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  • 1
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    AGU
    In:  Geophysical Research Letters, 43 . pp. 4517-4523.
    Publication Date: 2019-02-26
    Description: The response of eddy kinetic energy (EKE) to the strengthening of Southern Hemisphere winds occurring since the 1950s is investigated with a global ocean model having a resolution of 1/12° in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current domain. The simulations expose regional differences in the relative importance of stochastic and wind-related contributions to inter-annual EKE changes. In the Pacific and Indian sectors the model captures the EKE variability observed since 1993 and confirms previous hypotheses of a lagged response to regional wind stress anomalies. Here, the multi-decadal trend in wind stress is reflected in an increase in EKE typically exceeding 5 cm2 sec-2 decade-1. In the western Atlantic EKE variability is mostly stochastic, is weakly correlated with wind fluctuations, and its multi-decadal trends are close to zero. The non-uniform distribution of wind-related changes in the eddy activity could affect the regional patterns of ocean circulation and biogeochemical responses to future climate change.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-02-25
    Description: A global ocean model with 1/12∘ horizontal resolution is used to assess the seasonal cycle of surface Eddy Kinetic Energy (EKE). The model reproduces the salient features of the observed mean surface EKE, including amplitude and phase of its seasonal cycle in most parts of the ocean. In all subtropical gyres of the Pacific and Atlantic, EKE peaks in summer down to a depth of ∼350 m, below which the seasonal cycle is weak. Investigation of the possible driving mechanisms reveals the seasonal changes in the thermal interactions with the atmosphere to be the most likely cause of the summer maximum of EKE. The development of the seasonal thermocline in spring and summer is accompanied by stronger mesoscale variations in the horizontal temperature gradients near the surface which corresponds, by thermal wind balance, to an intensification of mesoscale velocity anomalies towards the surface.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-02-25
    Description: The North Brazil Current (NBC) constitutes a bottleneck for the mean northward return flow of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) in the tropical South Atlantic. Previous studies suggested a link between interannual to multidecadal NBC and AMOC transport variability and proposed to use NBC observations as an index for the AMOC. Here we use a set of hindcast, sensitivity, and perturbation experiments performed within a hierarchy of ocean general circulation models to show that decadal to multidecadal buoyancy-forced changes in the basin-scale AMOC transport indeed manifest themselves in the NBC. The relation is, however, masked by a strong interannual to decadal wind-driven gyre variability of the NBC. While questioning the NBC transport as a direct index for the AMOC, the results support its potential merit for an AMOC monitoring system, provided that the wind-driven circulation variability is properly accounted for.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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