The Spectral Ocean Model (SOM) has a numerical formulation like that of spectral atmospheric general circulation models. Continents are included by inserting regions in which the flow suffers very large friction. A barotropic version for the depth-averaged wind-driven circulation has been developed initially. It reveals realistic flow patterns and mass transports. This version has been extended by including multiple layers and salinity for simulating the wind- and heat-driven three-dimensional circulation in a flat-bottom ocean. The model employs a semi-implicit time integration scheme and allows, therefore, a longer time step to be used of the order of several days. An optional filter of wave dynamics enables a model integration based on the planetary-geostrophic equations. The model has already been coupled to the atmospheric climate model Planet Simulator.

- Scientific documentation

- Peer-reviewed article that uses results SAM simulations:

  • Frisius, T., K. Fraedrich, X. Zhu, and W. Wang, 2009: A spectral barotropic model of the wind-driven world ocean. Ocean Modelling, 30, 310-322. doi:10.1016/j.ocemod.2009.07.008
Simulation of an idealized ocean basin with SOM. Left panel: time development of the meridional overturning mass flux, middle panel: horizontal flow (vectors), vertical velocity (isolines) and temperature (shadings) at the uppermost model level after 1200 years, right panel: Zonal average of temperature (shadings), zonal velocity (white isolines) and meridional mass streamfunction (black isolines) after 1200 years.