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  • 1
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    AMS (American Meteorological Society)
    In:  Weather and Forecasting, 22 (3). pp. 480-500.
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: On 19 October 2000, Hurricane Michael merged with an approaching baroclinic trough over the western North Atlantic Ocean south of Nova Scotia. As the hurricane moved over cooler sea surface temperatures (SSTs; less than 25°C), it intensified to category-2 intensity on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale [maximum sustained wind speeds of 44 m s−1 (85 kt)] while tapping energy from the baroclinic environment. The large “hybrid” storm made landfall on the south coast of Newfoundland with maximum sustained winds of 39 m s−1 (75 kt) causing moderate damage to coastal communities east of landfall. Hurricane Michael presented significant challenges to weather forecasters. The fundamental issue was determining which of two cyclones (a newly formed baroclinic low south of Nova Scotia or the hurricane) would become the dominant circulation center during the early stages of the extratropical transition (ET) process. Second, it was difficult to predict the intensity of the storm at landfall owing to competing factors: 1) decreasing SSTs conducive to weakening and 2) the approaching negatively tilted upper-level trough, favoring intensification. Numerical hindcast simulations using the limited-area Mesoscale Compressible Community model with synthetic vortex insertion (cyclone bogus) prior to the ET of Hurricane Michael led to a more realistic evolution of wind and pressure compared to running the model without vortex insertion. Specifically, the mesoscale model correctly simulates the hurricane as the dominant circulation center early in the transition process, versus the baroclinic low to its north, which was the favored development in the runs not employing vortex insertion. A suite of experiments is conducted to establish the sensitivity of the ET to various initial conditions, lateral driving fields, domain sizes, and model parameters. The resulting storm tracks and intensities fall within the range of the operational guidance, lending support to the possibility of improving numerical forecasts using synthetic vortex insertion prior to ET in such a model.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: Ocean circulation models do not generally exhibit equatorial deep jets (EDJs), even though EDJs are a recognised feature of the observed ocean circulation along the equator and they are thought to be important for tracer transport along the equator and even equatorial climate. EDJs are nevertheless found in nonlinear primitive equation models with idealised box geometry. Here we analyse several such model runs. We note that the variability of the zonal velocity in the model is dominated by the gravest linear equatorial basin mode for a wide range of baroclinic vertical normal modes and that the EDJs in the model are dominated by energy contained in vertical modes between 10 and 20. The emergence of the EDJs is shown to involve the linear superposition of several such neighbouring basin modes. Furthermore, the phase of these basin modes is set at the start of the model run and, in the case of the reference experiment, the same basin modes can be found in a companion experiment in which the amplitude of the forcing has been reduced by a factor of 1000. We also argue that following the spin-up, energy must be transferred between different vertical modes. This is because the model simulations are dominated by downward phase propagation following the spin-up whereas our reconstructions imply episodes of upward and downward propagation. The transfer of energy between the vertical modes is associated with a decadal modulation of the EDJs.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: Recent evidence from mooring data in the equatorial Atlantic reveals that semi-annual and longer time scale ocean current variability is close to being resonant with equatorial basin modes. Here we show that intraseasonal variability, with time scales of 10's of days, provides the energy to maintain these resonant basin modes against dissipation. The mechanism is analogous to that by which storm systems in the atmosphere act to maintain the atmospheric jet stream. We demonstrate the mechanism using an idealised model set-up that exhibits equatorial deep jets. The results are supported by direct analysis of available mooring data from the equatorial Atlantic Ocean covering a depth range of several thousand meters. The analysis of the mooring data suggests that the same mechanism also helps maintain the seasonal variability.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: The parameterization of sub-grid scale processes is one of the key challenges towards improved numerical simulations of the atmospheric and oceanic circulation. Numerical weather prediction models as well as climate models would benefit from more sophisticated turbulence closures that allow for less spurious dissipation at the grid-scale and consequently higher and more realistic levels of eddy kinetic energy (EKE). Recent studies propose to use a hyperviscous closure in combination with an additional deterministic forcing term as a negative viscosity to represent backscatter of energy from unresolved scales. The sub-grid EKE is introduced as an additional prognostic variable that is fed by dissipation at the grid scale, and enables recycling of EKE via the backscatter term at larger scales. This parameterization was previously shown to work well in zonally re-entrant channel configurations. Here, a generalization in the form of a Rossby number-dependent scaling for the strength of the backscatter is introduced to represent the emergence of a forward energy-cascade in unbalanced flows near the boundaries. We apply the parameterization to a shallow water model of a double gyre basin and provide evidence for its general applicability. In terms of mean state and variability, a low resolution model is considerably improved towards a high resolution control run at low additional computational cost.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 5
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    Wiley | AGU (American Geological Union)
    In:  Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 124 (4). pp. 2374-2403.
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: The Bjerknes feedback is the dominant positive feedback in the equatorial ocean basins. To examine the seasonality, symmetry, and stationarity of the Pacific and Atlantic Bjerknes feedbacks we decompose them into three feedback elements that relate thermocline depth, sea surface temperature (SST), and western basin wind stress variability to each other. We partition feedback elements into composites associated with positive or negative anomalies. Using robust regression, we diagnose the strength of each composite. For the recent period 1993‐2012, composites of the Pacific Bjerknes feedback elements agree well with previous work. Positive composites are generally stronger than negative composites, and all feedback elements are weakest in late boreal spring. In the Atlantic, differences between positive and negative composites are less consistent across feedback elements. Specifically, wind variability seems to play a less important role in shaping atmosphere‐ocean coupling in the Atlantic when compared to the Pacific. However, a clear seasonality emerges: Feedback elements are generally strong in boreal summer and, for the negative composites, again in boreal winter. The Atlantic Bjerknes feedback is dominated by subsurface‐surface coupling. Applying our analysis to overlapping 25‐year periods for 1958‐2009 shows that the strengths of feedback elements in both ocean basins vary on decadal time scales. While the overall asymmetry of the Pacific Bjerknes feedback is robust, the strength and symmetry of Atlantic feedback elements vary considerably between decades. Our results indicate that the Atlantic Bjerknes feedback is non‐stationary on decadal time scales.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 6
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    Royal Meteorological Society | Wiley
    In:  Atmospheric Science Letters, 20 (5). e900.
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: Recent studies using reanalysis data and complex models suggest that the Tropics influence midlatitude blocking. Here, the influence of tropical precipitation anomalies is investigated further using a dry dynamical model driven by specified diabatic heating anomalies. The model uses a quasi‐realistic setup based on idealized orography and an idealized representation of the land‐ocean thermal contrast. Results concerning the El Niño Southern Oscillation and the Madden‐Julian Oscillation are mostly consistent with previous studies and emphasize the importance of tropical dynamics for driving the variability of blocking at midlatitudes. It is also shown that a common bias in models of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), namely, excessive tropical precipitation, leads to an underestimation of midlatitude blocking in our model, also a common bias in the CMIP5 models. The strongest blocking anomalies associated with the tropical precipitation bias are found over Europe, where the underestimation of blocking in CMIP5 models is also particularly strong.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 7
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    AMS (American Meteorological Society)
    In:  Journal of Climate, 30 (2). pp. 509-525.
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: By performing two sets of high-resolution atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) experiments, we find that the atmospheric response to a sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly in the extratropical North Pacific is sensitive to decadal variations of the background SST on which the SST anomaly is superimposed. The response in the first set of experiments, in which the SST anomaly is superimposed on the observed daily SST of 1981-1990, strongly differs from the response in the second experiment, in which the same SST anomaly is superimposed on the observed daily SST of 1991-2000. The atmospheric response over the North Pacific during 1981-1990 is eddy-mediated, equivalent barotropic and concentrated in the east. In contrast, the atmospheric response during 1991-2000 is weaker and strongest in the west. The results are discussed in terms of Rossby wave dynamics, with the proposed primary wave source switching from baroclinic eddy vorticity forcing over the eastern North Pacific in 1981-1990 to mean flow divergence over the western North Pacific in 1991-2000. The wave source changes are linked to the decadal reduction of daily SST variability over the eastern North Pacific and strengthening of the Oyashio Extension front over the western North Pacific. Thus, both daily and frontal aspects of the background SST variability in determining the atmospheric response to extratropical North Pacific SST anomalies are emphasized by our AGCM experiments.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: Low prediction skill in the tropical Pacific is a common problem in decadal prediction systems, especially for lead years 2–5 which, in many systems, is lower than in uninitialized experiments. On the other hand, the tropical Pacific is of almost worldwide climate relevance through its teleconnections with other tropical and extratropical regions and also of importance for global mean temperature. Understanding the causes of the reduced prediction skill is thus of major interest for decadal climate predictions. We look into the problem of reduced prediction skill by analyzing the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model (MPI-ESM) decadal hindcasts for the fifth phase of the Climate Model Intercomparison Project and performing a sensitivity experiment in which hindcasts are initialized from a model run forced only by surface wind stress. In both systems, sea surface temperature variability in the tropical Pacific is successfully initialized, but most skill is lost at lead years 2–5. Utilizing the sensitivity experiment enables us to pin down the reason for the reduced prediction skill in MPI-ESM to errors in wind stress used for the initialization. A spurious trend in the wind stress forcing displaces the equatorial thermocline in MPI-ESM unrealistically. When the climate model is then switched into its forecast mode, the recovery process triggers artificial El Niño and La Niña events at the surface. Our results demonstrate the importance of realistic wind stress products for the initialization of decadal predictions
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  • 9
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    AGU (American Geological Union) | Wiley
    In:  Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 122 (1). pp. 602-616.
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: A multi-mode, linear reduced-gravity model, driven by ERA-Interim monthly mean wind stress anomalies, is used to investigate interannual variability in tropical Pacific sea level as seen in satellite altimeter data. The model output is fitted to the altimeter data along the equator, in order to derive the vertical profile for the model forcing, showing that a signature from modes higher than mode six cannot be extracted from the altimeter data. It is shown that the model has considerable skill at capturing interannual sea level variability both on and off the equator. The correlation between modelled and satellite-derived sea level data exceeds 0.8 over a wide range of longitudes along the equator and readily captures the observed ENSO events. Overall, the combination of the first, second, third and fifth modes can provide a robust estimate of the interannual sea level variability, the second mode being dominant. A remarkable feature of both the model and the altimeter data is the presence of a pivot point in the western Pacific on the equator. We show that the westward displacement of the pivot point from the centre of the basin is strongly influenced by the fact that most of the wind stress variance is found in the western part of the basin. We also show that the Sverdrup transport is not fundamental to the dynamics of the recharge/discharge mechanism in our model, although the spatial structure of the wind forcing does play a role in setting the amplitude of the “warm water volume”.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: For mid-latitude Rossby waves (RWs) in the atmosphere, the expression for the energy flux for use in a model diagnosis, and without relying on a Fourier analysis or a ray theory, has previously been derived using quasi-geostrophic equations and is singular at the equator. By investigating the analytical solution of both equatorial and mid-latitude waves, the authors derive an exact universal expression for the energy flux which is able to indicate the direction of the group velocity at all latitudes for linear shallow water waves. This is achieved by introducing a streamfunction as given by the inversion equation of Ertel’s potential vorticity, a novel aspect for considering the energy flux. For ease of diagnosis from a model, an approximate version of the universal expression is explored and illustrated for a forced/dissipative equatorial basin mode simulated by a single-layer oceanic model that includes both mid-latitude RWs and equatorial waves. Equatorial Kelvin Waves (KWs) propagate eastward along the equator, are partially redirected poleward as coastal KWs at the eastern boundary of the basin, and then shed mid-latitude RWs that propagate westward into the basin interior. The connection of the equatorial and coastal waveguides has been successfully illustrated by the approximate expression of the group-velocity-based energy flux of the present study. This will allow for tropical-extratropical interactions in oceanic and atmospheric model outputs to be diagnosed in terms of an energy cycle in a future study.
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