

Marine life is a vast resource, providing food, medicine, and raw materials, in addition to helping to support recreation and tourism all over the world. At a fundamental level, marine life helps determine the very nature of our planet. Marine organisms contribute significantly to the oxygen cycle, and are involved in the regulation of the Earth's climate. Shorelines are in part shaped and protected by marine life, and some marine organisms even help create new land.Many species are economically important to humans, including both finfish and shellfish. It is also becoming understood that the well-being of marine organisms and other organisms are linked in fundamental ways. The human body of knowledge regarding the relationship between life in the sea and important cycles is rapidly growing, with new discoveries being made nearly every day. These cycles include those of matter (such as the carbon cycle) and of air (such as Earth's respiration, and movement of energy through ecosystems including the ocean). Large areas beneath the ocean surface still remain effectively unexplored.

Ocean reanalysis

Ocean reanalysis is a method of combining historical ocean observations with a general ocean model (typically a computational model) driven by historical estimates of surface winds, heat, and freshwater, by way of a data assimilation algorithm to reconstruct historical changes in the state of the ocean.

Historical observations are sparse and insufficient for understanding the history of the ocean and its circulation. By utilizing data assimilation techniques in combination with advanced computational models of the global ocean, researchers are able to interpolate the historical observations to all points in the ocean. This process has an analog in the construction of atmospheric reanalysis and is closely related to ocean state estimation.

Oceanic plateau

An oceanic or submarine plateau is a large, relatively flat elevation that is higher than the surrounding relief with one or more relatively steep sides.There are 184 oceanic plateaus covering an area of 18,486,600 km2 (7,137,700 sq mi), or about 5.11% of the oceans. The South Pacific region around Australia and New Zealand contains the greatest number of oceanic plateaus (see map).

Oceanic plateaus produced by large igneous provinces are often associated with hotspots, mantle plumes, and volcanic islands — such as Iceland, Hawaii, Cape Verde, and Kerguelen. The three largest plateaus, the Caribbean, Ontong Java, and Mid-Pacific Mountains, are located on thermal swells. Other oceanic plateaus, however, are made of rifted continental crust, for example Falkland Plateau, Lord Howe Rise, and parts of Kerguelen, Seychelles, and Arctic ridges.

Plateaus formed by large igneous provinces were formed by the equivalent of continental flood basalts such as the Deccan Traps in India and the Snake River Plain in the United States.

In contrast to continental flood basalts, most igneous oceanic plateaus erupt through young and thin (6–7 km (3.7–4.3 mi)) mafic or ultra-mafic crust and are therefore uncontaminated by felsic crust and representative for their mantle sources.

These plateaus often rise 2–3 km (1.2–1.9 mi) above the surrounding ocean floor and are more buoyant than oceanic crust. They therefore tend to withstand subduction, more-so when thick and when reaching subduction zones shortly after their formations. As a consequence, they tend to "dock" to continental margins and be preserved as accreted terranes. Such terranes are often better preserved than the exposed parts of continental flood basalts and are therefore a better record of large-scale volcanic eruptions throughout Earth's history. This "docking" also means that oceanic plateaus are important contributors to the growth of continental crust. Their formations often had a dramatic impact on global climate, such as the most recent plateaus formed, the three, large, Cretaceous oceanic plateaus in the Pacific and Indian Ocean: Ontong Java, Kerguelen, and Caribbean.

Outline of oceanography

The following outline is provided as an overview of and introduction to Oceanography.

Physical oceanography

Physical oceanography is the study of physical conditions and physical processes within the ocean, especially the motions and physical properties of ocean waters.

Physical oceanography is one of several sub-domains into which oceanography is divided. Others include biological, chemical and geological oceanography.

Physical oceanography may be subdivided into descriptive and dynamical physical oceanography.Descriptive physical oceanography seeks to research the ocean through observations and complex numerical models, which describe the fluid motions as precisely as possible.

Dynamical physical oceanography focuses primarily upon the processes that govern the motion of fluids with emphasis upon theoretical research and numerical models. These are part of the large field of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (GFD) that is shared together with meteorology. GFD is a sub field of Fluid dynamics describing flows occurring on spatial and temporal scales that are greatly influenced by the Coriolis force.

Princeton Ocean Model

The Princeton Ocean Model (POM) is a community general numerical model for ocean circulation that can be used to simulate and predict oceanic currents, temperatures, salinities and other water properties.

Undersea mountain range

Undersea mountain ranges are mountain ranges that are mostly or entirely underwater, and specifically under the surface of an ocean. If originated from current tectonic forces, they are often referred to as a mid-ocean ridge. In contrast, if formed by past above-water volcanism, they are known as a seamount chain. The largest and best known undersea mountain range is a mid-ocean ridge, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It has been observed that, "similar to those on land, the undersea mountain ranges are the loci of frequent volcanic and earthquake activity".

Wave base

The wave base, in physical oceanography, is the maximum depth at which a water wave's passage causes significant water motion. For water depths deeper than the wave base, bottom sediments and the seafloor are no longer stirred by the wave motion above.

Atmospheric, oceanographic, cryospheric, and climate models


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