Model-based estimates of equatorial Pacific wind stress

Ben P. Kirtman, Edwin K. Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A Pacific basin version of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory ocean model is used to compare and modify wind stress fields derived from uncoupled simulations of the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA) Atmospheric General Circulation Model (AGCM). In an earlier study it was found that a zonal wind stress empirically derived from the zonal wind at the top of the boundary layer in the AGCM produces a better simulation than the AGCM zonal surface stress without any modifications. In addition, the statistically derived model wind stress gives ocean model simulations of sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) that are superior to simulations with the wind stress calculated from the Florida State University (FSU) pseudo stress. However, even with the statistical derived model wind stress, it is shown that the SSTA simulation in the eastern Pacific is particularly poor. In an attempt to improve the simulation in the eastern Pacific, an iterative procedure that modifies the zonal wind stress based on the simulated SSTA errors is presented. The iteration procedure results in a systematic large-scale eastward shift in the wind stress anomaly that enhances the simulation of the SSTA in the eastern Pacific. The NINO3 (5°S-5°N, 150°-90°W) SSTA correlation coefficient calculated over 30 years increases from 0.77 before the iteration to 0.93 after the iteration. Comparisons with National Meteorological Center ocean analysis shows that the iteration procedure introduces relatively small modifications to the simulation of the subsurface temperature anomaly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1077-1091
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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