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FOAM (Fast Ocean Atmosphere Model) is a medium-resolution ocean-atmosphere general circulation model. The model provides an interesting compromise between requirements in computer resources and complexity of the processes resolved, making it well suited for paleoclimate applications. It is not under development any more.

The oceanic component

The ocean module provides a relatively high resolution (1.4° x 2.8°) on a regular longitude-latitude grid. It has 24 levels, with thickness ranging from 20 meters at the ocean surface to 400 meters at the ocean bottom, including 12 levels in the upper 1000 meters. It is dynamically similar to the Modular Ocean Model version 3 (MOM3) developed at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), but uses a free surface instead of a rigid lid. No flux corrections are used.


Illustration of the resolution of FOAM’s oceanic component (plotted using the wonderful python basemap library)

The atmospheric component

The atmospheric component is mainly based on a parallelized version of the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) Community Climate Model 2 (CCM2), with upgraded radiative and hydrologic physics from CCM3 version 3.6. It is run at a R15 spectral resolution (4.5° x 7.5° ) with 18 vertical levels (14 in the troposphere).


Illustration of FOAM’s atmospheric resolution