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  • Meridional overturning circulation  (21)
  • American Meteorological Society  (21)
  • MDPI Publishing
  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-08-29
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2019. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 32(13), (2019): 3883-3898, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0735.1.
    Description: While it has generally been understood that the production of Labrador Sea Water (LSW) impacts the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC), this relationship has not been explored extensively or validated against observations. To explore this relationship, a suite of global ocean–sea ice models forced by the same interannually varying atmospheric dataset, varying in resolution from non-eddy-permitting to eddy-permitting (1°–1/4°), is analyzed to investigate the local and downstream relationships between LSW formation and the MOC on interannual to decadal time scales. While all models display a strong relationship between changes in the LSW volume and the MOC in the Labrador Sea, this relationship degrades considerably downstream of the Labrador Sea. In particular, there is no consistent pattern among the models in the North Atlantic subtropical basin over interannual to decadal time scales. Furthermore, the strong response of the MOC in the Labrador Sea to LSW volume changes in that basin may be biased by the overproduction of LSW in many models compared to observations. This analysis shows that changes in LSW volume in the Labrador Sea cannot be clearly and consistently linked to a coherent MOC response across latitudes over interannual to decadal time scales in ocean hindcast simulations of the last half century. Similarly, no coherent relationships are identified between the MOC and the Labrador Sea mixed layer depth or the density of newly formed LSW across latitudes or across models over interannual to decadal time scales.
    Description: FL and MSL are thankful for the financial support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Physical Oceanography Program (NSF-OCE-12-59102, NSF-OCE-12-59103). The NCAR contribution was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Program Office (CPO) under Climate Variability and Predictability Program (CVP) Grant NA13OAR4310138 and by the NSF Collaborative Research EaSM2 Grant OCE-1243015. NCAR is sponsored by the NSF. NPH is supported by NERC programs U.K. OSNAP (NE/K010875) and ACSIS (National Capability, NE/N018044/1). Y-OK is supported by NOAA CPO CVP (NA17OAR4310111) and NSF EaSM2 grant (OCE-1242989). AR is supported by NASA-ROSES Modeling, Analysis and Prediction 2016 NNX16AC93G-MAP. RZ is supported by NOAA/OAR. Argo data were collected and made freely available by the International Argo Program and the national programs that contribute to it (http://www.argo.ucsd.edu, http://argo.jcommops.org). The Argo Program is part of the Global Ocean Observing System (http://doi.org/10.17882/42182). Data from the RAPID-MOCHA-WBTS array funded by NERC, NSF and NOAA are freely available from www.rapid.ac.uk/rapidmoc. We thank Stephen Griffies for providing access to the GFDL-MOM025 COREII simulation output and Matthew Harrison and Xiaoqin Yan for their comments on the manuscript. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.
    Description: 2020-06-11
    Keywords: North Atlantic Ocean ; Deep convection ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Model comparison
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-08-30
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2019. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 49(7), (2019): 1889-1904, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-19-0053.1.
    Description: A high-resolution numerical model, together with in situ and satellite observations, is used to explore the nature and dynamics of the dominant high-frequency (from one day to one week) variability in Denmark Strait. Mooring measurements in the center of the strait reveal that warm water “flooding events” occur, whereby the North Icelandic Irminger Current (NIIC) propagates offshore and advects subtropical-origin water northward through the deepest part of the sill. Two other types of mesoscale processes in Denmark Strait have been described previously in the literature, known as “boluses” and “pulses,” associated with a raising and lowering of the overflow water interface. Our measurements reveal that flooding events occur in conjunction with especially pronounced pulses. The model indicates that the NIIC hydrographic front is maintained by a balance between frontogenesis by the large-scale flow and frontolysis by baroclinic instability. Specifically, the temperature and salinity tendency equations demonstrate that the eddies act to relax the front, while the mean flow acts to sharpen it. Furthermore, the model reveals that the two dense water processes—boluses and pulses (and hence flooding events)—are dynamically related to each other and tied to the meandering of the hydrographic front in the strait. Our study thus provides a general framework for interpreting the short-time-scale variability of Denmark Strait Overflow Water entering the Irminger Sea.
    Description: MAS was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grants OCE-1558742 and OCE-1534618. RSP, PL, and DM were supported by NSF under Grants OCE-1558742 and OCE-1259618. WJvA was supported by the Helmholtz Infrastructure Initiative FRAM. TWNH and MA were supported by NSF under Grants OCE-1633124 and OCE-118123.
    Description: 2020-07-01
    Keywords: Baroclinic flows ; Frontogenesis/frontolysis ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Ocean dynamics ; Topographic effects
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-10-12
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018): 573-590, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0206.1.
    Description: Motivated by the proximity of the Northern Recirculation Gyre and the deep western boundary current in the North Atlantic, an idealized model is used to investigate how recirculation gyres and a deep flow along a topographic slope interact. In this two-layer quasigeostrophic model, an unstable jet imposed in the upper layer generates barotropic recirculation gyres. These are maintained by an eddy-mean balance of potential vorticity (PV) in steady state. The authors show that the topographic slope can constrain the northern recirculation gyre meridionally and that the gyre’s adjustment to the slope leads to increased eddy PV fluxes at the base of the slope. When a deep current is present along the topographic slope in the lower layer, these eddy PV fluxes stir the deep current and recirculation gyre waters. Increased proximity to the slope dampens the eddy growth rate within the unstable jet, altering the geometry of recirculation gyre forcing and leading to a decrease in overall eddy PV fluxes. These mechanisms may shape the circulation in the western North Atlantic, with potential feedbacks on the climate system.
    Description: We gratefully acknowledge an AMS graduate fellowship (IALB) and U.S. National Science Foundation Grants OCE-1332667 and 1332834 (IALB and JMT).
    Description: 2018-09-06
    Keywords: Boundary currents ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Mesoscale processes ; Ocean circulation ; Potential vorticity ; Quasigeostrophic models
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  • 4
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2019-02-15
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018): 1831-1848, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-18-0068.1.
    Description: We present a simplified theory using reduced-gravity equations for North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) and its variation driven by high-latitude deep-water formation. The theory approximates layer thickness on the eastern boundary with domain-averaged layer thickness and, in tandem with a mass conservation argument, retains fundamental physics for cross-equatorial flows on interannual and longer forcing time scales. Layer thickness anomalies are driven by a time-dependent northern boundary condition that imposes a southward volume flux representative of a variable source of NADW and damped by diapycnal mixing throughout the basin. Moreover, an outflowing southern boundary condition imposes a southward volume flux that generally differs from the volume flux at the northern boundary, giving rise to temporal storage of NADW within the Atlantic basin. Closed form analytic solutions for the amplitude and phase are provided when the variable source of NADW is sinusoidal. We provide a nondimensional analysis that demonstrates that solution behavior is primarily controlled by two parameters that characterize the meridional extent of the southern basin and the width of the basin relative to the equatorial deformation radius. Similar scaling applied to the time-lagged equations of Johnson and Marshall provides a clear connection to their results. Numerical simulations of reduced-gravity equations agree with analytic predictions in linear, turbulent, and diabatic regimes. The theory introduces a simple analytic framework for studying idealized buoyancy- and wind-driven cross-equatorial flows on interannual and longer time scales.
    Description: This research was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant OCE- 1634468.
    Description: 2019-02-15
    Keywords: North Atlantic Ocean ; Tropics ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Ocean circulation ; Shallow-water equations
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2019-02-08
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 31 (2018): 7565-7581, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0108.1.
    Description: There is mounting evidence that the width of the tropics has increased over the last few decades, but there are large differences in reported expansion rates. This is, likely, in part due to the wide variety of metrics that have been used to define the tropical width. Here we perform a systematic investigation into the relationship among nine metrics of the zonal-mean tropical width using preindustrial control and abrupt quadrupling of CO2 simulations from a suite of coupled climate models. It is shown that the latitudes of the edge of the Hadley cell, the midlatitude eddy-driven jet, the edge of the subtropical dry zones, and the Southern Hemisphere subtropical high covary interannually and exhibit similar long-term responses to a quadrupling of CO2. However, metrics based on the outgoing longwave radiation, the position of the subtropical jet, the break in the tropopause, and the Northern Hemisphere subtropical high have very weak covariations with the above metrics and/or respond differently to increases in CO2 and thus are not good indicators of the expansion of the Hadley cell or subtropical dry zone. The differing variability and responses to increases in CO2 among metrics highlights that care is needed when choosing metrics for studies of the width of the tropics and that it is important to make sure the metric used is appropriate for the specific phenomena and impacts being examined.
    Description: DW acknowledges support from NSF AGS-1403676.
    Description: 2019-02-08
    Keywords: Hadley circulation ; Hydrologic cycle ; Meridional overturning circulation
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  • 6
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2018-04-17
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 47 (2017): 2531-2543, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0051.1.
    Description: Argo floats are used to investigate Labrador Sea overturning and its variability on seasonal time scales. This is the first application of Argo floats to estimate overturning in a deep-water formation region in the North Atlantic. Unlike hydrographic measurements, which are typically confined to the summer season, floats offer the advantage of collecting data in all seasons. Seasonal composite potential density and absolute geostrophic velocity sections across the mouth of the Labrador Sea assembled from float profiles and trajectories at 1000 m are used to calculate the horizontal and overturning circulations. The overturning exhibits a pronounced seasonal cycle; in depth space the overturning doubles throughout the course of the year, and in density space it triples. The largest overturning [1.2 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) in depth space and 3.9 Sv in density space] occurs in spring and corresponds to the outflow of recently formed Labrador Sea Water. The overturning decreases through summer and reaches a minimum in winter (0.6 Sv in depth space and 1.2 Sv in density space). The robustness of the Argo seasonal overturning is supported by a comparison to an overturning estimate based on hydrographic data from the AR7W line.
    Description: NSF OCE-1459474 supported this work.
    Description: 2018-04-17
    Keywords: North Atlantic Ocean ; Meridional overturning circulation ; In situ oceanic observations ; Seasonal cycle
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 27 (2014): 9359–9376, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00228.1.
    Description: Multidecadal variability of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is examined based on a comparison of the AMOC streamfunctions in depth and in density space, in a 700-yr present-day control integration of the fully coupled Community Climate System Model, version 3. The commonly used depth-coordinate AMOC primarily exhibits the variability associated with the deep equatorward transport that follows the changes in the Labrador Sea deep water formation. On the other hand, the density-based AMOC emphasizes the variability associated with the subpolar gyre circulation in the upper ocean leading to the changes in the Labrador Sea convection. Combining the two representations indicates that the ~20-yr periodicity of the AMOC variability in the first half of the simulation is primarily due to an ocean-only mode resulting from the coupling of the deep equatorward flow and the upper ocean gyre circulation near the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Current. In addition, the density-based AMOC reveals a gradual change in the deep ocean associated with cooling and increased density, which is likely responsible for the transition of AMOC variability from strong ~20-yr oscillations to a weaker red noise–like multidecadal variability.
    Description: Support from the NOAA Climate Program Office (Grant NA10OAR4310202 and NA13OAR4310139) and NSF EaSM2 (OCE1242989) is gratefully acknowledged.
    Description: 2015-06-15
    Keywords: North Atlantic Ocean ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Ocean circulation ; Thermocline circulation ; Climate variability ; Multidecadal variability
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  • 8
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2016-05-01
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2015. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 45 (2015): 2820–2835, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-15-0101.1.
    Description: The response of a convective ocean basin to variations in atmospheric temperature is explored using numerical models and theory. The results indicate that the general behavior depends strongly on the frequency at which the atmosphere changes relative to the local response time to air–sea heat flux. For high-frequency forcing, the convective region in the basin interior is essentially one-dimensional and responds to the integrated local surface heat flux anomalies. For low-frequency forcing, eddy fluxes from the boundary current into the basin interior become important and act to suppress variability forced by the atmosphere. A theory is developed to quantify this time-dependent response and its influence on various oceanic quantities. The amplitude and phase of the temperature and salinity of the convective water mass, the meridional overturning circulation, the meridional heat flux, and the air–sea heat flux predicted by the theory compare well with that diagnosed from a series of numerical model calculations in both strongly eddying and weakly eddying regimes. Linearized analytic solutions provide direct estimates of each of these quantities and demonstrate their dependence on the nondimensional numbers that characterize the domain and atmospheric forcing. These results highlight the importance of mesoscale eddies in modulating the mean and time-dependent ocean response to atmospheric variability and provide a dynamical framework with which to connect ocean observations with changes in the atmosphere and surface heat flux.
    Description: This study was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant OCE-1232389.
    Description: 2016-05-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Atmosphere-ocean interaction ; Deep convection ; Eddies ; Meridional overturning circulation
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 44 (2014): 3033–3053, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-13-0227.1.
    Description: The East Greenland Current (EGC) had long been considered the main pathway for the Denmark Strait overflow (DSO). Recent observations, however, indicate that the north Icelandic jet (NIJ), which flows westward along the north coast of Iceland, is a major separate pathway for the DSO. In this study a two-layer numerical model and complementary integral constraints are used to examine various pathways that lead to the DSO and to explore plausible mechanisms for the NIJ’s existence. In these simulations, a westward and NIJ-like current emerges as a robust feature and a main pathway for the Denmark Strait overflow. Its existence can be explained through circulation integrals around advantageous contours. One such constraint spells out the consequences of overflow water as a source of low potential vorticity. A stronger constraint can be added when the outflow occurs through two outlets: it takes the form of a circulation integral around the Iceland–Faroe Ridge. In either case, the direction of overall circulation about the contour can be deduced from the required frictional torques. Some effects of wind stress forcing are also examined. The overall positive curl of the wind forces cyclonic gyres in both layers, enhancing the East Greenland Current. The wind stress forcing weakens but does not eliminate the NIJ. It also modifies the sign of the deep circulation in various subbasins and alters the path by which overflow water is brought to the Faroe Bank Channel, all in ways that bring the idealized model more in line with observations. The sequence of numerical experiments separates the effects of wind and buoyancy forcing and shows how each is important.
    Description: This study has been supported by National Science Foundation (OCE0927017 and ARC1107412).
    Description: 2015-06-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Boundary currents ; Channel flows ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Ocean circulation ; Topographic effects
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2015. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 28 (2015): 7659–7677, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0007.1.
    Description: Maximum covariance analysis of a preindustrial control simulation of the NCAR Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4), shows that a barotropic signal in winter broadly resembling a negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) follows an intensification of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) by about 7 yr. The delay is due to the cyclonic propagation along the North Atlantic Current (NAC) and the subpolar gyre of a SST warming linked to a northward shift and intensification of the NAC, together with an increasing SST cooling linked to increasing southward advection of subpolar water along the western boundary and a southward shift of the Gulf Stream (GS). These changes result in a meridional SST dipole, which follows the AMOC intensification after 6 or 7 yr. The SST changes were initiated by the strengthening of the western subpolar gyre and by bottom torque at the crossover of the deep branches of the AMOC with the NAC on the western flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the GS near the Tail of the Grand Banks, respectively. The heat flux damping of the SST dipole shifts the region of maximum atmospheric transient eddy growth southward, leading to a negative NAO-like response. No significant atmospheric response is found to the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO), which is broadly realistic but shifted south and associated with a much weaker meridional SST gradient than the AMOC fingerprint. Nonetheless, the wintertime atmospheric response to the AMOC shows some similarity with the observed response to the AMO, suggesting that the ocean–atmosphere interactions are broadly realistic in CCSM4.
    Description: Support from the NOAA Climate Program Office (NA10OAR4310202 and NA13OAR4310139), NSF EaSM2 (OCE 1242989) and the European Community 7th framework programme (FP7 2007-2013) under Grant Agreement 308299 (NACLIM) is gratefully acknowledged. The analysis benefited from the IPSL Prodiguer-Ciclad facility, which is supported by CNRS, UPMC, Labex L-IPSL funded by the ANR (Grant ANR-10-LABX-0018) and by the European FP7 IS-ENES2 project (Grant 312979).
    Description: 2016-04-01
    Keywords: Meridional overturning circulation ; North Atlantic Oscillation ; Climate models ; Climate variability
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  • 11
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 27 (2014): 3596–3618, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00070.1.
    Description: Estimates of the recent mean and time varying water mass transformation rates associated with North Atlantic surface-forced overturning are presented. The estimates are derived from heat and freshwater surface fluxes and sea surface temperature fields from six atmospheric reanalyses—the Japanese 25-yr Reanalysis (JRA), the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis (NCEP1), the NCEP–U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reanalysis (NCEP2), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Interim Re-Analysis (ERA-I), the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR), and the Modern-Era Reanalysis for Research and Applications (MERRA)—together with sea surface salinity fields from two globally gridded datasets (World Ocean Atlas and Met Office EN3 datasets). The resulting 12 estimates of the 1979–2007 mean surface-forced streamfunction all depict a subpolar cell, with maxima north of 45°N, near σ = 27.5 kg m−3, and a subtropical cell between 20° and 40°N, near σ = 26.1 kg m−3. The mean magnitude of the subpolar cell varies between 12 and 18 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1), consistent with estimates of the overturning circulation from subsurface observations. Analysis of the thermal and haline components of the surface density fluxes indicates that large differences in the inferred low-latitude circulation are largely a result of the biases in reanalysis net heat flux fields, which range in the global mean from −13 to 19 W m−2. The different estimates of temporal variability in the subpolar cell are well correlated with each other. This suggests that the uncertainty associated with the choice of reanalysis product does not critically limit the ability of the method to infer the variability in the subpolar overturning. In contrast, the different estimates of subtropical variability are poorly correlated with each other, and only a subset of them captures a significant fraction of the variability in independently estimated North Atlantic Subtropical Mode Water volume.
    Description: JPG is funded by UK Natural Environment Research Council New Investigator Grant NE/I001654/1. Y-OK was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation under Grant OCE-0424492. RJB is supported by a fellowship from the UK National Centre for Earth Observation.
    Description: 2014-11-15
    Keywords: Atmosphere-ocean interaction ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Ocean circulation
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  • 12
    Publication Date: 2017-01-07
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 44 (2014): 229–245, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-12-0218.1.
    Description: Data from a mooring deployed at the edge of the East Greenland shelf south of Denmark Strait from September 2007 to October 2008 are analyzed to investigate the processes by which dense water is transferred off the shelf. It is found that water denser than 27.7 kg m−3—as dense as water previously attributed to the adjacent East Greenland Spill Jet—resides near the bottom of the shelf for most of the year with no discernible seasonality. The mean velocity in the central part of the water column is directed along the isobaths, while the deep flow is bottom intensified and veers offshore. Two mechanisms for driving dense spilling events are investigated, one due to offshore forcing and the other associated with wind forcing. Denmark Strait cyclones propagating southward along the continental slope are shown to drive off-shelf flow at their leading edges and are responsible for much of the triggering of individual spilling events. Northerly barrier winds also force spilling. Local winds generate an Ekman downwelling cell. Nonlocal winds also excite spilling, which is hypothesized to be the result of southward-propagating coastally trapped waves, although definitive confirmation is still required. The combined effect of the eddies and barrier winds results in the strongest spilling events, while in the absence of winds a train of eddies causes enhanced spilling.
    Description: The authors wish to thank Paula Fratantoni, Frank Bahr, and Dan Torres for processing the mooring data. The mooring array was capably deployed by the crew of the R/V Arni Fridriksson and recovered by the crew of the R/V Knorr. We thank Hedinn Valdimarsson for his assistance in the field work. Ken Brink provided valuable insights regarding the dynamics of shelf waves. Funding for the study was provided by National Science Foundation Grant OCE-0722694, the Arctic Research Initiative of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. We also wish to thank the Natural Environment Research Council for Ph.D. studentship funding, and the University of East Anglia’s Roberts Fund and Royal Meteorological Society for supporting travel for collaboration.
    Description: 2014-07-01
    Keywords: Geographic location/entity ; Continental shelf/slope ; Circulation/ Dynamics ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Upwelling/downwelling ; Atm/Ocean Structure/ Phenomena ; Eddies ; Extreme events ; Physical Meteorology and Climatology ; Air-sea interaction
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  • 13
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2013. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 43 (2013): 744–765, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-12-067.1.
    Description: This study investigates the coherence between ocean bottom pressure signals at the Rapid Climate Change programme (RAPID) West Atlantic Variability Experiment (WAVE) array on the western North Atlantic continental slope, including the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Line W. Highly coherent pressure signals propagate southwestward along the slope, at speeds in excess of 128 m s−1, consistent with expectations of barotropic Kelvin-like waves. Coherent signals are also evidenced in the smaller pressure differences relative to 1000-m depth, which are expected to be associated with depth-dependent basinwide meridional transport variations or an overturning circulation. These signals are coherent and almost in phase for all time scales from 3.6 years down to 3 months. Coherence is still seen at shorter time scales for which group delay estimates are consistent with a propagation speed of about 1 m s−1 over 990 km of continental slope but with large error bounds on the speed. This is roughly consistent with expectations for propagation of coastally trapped waves, though somewhat slower than expected. A comparison with both Eulerian currents and Lagrangian float measurements shows that the coherence is inconsistent with a propagation of signals by advection, except possibly on time scales longer than 6 months.
    Description: This work was funded by the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council. Sofia Olhede was supported by EPSRC Grant EP/I005250/1. Initial observations at StationW(2001–04) were made possible by a grant from the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation and support from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Since 2004, the Line W program has been supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation with supplemental contribution from WHOIs Ocean and Climate Change Institute.
    Description: 2013-10-01
    Keywords: Atlantic Ocean ; Boundary currents ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Pressure ; Waves, oceanic ; In situ oceanic observations
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  • 14
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2013. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 43 (2013): 418–431, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-12-087.1.
    Description: The overflow of the dense water mass across the Greenland–Scotland Ridge (GSR) from the Nordic Seas drives the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). The Nordic Seas is a large basin with an enormous reservoir capacity. The volume of the dense water above the GSR sill depth in the Nordic Seas, according to previous estimates, is sufficient to supply decades of overflow transport. This large capacity buffers overflow’s responses to atmospheric variations and prevents an abrupt shutdown of the AMOC. In this study, the authors use a numerical and an analytical model to show that the effective reservoir capacity of the Nordic Seas is actually much smaller than what was estimated previously. Basin-scale oceanic circulation is nearly geostrophic and its streamlines are basically the same as the isobaths. The vast majority of the dense water is stored inside closed geostrophic contours in the deep basin and thus is not freely available to the overflow. The positive wind stress curl in the Nordic Seas forces a convergence of the dense water toward the deep basin and makes the interior water even more removed from the overflow-feeding boundary current. Eddies generated by the baroclinic instability help transport the interior water mass to the boundary current. But in absence of a robust renewal of deep water, the boundary current weakens rapidly and the eddy-generating mechanism becomes less effective. This study indicates that the Nordic Seas has a relatively small capacity as a dense water reservoir and thus the overflow transport is sensitive to climate changes.
    Description: This study has been supported by National Science Foundation (OCE0927017,ARC1107412).
    Description: 2013-08-01
    Keywords: Bottom currents ; Drainage flow ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Ocean dynamics ; Potential vorticity ; Topographic effects
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2012. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 25 (2012): 5153–5172, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00463.1.
    Description: Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) variability is documented in the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) preindustrial control simulation that uses nominal 1° horizontal resolution in all its components. AMOC shows a broad spectrum of low-frequency variability covering the 50–200-yr range, contrasting sharply with the multidecadal variability seen in the T85 × 1 resolution CCSM3 present-day control simulation. Furthermore, the amplitude of variability is much reduced in CCSM4 compared to that of CCSM3. Similarities as well as differences in AMOC variability mechanisms between CCSM3 and CCSM4 are discussed. As in CCSM3, the CCSM4 AMOC variability is primarily driven by the positive density anomalies at the Labrador Sea (LS) deep-water formation site, peaking 2 yr prior to an AMOC maximum. All processes, including parameterized mesoscale and submesoscale eddies, play a role in the creation of salinity anomalies that dominate these density anomalies. High Nordic Sea densities do not necessarily lead to increased overflow transports because the overflow physics is governed by source and interior region density differences. Increased overflow transports do not lead to a higher AMOC either but instead appear to be a precursor to lower AMOC transports through enhanced stratification in LS. This has important implications for decadal prediction studies. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is significantly correlated with the positive boundary layer depth and density anomalies prior to an AMOC maximum. This suggests a role for NAO through setting the surface flux anomalies in LS and affecting the subpolar gyre circulation strength.
    Description: The CCSM project is supported by NSF and the Office of Science (BER) of the U.S. Department of Energy. SGY and YOK were supported by the NOAA Climate Program Office under Climate Variability and Predictability Program Grants NA09OAR4310163 and NA10OAR4310202, respectively.
    Description: 2013-02-01
    Keywords: Meridional overturning circulation ; Coupled models ; Ocean models ; Oceanic variability
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 16
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2012. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 42 (2012): 1684–1700, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-11-0230.1.
    Description: The influences of precipitation on water mass transformation and the strength of the meridional overturning circulation in marginal seas are studied using theoretical and idealized numerical models. Nondimensional equations are developed for the temperature and salinity anomalies of deep convective water masses, making explicit their dependence on both geometric parameters such as basin area, sill depth, and latitude, as well as on the strength of atmospheric forcing. In addition to the properties of the convective water, the theory also predicts the magnitude of precipitation required to shut down deep convection and switch the circulation into the haline mode. High-resolution numerical model calculations compare well with the theory for the properties of the convective water mass, the strength of the meridional overturning circulation, and also the shutdown of deep convection. However, the numerical model also shows that, for precipitation levels that exceed this critical threshold, the circulation retains downwelling and northward heat transport, even in the absence of deep convection.
    Description: This study was supported by the National Science Foundation underGrantsOCE-0850416, OCE-0959381, andOCE-0859381.
    Description: 2013-04-01
    Keywords: Boundary currents ; Deep convection ; Eddies ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Ocean dynamics ; Stability
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 17
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2011. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 24 (2011): 4844–4858, doi:10.1175/2011JCLI4130.1.
    Description: The factors that determine the heat transport and overturning circulation in marginal seas subject to wind forcing and heat loss to the atmosphere are explored using a combination of a high-resolution ocean circulation model and a simple conceptual model. The study is motivated by the exchange between the subpolar North Atlantic Ocean and the Nordic Seas, a region that is of central importance to the oceanic thermohaline circulation. It is shown that mesoscale eddies formed in the marginal sea play a major role in determining the mean meridional heat transport and meridional overturning circulation across the sill. The balance between the oceanic eddy heat flux and atmospheric cooling, as characterized by a nondimensional number, is shown to be the primary factor in determining the properties of the exchange. Results from a series of eddy-resolving primitive equation model calculations for the meridional heat transport, overturning circulation, density of convective waters, and density of exported waters compare well with predictions from the conceptual model over a wide range of parameter space. Scaling and model results indicate that wind effects are small and the mean exchange is primarily buoyancy forced. These results imply that one must accurately resolve or parameterize eddy fluxes in order to properly represent the mean exchange between the North Atlantic and the Nordic Seas, and thus between the Nordic Seas and the atmosphere, in climate models.
    Description: This study was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants OCE-0726339 and OCE-0850416.
    Keywords: Eddies ; Forcing ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Transport ; North Atlantic Ocean ; Seas/gulfs/bays
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 18
    Publication Date: 2017-01-07
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2011. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 24 (2011): 4973–4991, doi:10.1175/2011JCLI4083.1.
    Description: The fourth version of the Community Climate System Model (CCSM4) was recently completed and released to the climate community. This paper describes developments to all CCSM components, and documents fully coupled preindustrial control runs compared to the previous version, CCSM3. Using the standard atmosphere and land resolution of 1° results in the sea surface temperature biases in the major upwelling regions being comparable to the 1.4°-resolution CCSM3. Two changes to the deep convection scheme in the atmosphere component result in CCSM4 producing El Niño–Southern Oscillation variability with a much more realistic frequency distribution than in CCSM3, although the amplitude is too large compared to observations. These changes also improve the Madden–Julian oscillation and the frequency distribution of tropical precipitation. A new overflow parameterization in the ocean component leads to an improved simulation of the Gulf Stream path and the North Atlantic Ocean meridional overturning circulation. Changes to the CCSM4 land component lead to a much improved annual cycle of water storage, especially in the tropics. The CCSM4 sea ice component uses much more realistic albedos than CCSM3, and for several reasons the Arctic sea ice concentration is improved in CCSM4. An ensemble of twentieth-century simulations produces a good match to the observed September Arctic sea ice extent from 1979 to 2005. The CCSM4 ensemble mean increase in globally averaged surface temperature between 1850 and 2005 is larger than the observed increase by about 0.4°C. This is consistent with the fact that CCSM4 does not include a representation of the indirect effects of aerosols, although other factors may come into play. The CCSM4 still has significant biases, such as the mean precipitation distribution in the tropical Pacific Ocean, too much low cloud in the Arctic, and the latitudinal distributions of shortwave and longwave cloud forcings.
    Description: National Science Foundation, which sponsors NCAR and the CCSM Project. The project is also sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Thanks are also due to the many other software engineers and scientists who worked on developing CCSM4, and to the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory at NCAR, which provided the computing resources through the Climate Simulation Laboratory. Hunke was supported within theClimate, Ocean and Sea Ice Modeling project at Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is funded by the Biological and Environmental Research division of the DOE Office of Science. The Los Alamos National Laboratory is operated by theDOENationalNuclear Security Administration under Contract DE-AC52-06NA25396. Raschwas supported by theDOEOffice of Science, Earth System Modeling Program, which is part of the DOE Climate Change Research Program. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is operated forDOEbyBattelle Memorial Institute under Contract DE-AC06-76RLO 1830. Worley was supported by the Climate Change Research Division of the Office of Biological and Environmental Research and by the Office ofAdvanced Scientific Computing Research, both in the DOE Office of Science, under Contract DE-AC05-00OR22725 with UT-Batelle, LLC.
    Keywords: Climate models ; Madden–Julian oscillation ; Sea ice ; Model evaluation/performance ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Convection ; Tropics
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 19
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2011. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 41 (2011): 911–925, doi:10.1175/2011JPO4498.1.
    Description: Motivated by discrepancies between Eulerian transport estimates and the behavior of Lagrangian surface drifters, near-surface transport pathways and processes in the North Atlantic are studied using a combination of data, altimetric surface heights, statistical analysis of trajectories, and dynamical systems techniques. Particular attention is paid to the issue of the subtropical-to-subpolar intergyre fluid exchange. The velocity field used in this study is composed of a steady drifter-derived background flow, upon which a time-dependent altimeter-based perturbation is superimposed. This analysis suggests that most of the fluid entering the subpolar gyre from the subtropical gyre within two years comes from a narrow region lying inshore of the Gulf Stream core, whereas fluid on the offshore side of the Gulf Stream is largely prevented from doing so by the Gulf Stream core, which acts as a strong transport barrier, in agreement with past studies. The transport barrier near the Gulf Stream core is robust and persistent from 1992 until 2008. The qualitative behavior is found to be largely independent of the Ekman drift.
    Description: This work was supported by the National Science Foundation Grants CMG-82469600 and CMG-82579600 and by the Office of Naval Research Grant ONR-13108700.
    Keywords: Atlantic Ocean ; Transport ; Gyres ; Lagrangian circulation/transport ; Tracers ; Currents ; Meridional overturning circulation
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 20
    Publication Date: 2017-01-07
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2011. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 41 (2011): 241-246, doi:10.1175/2010JPO4557.1.
    Description: The vertical dispersion of a tracer released on a density surface near 1500-m depth in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current west of Drake Passage indicates that the diapycnal diffusivity, averaged over 1 yr and over tens of thousands of square kilometers, is (1.3 ± 0.2) × 10−5 m2 s−1. Diapycnal diffusivity estimated from turbulent kinetic energy dissipation measurements about the area occupied by the tracer in austral summer 2010 was somewhat less, but still within a factor of 2, at (0.75 ± 0.07) × 10−5 m2 s−1. Turbulent diapycnal mixing of this intensity is characteristic of the midlatitude ocean interior, where the energy for mixing is believed to derive from internal wave breaking. Indeed, despite the frequent and intense atmospheric forcing experienced by the Southern Ocean, the amplitude of finescale velocity shear sampled about the tracer was similar to background amplitudes in the midlatitude ocean, with levels elevated to only 20%–50% above the Garrett–Munk reference spectrum. These results add to a long line of evidence that diapycnal mixing in the interior middepth ocean is weak and is likely too small to dictate the middepth meridional overturning circulation of the ocean.
    Description: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Grants OCE-0622825,OCE-0622670, OCE-0622630, and OCE-0623177.
    Keywords: Diapycnal mixing ; Currents ; Antarctica ; Ocean circulation ; Meridional overturning circulation
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  • 21
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2010. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 23 (2010): 3146–3154, doi:10.1175/2010JCLI3310.1.
    Description: The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) simulated in various ocean-only and coupled atmosphere–ocean numerical models often varies in time because of either forced or internal variability. The path of the Gulf Stream (GS) is one diagnostic variable that seems to be sensitive to the amplitude of the AMOC, yet previous modeling studies show a diametrically opposed relationship between the two variables. In this note this issue is revisited, bringing together ocean observations and comparisons with the GFDL Climate Model version 2.1 (CM2.1), both of which suggest a more southerly (northerly) GS path when the AMOC is relatively strong (weak). Also shown are some examples of possible diagnostics to compare various models and observations on the relationship between shifts in GS path and changes in AMOC strength in future studies.
    Description: We wish to acknowledge support (TJ) from WHOI’s Paul Fye Chair and NASA (NNXZX09AF35G) and to NOAA/OAR (RZ) for this work.
    Keywords: Sea surface temperature ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Gyres ; Coupled models ; Atmosphere-ocean interaction
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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