I often come across the words "atmospheric forcing" or "meteorological forcing" in journals.

I presume it just means the influence/impacts of the atmosphere upon factors such as climate, wind patterns and tidal/ocean currents.

However, this is a presumption. Am I correct?

An example is located on page 11 of this link

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    $\begingroup$ Are you talking about "climate forcing"? This is synonymous with "radiative forcing" which quantifies the influence of warming for each climate factor. $\endgroup$
    – f.thorpe
    Dec 20 '16 at 2:39
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    $\begingroup$ It could also be the boundary conditions for a land surface model or regional atmospheric model. Update the question with a couple of examples so we can see the context. $\endgroup$
    – Deditos
    Dec 20 '16 at 8:41
  • $\begingroup$ @farrenthorpe unfortunately not. It is not related to radiative forcing. $\endgroup$
    – G. Gip
    Dec 20 '16 at 11:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Deditos Found a journal example which is linked $\endgroup$
    – G. Gip
    Dec 20 '16 at 11:55
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    $\begingroup$ In oceanography, it has the same meaning that @Deditos mentions. Atmospheric forcing is the transfer of momentum and heat flux from the atmosphere into the ocean. e.g.: dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocemod.2009.10.005 $\endgroup$
    – arkaia
    Dec 20 '16 at 15:59

The example that you've linked to (Larsen, 2003, "An investigation of the Faroe Shelf Front", Univ. of Bergen) is a description of various processes that contribute to the existence and variability of an ocean front around the Faroe Isles. As an oceanography thesis, it's mainly concerned with the ocean state (e.g., temperature, salinity) and local, internal process that affect the front. But the introduction also mentions external process that affect the local ocean state, such as the wider-scale ocean state/fluxes, topography and atmospheric forcing.

You could loosely think of these three respectively as the lateral, lower and upper boundary conditions for the local block of ocean of interest around the Faroes. In this context it could also be phrased as the forcing of the ocean by the atmosphere, so how the ocean is affected by the exchange with the atmosphere of quantities such as heat, water and momentum. Larsen summarizes these through descriptions of air temperature and heat flux, precipitation, evaporation and runoff, and wind speed and direction.

Often when we're interested in a particular physical realm (e.g., atmosphere, ocean, land or ice-sheets) we prescribe (i.e., force) the interactions it has with the other realms to make it easier to investigate processes within the realm.


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