The nonlinear equation of state of sea water and the global water mass distribution


The role of nonlinearities of the equation of state (EOS) of seawater for the distribution of water masses in the global ocean is examined through simulations with an ocean general circulation model with various manipulated versions of the EOS. A simulation with a strongly simplified EOS, which contains only two nonlinear terms, still produces a realistic water mass distribution, demonstrating that these two nonlinearities are indeed the essential ones. Further simulations show that each of these two nonlinear terms affects a specific aspect of the water mass distribution: the cabbeling term is crucial for the formation of Antarctic Intermediate Water and the thermobaric term for the layering of North Atlantic Deep Water and Antarctic Bottom Water.
QR Code: Link to publication