Today’s ocean models can only mimic about 5% of the currents at 1,000 meters depth.

Sea movement plays a critical role in the world’s energy and environmental frameworks. Ocean science has made significant progress in the last few decades in terms of providing general estimates of ocean motion on a large scale. However, numerous dynamic mechanisms remain unsolved or poorly understood.

The study by the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and its collaborators, led by Prof. Su Fenzhen, found that humans know less than 5 percent of the ocean currents at 1,000 meters below the surface. This has important repercussions for modeled predictions of climate change and carbon sequestration.

Nature Communications published their findings.

“A significant finding is that the energy of circulation in almost all of the world’s oceans is underestimated. This is most likely related to the low resolution of high-frequency dynamics in ocean circulation models and the insufficiency of present sub-grid solutions.”

Prof. Su Fenzhen’s team at the Institute of Geographic Sciences.

A displacement dataset consisting of 842,421 observations from Argo floats from 2001 to 2020 was used by the researchers. Near the 1,000-meter depth, Lagrangian velocities were calculated, and several accuracy indicators were used to compare the velocities of Argo floats to simulated values from global circulation models.

Only 3.8% of the mid-depth oceans can be accurately modeled, according to the findings.

“A significant finding is that the energy of circulation in almost all of the oceans in the world is underestimated.” Prof. Su stated, “This is probably due to the inadequacy of current solutions to sub-grid processes and the poor resolution of high-frequency dynamics in ocean circulation models.”

“Later on, we hope to foster sea flow models that could all the more reliably address noticed sea flows through additional serious and qualified perceptions, a more useful definition, a better model goal, and a top-to-bottom hypothetical examination,” he said.

The study demonstrates the nature and extent of the gap between what scientists know about the ocean and how it actually looks. It can assist with directing suggestions for additional concentrated observational and more exact expectations to lessen the enormous and huge inclinations among models and perceptions.

More information: Fenzhen Su et al, Widespread global disparities between modelled and observed mid-depth ocean currents, Nature Communications (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-37841-x

Topic : Article