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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Highlights: • Lagrangian vortices are identified in a mesoscale eddy-permitting ocean model. • Rigorous sensitivity analysis of the methods tuning parameters is conducted. • The Coherency Index, a new Lagrangian diagnostic, is introduced to quantify the material coherency of a vortex. • The spectrum of vortex coherency is explored by identifying leaky, moderately coherent, and strictly coherent vortices. We identify Lagrangian coherent vortices in a global mesoscale eddy-permitting ocean model using the rotation-based method of Haller et al. (2016). We present an analysis of the acute sensitivity of the identification results to varying the method’s free parameters, and develop physically justified parameter choices that allow for systematic vortex identification. In contrast to prior vortex studies, we probe the broad spectrum of coherency in the ocean by determining free parameter choices that partition the spectrum into distinct allowing for the identification of strictly coherent, moderately coherent, and leaky vortices. Our tuning methodology is grounded in a combination of sensitivity analysis, convergence tests, and consideration of the ocean model’s physics. To aid in this process, we introduce the a novel Lagrangian diagnostic for mathematically quantifying the degree of material coherency of a Lagrangian vortex. We aim for this manuscript and the accompanying open-access code to serve as a manual and toolset for the oceanographer interested in harnessing a rigorous Lagrangian method to uncover coherent structures in ocean models and observations.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-04-11
    Description: We revisit the challenges and prospects for ocean circulation models following Griffies et al. (2010). Over the past decade, ocean circulation models evolved through improved understanding, numerics, spatial discretization, grid configurations, parameterizations, data assimilation, environmental monitoring, and process-level observations and modeling. Important large scale applications over the last decade are simulations of the Southern Ocean, the Meridional Overturning Circulation and its variability, and regional sea level change. Submesoscale variability is now routinely resolved in process models and permitted in a few global models, and submesoscale effects are parameterized in most global models. The scales where nonhydrostatic effects become important are beginning to be resolved in regional and process models. Coupling to sea ice, ice shelves, and high-resolution atmospheric models has stimulated new ideas and driven improvements in numerics. Observations have provided insight into turbulence and mixing around the globe and its consequences are assessed through perturbed physics models. Relatedly, parameterizations of the mixing and overturning processes in boundary layers and the ocean interior have improved. New diagnostics being used for evaluating models alongside present and novel observations are briefly referenced. The overall goal is summarizing new developments in ocean modeling, including: how new and existing observations can be used, what modeling challenges remain, and how simulations can be used to support observations.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2017-06-13
    Description: The Ocean Model Intercomparison Project (OMIP) focuses on the physics and biogeochemistry of the ocean component of Earth system models participating in the sixth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). OMIP aims to provide standard protocols and diagnostics for ocean models, while offering a forum to promote their common assessment and improvement. It also offers to compare solutions of the same ocean models when forced with reanalysis data (OMIP simulations) vs. when integrated within fully coupled Earth system models (CMIP6). Here we detail simulation protocols and diagnostics for OMIP’s biogeochemical and inert chemical tracers. These passive-tracer simulations will be coupled to ocean circulation models, initialized with observational data or output from a model spin-up, and forced by repeating the 1948– 2009 surface fluxes of heat, fresh water, and momentum. These so-called OMIP-BGC simulations include three inert chemical tracers (CFC-11, CFC-12, SF6) and biogeochemical tracers (e.g., dissolved inorganic carbon, carbon isotopes, alkalinity, nutrients, and oxygen). Modelers will use their preferred prognostic BGC model but should follow common guidelines for gas exchange and carbonate chemistry. Simulations include both natural and total carbon tracers. The required forced simulation (omip1) will be initialized with gridded observational climatologies. An optional forced simulation (omip1-spunup) will be initialized instead with BGC fields from a long model spin-up, preferably for 2000 years or more, and forced by repeating the same 62-year meteorological forcing. That optional run will also include abiotic tracers of total dissolved inorganic carbon and radiocarbon, Cabio T and 14Cabio T , to assess deep-ocean ventilation and distinguish the role of physics vs. biology. These simulations will be forced by observed atmospheric histories of the three inert gases and CO2 as well as carbon isotope ratios of CO2. OMIP-BGC simulation protocols are founded on those from previous phases of the Ocean Carbon-Cycle Model Intercomparison Project. They have been merged and updated to reflect improvements concerning gas exchange, carbonate chemistry, and new data for initial conditions and atmospheric gas histories. Code is provided to facilitate their implementation.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 4
  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: Ocean assimilation systems synthesize diverse in situ and satellite data streams into four-dimensional state estimates by combining the various observations with the model. Assimilation is particularly important for the ocean where subsurface observations, even today, are sparse and intermittent compared with the scales needed to represent ocean variability and where satellites only sense the surface. Developments in assimilation and in the observing system have advanced our understanding and prediction of ocean variations at mesoscale and climate scales. Use of these systems for assessing the observing system helps identify the strengths of each observation type. Results indicate that the ocean remains under-sampled and that further improvements in the observing system are needed. Prospects for future advances lie in improved models and better estimates of error statistics for both models and observations. Future developments will be increasingly towards consistent analyses across components of the Earth system. However, even today ocean synthesis and assimilation systems are providing products that are useful for many applications and should be considered an integral part of the global ocean observing and information system.
    Keywords: Oceanography
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-02-25
    Description: Highlights: • Inter-annual to decadal variability in AMOC from CORE-II simulations is presented. • AMOC variability shows three stages, with maximum transports in mid- to late-1990s. • North Atlantic temporal variability features are in good agreement among simulations. • Such agreements suggest variability is dictated by the atmospheric data sets. • Simulations differ in spatial structures of variability due to ocean dynamics. Simulated inter-annual to decadal variability and trends in the North Atlantic for the 1958–2007 period from twenty global ocean – sea-ice coupled models are presented. These simulations are performed as contributions to the second phase of the Coordinated Ocean-ice Reference Experiments (CORE-II). The study is Part II of our companion paper (Danabasoglu et al., 2014) which documented the mean states in the North Atlantic from the same models. A major focus of the present study is the representation of Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) variability in the participating models. Relationships between AMOC variability and those of some other related variables, such as subpolar mixed layer depths, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and the Labrador Sea upper-ocean hydrographic properties, are also investigated. In general, AMOC variability shows three distinct stages. During the first stage that lasts until the mid- to late-1970s, AMOC is relatively steady, remaining lower than its long-term (1958–2007) mean. Thereafter, AMOC intensifies with maximum transports achieved in the mid- to late-1990s. This enhancement is then followed by a weakening trend until the end of our integration period. This sequence of low frequency AMOC variability is consistent with previous studies. Regarding strengthening of AMOC between about the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s, our results support a previously identified variability mechanism where AMOC intensification is connected to increased deep water formation in the subpolar North Atlantic, driven by NAO-related surface fluxes. The simulations tend to show general agreement in their temporal representations of, for example, AMOC, sea surface temperature (SST), and subpolar mixed layer depth variabilities. In particular, the observed variability of the North Atlantic SSTs is captured well by all models. These findings indicate that simulated variability and trends are primarily dictated by the atmospheric datasets which include the influence of ocean dynamics from nature superimposed onto anthropogenic effects. Despite these general agreements, there are many differences among the model solutions, particularly in the spatial structures of variability patterns. For example, the location of the maximum AMOC variability differs among the models between Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: The Ocean Model Intercomparison Project (OMIP) is an endorsed project in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6). OMIP addresses CMIP6 science questions, investigating the origins and consequences of systematic model biases. It does so by providing a framework for evaluating (including assessment of systematic biases), understanding, and improving ocean, sea-ice, tracer, and biogeochemical components of climate and earth system models contributing to CMIP6. Among the WCRP Grand Challenges in climate science (GCs), OMIP primarily contributes to the regional sea level change and near-term (climate/decadal) prediction GCs. OMIP provides (a) an experimental protocol for global ocean/sea-ice models run with a prescribed atmospheric forcing; and (b) a protocol for ocean diagnostics to be saved as part of CMIP6. We focus here on the physical component of OMIP, with a companion paper (Orr et al., 2016) detailing methods for the inert chemistry and interactive biogeochemistry. The physical portion of the OMIP experimental protocol follows the interannual Coordinated Ocean-ice Reference Experiments (CORE-II). Since 2009, CORE-I (Normal Year Forcing) and CORE-II (Interannual Forcing) have become the standard methods to evaluate global ocean/sea-ice simulations and to examine mechanisms for forced ocean climate variability. The OMIP diagnostic protocol is relevant for any ocean model component of CMIP6, including the DECK (Diagnostic, Evaluation and Characterization of Klima experiments), historical simulations, FAFMIP (Flux Anomaly Forced MIP), C4MIP (Coupled Carbon Cycle Climate MIP), DAMIP (Detection and Attribution MIP), DCPP (Decadal Climate Prediction Project), ScenarioMIP, HighResMIP (High Resolution MIP), as well as the ocean/sea-ice OMIP simulations
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: The Weddell Sea polynya is a large opening in the open-ocean sea ice cover associated with intense deep convection in the ocean. A necessary condition to form and maintain a polynya is the presence of a strong subsurface heat reservoir. This study investigates the processes that control the stratification and hence the buildup of the subsurface heat reservoir in the Weddell Sea. To do so, a climate model run for 200 years under preindustrial forcing with two eddying resolutions in the ocean (0.25° CM2.5 and 0.10° CM2.6) is investigated. Over the course of the simulation, CM2.6 develops two polynyas in the Weddell Sea, while CM2.5 exhibits quasi-continuous deep convection but no polynyas, exemplifying that deep convection is not a sufficient condition for a polynya to occur. CM2.5 features a weaker subsurface heat reservoir than CM2.6 owing to weak stratification associated with episodes of gravitational instability and enhanced vertical mixing of heat, resulting in an erosion of the reservoir. In contrast, in CM2.6, the water column is more stably stratified, allowing the subsurface heat reservoir to build up. The enhanced stratification in CM2.6 arises from its refined horizontal grid spacing and resolution of topography, which allows, in particular, a better representation of the restratifying effect by transient mesoscale eddies and of the overflows of dense waters along the continental slope.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2019-04-03
    Description: Horizontal transport at the boundaries of the subtropical gyres plays a crucial role in providing the nutrients that fuel gyre primary productivity, the heat that helps restratify the surface mixed layer, and the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) that influences air‐sea carbon exchange. Mesoscale eddies may be an important component of these horizontal transports; however, previous studies have not quantified the horizontal tracer transport due to eddies across the subtropical gyre boundaries. Here we assess the physical mechanisms that control the horizontal transport of mass, heat, nutrients and carbon across the North Pacific and North Atlantic subtropical gyre boundaries using the eddy‐rich ocean component of a climate model (GFDL's CM2.6) coupled to a simple biogeochemical model (mini‐BLING). Our results suggest that horizontal transport across the gyre boundaries supplies a substantial amount of mass and tracers to the ventilated layer of both Northern Hemisphere subtropical gyres, with the Kuroshio and Gulf Stream acting as main exchange gateways. Mass, heat, and DIC supply is principally driven by the time‐mean circulation, whereas nutrient transport differs markedly from the other tracers, as nutrients are mainly supplied to both subtropical gyres by down‐gradient eddy mixing across gyre boundaries. A budget analysis further reveals that the horizontal nutrient transport, combining the roles of both mean and eddy components, is responsible for more than three quarters of the total nutrient supply into the subtropical gyres, surpassing a recent estimate based on a coarse resolution model and thus further highlighting the importance of horizontal nutrient transport.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2019-02-25
    Description: The interoceanic transfer of seawater between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic, ‘Agulhas leakage’, forms a choke point for the overturning circulation in the global ocean. Here, by combining output from a series of high-resolution ocean and climate models with in situ and satellite observations, we construct a time series of Agulhas leakage for the period 1870–2014. The time series demonstrates the impact of Southern Hemisphere westerlies on decadal timescales. Agulhas leakage shows a correlation with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation on multi-decadal timescales; the former leading by 15 years. This is relevant for climate in the North Atlantic
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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