Frontiers of Earth Science

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 24–36 | Cite as

Seasonal variation of the global mixed layer depth: comparison between Argo data and FIO-ESM

  • Yutong Zhang
  • Haiming Xu
  • Fangli Qiao
  • Changming Dong
Research Article


The present study evaluates a simulation of the global ocean mixed layer depth (MLD) using the First Institute of Oceanography-Earth System Model (FIOESM). The seasonal variation of the global MLD from the FIO-ESM simulation is compared to Argo observational data. The Argo data show that the global ocean MLD has a strong seasonal variation with a deep MLD in winter and a shallow MLD in summer, while the spring and fall seasons act as transitional periods. Overall, the FIO-ESM simulation accurately captures the seasonal variation in MLD in most areas. It exhibits a better performance during summer and fall than during winter and spring. The simulated MLD in the Southern Hemisphere is much closer to observations than that in the Northern Hemisphere. In general, the simulated MLD over the South Atlantic Ocean matches the observation best among the six areas. Additionally, the model slightly underestimates the MLD in parts of the North Atlantic Ocean, and slightly overestimates the MLD over the other ocean basins.


mixed layer depth FIO-ESM model seasonal variation 


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The present study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41476022 and 41490643), the Startup Foundation for Introducing Talent of Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology (2013r121, 2014r072), the Program for Innovation Research and Entrepreneurship team in Jiangsu Province, and the National Programme on Global Change and Air-Sea Interaction (No. GASI- 03-IPOVAI-05). Appreciation is extended to the anonymous reviewers and the editors for their valuable comments.


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© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Atmospheric SciencesNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingChina
  2. 2.College of Marine SciencesNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingChina
  3. 3.First Institute of OceanographyState Oceanic AdministrationQingdaoChina

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