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  • 1
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2019-03-12
    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 (2), (2019): 607-630, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-18-0166.1.
    Description: The Lagrangian motion in the eddy field produced from an unstable retrograde jet along the shelf break is studied from idealized numerical experiments with a primitive equation model. The jet is initially in thermal wind balance with a cross-isobath density gradient and is not subjected to any atmospheric forcing. Over the course of the model integration, the jet becomes unstable and produces a quasi-stationary eddy field over a 2-month period. During this period, the cross-slope flow at the shelf break is characterized by along-slope correlation scales of O(10) km and temporal correlation scales of a few days. The relative dispersion of parcels across isobaths is found to increase with time as tb, where 1 〈 b 〈 2. This mixed diffusive–ballistic regime appears to reflect the combined effects of (i) the short length scales of velocity correlation at the shelf break and (ii) the seaward excursion of monopolar and dipolar vortices. Cross-slope dispersion is greater offshore of the front than inshore of the front, as offshore parcels are both subducted onshore below density surfaces and translated offshore with eddies. Nonetheless, the exchange of parcels across the jet remains very limited on the monthly time scale. Particles originating from the bottom experience upward displacements of a few tens of meters and seaward displacements of O(100) km, suggesting that the eddy activity engendered by an unstable along-slope jet provides another mechanism for bottom boundary layer detachment near the shelf edge.
    Description: The author expresses his gratitude to the researchers who contributed to the development and public dissemination of POM [for a list of contributors, see Mellor (2002) and comments in the source code]. Discussions with Kenneth Brink, Hyodae Seo, and Weifeng Zhang have been helpful. Comments provided by Kenneth Brink on a draft are gratefully acknowledged. The criticism from two anonymous reviewers allowed us to better focus the manuscript and to significantly improve its clarity. This work has been supported by Grant OCE-1556400 from the U.S. National Science Foundation.
    Description: 2020-02-18
    Keywords: Dispersion ; Eddies ; Frontogenesis/frontolysis ; Instability ; Lagrangian circulation/transport ; Jets
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 2
    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): 739-748, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0089.1.
    Description: McDougall and Ferrari have estimated the global deep upward diapycnal flow in the boundary layer overlying continental slopes that must balance both downward diapycnal flow in the deep interior and the formation of bottom water around Antarctica. The decrease of perimeter of isopycnal surfaces with depth and the observed decay with height above bottom of turbulent dissipation in the deep ocean play a key role in their estimate. They argue that because the perimeter of seamounts increases with depth, the net effect of mixing around seamounts is to produce net downward diapycnal flow. While this is true along much of a seamount, it is shown here that diapycnal flow of the densest water around the seamount is upward, with buoyancy being transferred from water just above. The same is true for midocean ridges, whose perimeter is constant with depth. It is argued that mixing around seamounts and especially midocean ridges contributes positively to the global deep overturning circulation, reducing the amount of turbulence demanded over the continental slopes to balance the buoyancy budget for the bottom and deep water.
    Description: This work was supported by National Science Foundation Grant OCE- 1232962.
    Description: 2018-09-29
    Keywords: Abyssal circulation ; Boundary currents ; Buoyancy ; Diapycnal mixing ; Mass fluxes/transport ; Ocean circulation
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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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
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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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: 2019-03-11
    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): 2127-2140, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-18-0035.1.
    Description: Shipboard hydrographic and velocity measurements collected in summer 2014 are used to study the evolution of the freshwater coastal current in southern Greenland as it encounters Cape Farewell. The velocity structure reveals that the coastal current maintains its identity as it flows around the cape and bifurcates such that most of the flow is diverted to the outer west Greenland shelf, while a small portion remains on the inner shelf. Taking into account this inner branch, the volume transport of the coastal current is conserved, but the freshwater transport decreases on the west side of Cape Farewell. A significant amount of freshwater appears to be transported off the shelf where the outer branch flows adjacent to the shelfbreak circulation. It is argued that the offshore transposition of the coastal current is caused by the flow following the isobaths as they bend offshore because of the widening of the shelf on the west side of Cape Farewell. An analysis of the potential vorticity shows that the subsequent seaward flux of freshwater can be enhanced by instabilities of the current. This set of circumstances provides a pathway for the freshest water originating from the Arctic, as well as runoff from the Greenland ice sheet, to be fluxed into the interior Labrador Sea where it could influence convection in the basin.
    Description: Funding for this project was provided by the National Science Foundation under Grant OCE-1259618.
    Description: 2019-03-11
    Keywords: Boundary currents ; Coastal flows ; Instability ; Ocean circulation ; Potential vorticity ; Transport
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-02-16
    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): 855-866, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-16-0194.1.
    Description: Mesoscale eddies shape the Beaufort Gyre response to Ekman pumping, but their transient dynamics are poorly understood. Climate models commonly use the Gent–McWilliams (GM) parameterization, taking the eddy streamfunction to be proportional to an isopycnal slope s and an eddy diffusivity K. This local-in-time parameterization leads to exponential equilibration of currents. Here, an idealized, eddy-resolving Beaufort Gyre model is used to demonstrate that carries a finite memory of past ocean states, violating a key GM assumption. As a consequence, an equilibrating gyre follows a spiral sink trajectory implying the existence of a damped mode of variability—the eddy memory (EM) mode. The EM mode manifests during the spinup as a 15% overshoot in isopycnal slope (2000 km3 freshwater content overshoot) and cannot be explained by the GM parameterization. An improved parameterization is developed, such that is proportional to an effective isopycnal slope , carrying a finite memory γ of past slopes. Introducing eddy memory explains the model results and brings to light an oscillation with a period ≈ 50 yr, where the eddy diffusion time scale TE ~ 10 yr and γ ≈ 6 yr are diagnosed from the eddy-resolving model. The EM mode increases the Ekman-driven gyre variance by γ/TE ≈ 50% ± 15%, a fraction that stays relatively constant despite both time scales decreasing with increased mean forcing. This study suggests that the EM mode is a general property of rotating turbulent flows and highlights the need for better observational constraints on transient eddy field characteristics.
    Description: GEM acknowledges the Stanback Postdoctoral Fellowship Fund at Caltech and the Howland Postdoctoral Program Fund at WHOI. MAS was supported by NSF Grants PLR-1415489 and OCE- 1232389. AFT acknowledges support from NSF OCE- 1235488.
    Keywords: Arctic ; Eddies ; Ekman pumping/transport ; Mesoscale processes ; Parameterization ; Multidecadal variability
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  • 7
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    American Meteorological Society
    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): 643-646, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0240.1.
    Description: A simple oceanic model is presented for source–sink flow on the β plane to discuss the pathways from source to sink when transport boundary layers have large enough Reynolds numbers to be inertial in their dynamics. A representation of the flow as a Fofonoff gyre, suggested by prior work on inertial boundary layers and eddy-driven circulations in two-dimensional turbulent flows, indicates that even when the source and sink are aligned along the same western boundary the flow must intrude deep into the interior before exiting at the sink. The existence of interior pathways for the flow is thus an intrinsic property of an inertial circulation and is not dependent on particular geographical basin geometry.
    Description: 2018-09-12
    Keywords: Abyssal circulation ; Bottom currents ; Nonlinear dynamics ; Ocean circulation ; Ocean dynamics ; Potential vorticity
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 8
    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): 773-794, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0205.1.
    Description: Fourteen autonomous profiling floats, equipped with CTDs, were deployed in the deep eastern and western basins of the Gulf of Mexico over a four-year interval (July 2011–August 2015), producing a total of 706 casts. This is the first time since the early 1970s that there has been a comprehensive survey of water masses in the deep basins of the Gulf, with better vertical resolution than available from older ship-based surveys. Seven floats had 14-day cycles with parking depths of 1500 m, and the other half from the U.S. Argo program had varying cycle times. Maps of characteristic water masses, including Subtropical Underwater, Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW), and North Atlantic Deep Water, showed gradients from east to west, consistent with their sources being within the Loop Current (LC) and the Yucatan Channel waters. Altimeter SSH was used to characterize profiles being in LC or LC eddy water or in cold eddies. The two-layer nature of the deep Gulf shows isotherms being deeper in the warm anticyclonic LC and LC eddies and shallower in the cold cyclones. Mixed layer depths have an average seasonal signal that shows maximum depths (~60 m) in January and a minimum in June–July (~20 m). Basin-mean steric heights from 0–50-m dynamic heights and altimeter SSH show a seasonal range of ~12 cm, with significant interannual variability. The translation of LC eddies across the western basin produces a region of low homogeneous potential vorticity centered over the deepest part of the western basin.
    Description: The authors were supported by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Contract M08PC20043 to Leidos, Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina.
    Description: 2018-10-04
    Keywords: Eddies ; Mixing ; Potential vorticity ; Surface layer ; Water masses
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2018-06-08
    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): 2927-2947, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0083.1.
    Description: Motivated by observations in Hudson shelf valley showing stronger onshore than offshore flows, this study investigates wind-driven flows in idealized shallow shelf valleys. This first part of a two-part sequence focuses on the mechanism of the asymmetrical flow response in a valley to along-shelf winds of opposite directions. Model simulations show that (i) when the wind is in the opposite direction to coastal-trapped wave (CTW) phase propagation, the shelf flow turns onshore in the valley and generates strong up-valley transport and a standing meander on the upstream side (in the sense of CTW phase propagation) of the valley, and (ii) when the wind is in the same direction as CTW phase propagation, the flow forms a symmetric onshore detour pattern over the valley with negligible down-valley transport. Comparison of the modeled upstream meanders in the first scenario with CTW characteristics confirms that the up-valley flow results from CTWs being arrested by the wind-driven shelf flow establishing lee waves. The valley bathymetry generates an initial excessive onshore pressure gradient force that drives the up-valley flow and induces CTW lee waves that sustain the up-valley flow. When the wind-driven shelf flow aligns with CTW phase propagation, the initial disturbance generated in the valley propagates away, allowing the valley flow to adjust to roughly follow isobaths. Because of the similarity in the physical setup, this mechanism of arrested CTWs generating stronger onshore than offshore flow is expected to be applicable to the flow response in slope canyons to along-isobath background flows of opposite directions.
    Description: WGZ and SJL were supported by the National Science Foundation through GrantOCE1154575.WGZ is also supported by the NSF Grant OCE 1634965 and SJL by NSF Grant OCE 1558874.
    Description: 2018-06-08
    Keywords: Ocean circulation ; Topographic effects ; Transport ; Vertical motion ; Waves, oceanic ; Wind stress
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  • 10
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2018-02-16
    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): 879-894, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-16-0196.1.
    Description: Models show that surface cooling over a sloping continental shelf should give rise to baroclinic instability and thus tend toward gravitationally stable density stratification. Less is known about how alongshore winds affect this process, so the role of surface momentum input is treated here by means of a sequence of idealized, primitive equation numerical model calculations. The effects of cooling rate, wind amplitude and direction, bottom slope, bottom friction, and rotation rate are all considered. All model runs lead to instability and an eddy field. While instability is not strongly affected by upwelling-favorable alongshore winds, wind-driven downwelling substantially reduces eddy kinetic energy, largely because the downwelling circulation plays a similar role to baroclinic instability by flattening isotherms and so reducing available potential energy. Not surprisingly, cross-shelf winds appear to have little effect. Analysis of the model runs leads to quantitative relations for the wind effect on eddy kinetic energy for the equilibrium density stratification (which increases as the cooling rate increases) and for eddy length scale.
    Description: This research was supported by the National Science Foundation Physical Oceanography Program through Grant OCE-1433953.
    Keywords: Continental shelf/slope ; Baroclinic flows ; Eddies ; Instability
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  • 11
    Publication Date: 2018-10-16
    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): 883-904, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0084.1.
    Description: The dynamics controlling the along-valley (cross shelf) flow in idealized shallow shelf valleys with small to moderate Burger number are investigated, and analytical scales of the along-valley flows are derived. This paper follows Part I, which shows that along-shelf winds in the opposite direction to coastal-trapped wave propagation (upwelling regime) force a strong up-valley flow caused by the formation of a lee wave. In contrast, along-shelf winds in the other direction (downwelling regime) do not generate a lee wave and consequently force a relatively weak net down-valley flow. The valley flows in both regimes are cyclostrophic with 0(1) Rossby number. A major difference between the two regimes is the along-shelf length scales of the along-valley flows L. In the upwelling regime Ls, depends on the valley width W, and the wavelength lambda(1w) of the coastal-trapped lee wave arrested by the along-shelf flow U-s. In the downwelling regime L depends on the inertial length scale U-s|'f and W-c. The along-valley velocity scale in the upwelling regime, given by V-u approximate to root pi H-c/H-s integral W-c lambda(1w)/2 pi L-x (1+L-x(2)/L-c(2))(-1) e(-(pi Wc)/(lambda 1w),) is based on potential vorticity (PV) conservation and lee-wave dynamics (Hs and H, are the shelf and valley depth scales, respectively, and fis the Coriolis parameter). The velocity scale in the downwelling regime, given by |v(d)| approximate to (H-s/H-s)[1 + (L-x(2)/L-x(2))](-1) fL, is based on PV conservation. The velocity scales are validated by the numerical sensitivity simulations and can be useful for observational studies of along -valley transports. The work provides a framework for investigating cross -shelf transport induced by irregular shelf bathymetry and calls for future studies of this type under realistic environmental conditions and over a broader parameter space.
    Description: Both WGZ and SJL were supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Grant OCE 1154575.WGZis also supported by the NSF Grant OCE 1634965 and SJL by NSF Grant OCE 1558874.
    Description: 2018-10-16
    Keywords: Ocean circulation ; Topographic effects ; Upwelling/downwelling ; Waves, oceanic ; Wind stress ; Ocean models
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 12
    Publication Date: 2019-05-07
    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): 2703-2719, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0245.1.
    Description: A new set of deep float trajectory data collected in the Gulf of Mexico from 2011 to 2015 at 1500- and 2500-m depths is analyzed to describe mesoscale processes, with particular attention paid to the western Gulf. Wavelet analysis is used to identify coherent eddies in the float trajectories, leading to a census of the basinwide coherent eddy population and statistics of the eddies’ kinematic properties. The eddy census reveals a new formation region for anticyclones off the Campeche Escarpment, located northwest of the Yucatan Peninsula. These eddies appear to form locally, with no apparent direct connection to the upper layer. Once formed, the eddies drift westward along the northern edge of the Sigsbee Abyssal Gyre, located in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico over the abyssal plain. The formation mechanism and upstream sources for the Campeche Escarpment eddies are explored: the observational data suggest that eddy formation may be linked to the collision of a Loop Current eddy with the western boundary of the Gulf. Specifically, the disintegration of a deep dipole traveling under the Loop Current eddy Kraken, caused by the interaction with the northwestern continental slope, may lead to the acceleration of the abyssal gyre and the boundary current in the Bay of Campeche region.
    Description: The authors were supported by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Contract M10PC00112 to Leidos, Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina.
    Description: 2019-05-07
    Keywords: Abyssal circulation ; Currents ; Eddies ; Mesoscale processes ; Trajectories ; In situ oceanic observations
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  • 13
    Publication Date: 2018-12-06
    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): 9881-9901, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0889.1.
    Description: The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and associated poleward heat transport are balanced by northern heat loss to the atmosphere and corresponding water-mass transformation. The circulation of northward-flowing Atlantic Water at the surface and returning overflow water at depth is particularly manifested—and observed—at the Greenland–Scotland Ridge where the water masses are guided through narrow straits. There is, however, a rich variability in the exchange of water masses across the ridge on all time scales. Focusing on seasonal and interannual time scales, and particularly the gateways of the Denmark Strait and between the Faroe Islands and Shetland, we specifically assess to what extent the exchanges of water masses across the Greenland–Scotland Ridge relate to wind forcing. On seasonal time scales, the variance explained of the observed exchanges can largely be related to large-scale wind patterns, and a conceptual model shows how this wind forcing can manifest via a barotropic, cyclonic circulation. On interannual time scales, the wind stress impact is less direct as baroclinic mechanisms gain importance and observations indicate a shift in the overflows from being more barotropically to more baroclinically forced during the observation period. Overall, the observed Greenland–Scotland Ridge exchanges reflect a horizontal (cyclonic) circulation on seasonal time scales, while the interannual variability more represents an overturning circulation.
    Description: This research was supported by the Research Council of Norway project NORTH (Grant 229763). Additional support for M. A. Spall was provided by National Science Foundation Grant OCE- 1558742, for T. Eldevik and S. Østerhus by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program project Blue-Action (Grant 727852), and for S. Østerhus by the European Framework Programs under Grant Agreement 308299 (NACLIM).
    Keywords: Ocean circulation ; Thermocline circulation ; Atmosphere-ocean interaction ; North Atlantic Oscillation ; Statistical techniques ; Time series
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  • 14
    Publication Date: 2017-04-19
    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): 633-647, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-16-0089.1.
    Description: Interannual variability in the volumetric water mass distribution within the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre is described in relation to variability in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. The relative roles of diabatic and adiabatic processes in the volume and heat budgets of the subtropical gyre are investigated by projecting data into temperature coordinates as volumes of water using an Argo-based climatology and an ocean state estimate (ECCO version 4). This highlights that variations in the subtropical gyre volume budget are predominantly set by transport divergence in the gyre. A strong correlation between the volume anomaly due to transport divergence and the variability of both thermocline depth and Ekman pumping over the gyre suggests that wind-driven heave drives transport anomalies at the gyre boundaries. This wind-driven heaving contributes significantly to variations in the heat content of the gyre, as do anomalies in the air–sea fluxes. The analysis presented suggests that wind forcing plays an important role in driving interannual variability in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and that this variability can be unraveled from spatially distributed hydrographic observations using the framework presented here.
    Description: DGE was supported by a Natural Environment Research Council studentship award at the University of Southampton. JMT’s contribution was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (Grant OCE-1332667). GF’s contribution was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation through Grant OCE-0961713 and by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through Grant NA10OAR4310135. The contributions of JDZ and AJGN were supported by the NERC Grant ‘‘Climate scale analysis of air and water masses’’ (NE/ K012932/1). ACNG gratefully acknowledges support from the Leverhulme Trust, the Royal Society, and the Wolfson Foundation. LY was supported by NASA Ocean Vector Wind Science Team (OVWST) activities under Grant NNA10AO86G.
    Keywords: North Atlantic Ocean ; Atmosphere-ocean interaction ; Ekman pumping/transport ; Ocean circulation ; Water masses ; Inverse methods
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2018-02-11
    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 Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 34 (2017): 1679-1691, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-16-0162.1.
    Description: For direction-finding high-frequency (HF) radar systems, the correct separation of backscattered spectral energy due to Bragg resonant waves from that due to more complex double-scattering represents a critical first step toward attaining accurate estimates of surface currents from the range-dependent radar backscatter. Existing methods to identify this “first order” region of the spectra, generally sufficient for lower-frequency radars and low-velocity or low-surface gravity wave conditions, are more likely to fail in higher-frequency systems or locations with more variable current, wave, or noise regimes, leading to elevated velocity errors. An alternative methodology is presented that uses a single and globally relevant smoothing length scale, careful pretreatment of the spectra, and marker-controlled watershed segmentation, an image processing technique, to separate areas of spectral energy due to surface currents from areas of spectral energy due to more complex scattering by the wave field or background noise present. Applied to a number of HF radar datasets with a range of operating frequencies and characteristic issues, the new methodology attains a higher percentage of successful first-order identification, particularly during complex current and wave conditions. As operational radar systems continue to expand to more systematically cover areas of high marine traffic, close approaches to ports and harbors, or offshore energy installations, use of this type of updated methodology will become increasingly important to attain accurate current estimates that serve both research and operational interests.
    Description: This analysis was supported by internal funds from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
    Description: 2018-02-11
    Keywords: Ocean circulation ; Waves, oceanic ; Data processing ; Radars/Radar observations ; Remote sensing ; Pattern detection
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  • 16
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2017-06-08
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2016. 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 46 (2016): 3599-3621, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-16-0085.1.
    Description: At continental margins, energetic deep-ocean eddies can transport shelf water offshore in filaments that wrap around the eddy. One example is that of Gulf Stream warm-core rings interacting with the Mid-Atlantic Bight shelf. The rate at which shelf water is exported in these filaments is a major unknown in regional budgets of volume, heat, and salt. This unknown transport is constrained using a series of idealized primitive equation numerical experiments wherein a surface-intensified anticyclonic eddy interacts with idealized shelf–slope topography. There is no shelfbreak front in these experiments, and shelf water is tracked using a passive tracer. When anticyclones interact with shelf–slope topography, they suffer apparent intrusions of shelf–slope water, resulting in a subsurface maximum in offshore transport. The simulations help construct an approximate model for the filament of exported water that originates inshore of any given isobath. This model is then used to derive an expression for the total volume of shelf–slope water transported by the eddy across that isobath. The transport scales with water depth, radius, and azimuthal velocity scale of the eddy. The resulting expression can be used with satellite-derived eddy properties to estimate approximate real-world transports ignoring the presence of a shelfbreak front. The expression assumes that the eddy’s edge is at the shelf break, a condition not always satisfied by real eddies.
    Description: The research presented here was funded by NSF Grants OCE-1059632 and OCE-1433953. Funding support from the Academic Programs Office, and WHOI is also gratefully acknowledged.
    Description: 2017-06-08
    Keywords: Continental shelf/slope ; Advection ; Dynamics ; Eddies ; Topographic effects
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  • 17
    Publication Date: 2017-07-31
    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): 339-351, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-16-0165.1.
    Description: A novel multi-iteration statistical method for studying tracer spreading using drifter data is introduced. The approach allows for the best use of the available drifter data by making use of a simple iterative procedure, which results in the statistically probable map showing the likelihood that a tracer released at some source location would visit different geographical regions, along with the associated arrival travel times. The technique is tested using real drifter data in the North Atlantic. Two examples are considered corresponding to sources in the western and eastern North Atlantic Ocean, that is, Massachusetts Bay–like and Irish Sea–like sources, respectively. In both examples, the method worked well in estimating the statistics of the tracer transport pathways and travel times throughout the entire North Atlantic. The role of eddies versus mean flow is quantified using the same technique, and eddies are shown to significantly broaden the spread of a tracer. The sensitivity of the results to the size of the source domain is investigated and causes for this sensitivity are discussed.
    Description: This work was supported by the Grant OCE-1356630 from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Rypina also acknowledges NSF Grant OCE-1154641 and NASA Grant NNX14AH29G.
    Description: 2017-07-31
    Keywords: Atlantic Ocean ; Mass fluxes/transport ; Ocean circulation ; Trajectories ; Statistics
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  • 18
    Publication Date: 2017-10-12
    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): 1291-1305, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-16-0160.1.
    Description: Along-stream variations in the dynamics of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) impact heat and tracer transport, regulate interbasin exchange, and influence closure of the overturning circulation. Topography is primarily responsible for generating deviations from zonal-mean properties, mainly through standing meanders associated with regions of high eddy kinetic energy. Here, an idealized channel model is used to explore the spatial distribution of energy exchange and its relationship to eddy geometry, as characterized by both eddy momentum and eddy buoyancy fluxes. Variations in energy exchange properties occur not only between standing meander and quasi-zonal jet regions, but throughout the meander itself. Both barotropic and baroclinic stability properties, as well as the magnitude of energy exchange terms, undergo abrupt changes along the path of the ACC. These transitions are captured by diagnosing eddy fluxes of energy and by adopting the eddy geometry framework. The latter, typically applied to barotropic stability properties, is applied here in the depth–along-stream plane to include information about both barotropic and baroclinic stability properties of the flow. These simulations reveal that eddy momentum fluxes, and thus barotropic instability, play a leading role in the energy budget within a standing meander. This result suggests that baroclinic instability alone cannot capture the dynamics of ACC standing meanders, a challenge for models where eddy fluxes are parameterized.
    Description: The authors all acknowledge support from NSF OCE-1235488. MKY also acknowledges support from the AMS Graduate Student Fellowship.
    Description: 2017-10-12
    Keywords: Southern Ocean ; Channel flows ; Stability ; Topographic effects ; Eddies ; Mesoscale models
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  • 19
    Publication Date: 2016-06-01
    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): 2913–2932, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0179.1.
    Description: The oceanic deep circulation is shared between concentrated deep western boundary currents (DWBCs) and broader interior pathways, a process that is sensitive to seafloor topography. This study investigates the spreading and deepening of Denmark Strait overflow water (DSOW) in the western subpolar North Atlantic using two ° eddy-resolving Atlantic simulations, including a passive tracer injected into the DSOW. The deepest layers of DSOW transit from a narrow DWBC in the southern Irminger Sea into widespread westward flow across the central Labrador Sea, which remerges along the Labrador coast. This abyssal circulation, in contrast to the upper levels of overflow water that remain as a boundary current, blankets the deep Labrador Sea with DSOW. Farther downstream after being steered around the abrupt topography of Orphan Knoll, DSOW again leaves the boundary, forming cyclonic recirculation cells in the deep Newfoundland basin. The deep recirculation, mostly driven by the meandering pathway of the upper North Atlantic Current, leads to accumulation of tracer offshore of Orphan Knoll, precisely where a local maximum of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) inventory is observed. At Flemish Cap, eddy fluxes carry ~20% of the tracer transport from the boundary current into the interior. Potential vorticity is conserved as the flow of DSOW broadens at the transition from steep to less steep continental rise into the Labrador Sea, while around the abrupt topography of Orphan Knoll, potential vorticity is not conserved and the DSOW deepens significantly.
    Description: This work is supported by ONR Award N00014-09-1-0587, the NSF Physical Oceanography Program, and NASA Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Program.
    Description: 2016-06-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Abyssal circulation ; Boundary currents ; Ocean circulation ; Ocean dynamics ; Potential vorticity ; Topographic effects
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  • 20
    Publication Date: 2017-02-19
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2016. 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 46 (2016): 2645-2662, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-15-0191.1.
    Description: The occurrence, drivers, and implications of small-scale O(2–5) km diameter coherent vortices, referred to as submesoscale eddies, over the inner shelf south of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, are examined using high-frequency (HF), radar-based, high-resolution (400 m) observations of surface currents. Within the 300 km2 study area, eddies occurred at rates of 1 and 4 day−1 in winter and summer, respectively. Most were less than 5 h in duration, smaller than 4 km in diameter, and rotated less than once over their lifespan; 60% of the eddies formed along the eastern edge of study area, adjacent to Wasque Shoal, and moved westward into the interior, often with relative vorticity greater than f. Eddy generation was linked to vortex stretching on the ebb and flood tide as well as the interaction of the spatially variable tide and the wind-driven currents; however, these features had complex patterns of surface divergence and stretching. Eddies located away from Wasque Shoal were related to the movement of wind-driven surface currents, as wind direction controlled where eddies formed as well as density effects. Using an analysis of particles advected within the radar-based surface currents, the observed eddies were found to be generally leaky, losing 60%–80% of particles over their lifespan, but still more retentive than the background flow. As a result, the combined translation and rotational effects of the observed eddies were an important source of lateral exchange for surface waters over the inner shelf.
    Description: The HF radar data utilized here were obtained using internal funding from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The analysis was supported by NSF OCE Grant 1332646.
    Description: 2017-02-19
    Keywords: Geographic location/entity ; Continental shelf/slope ; Circulation/ Dynamics ; Currents ; Eddies ; Observational techniques and algorithms ; Radars/Radar observations
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  • 21
    Publication Date: 2016-06-30
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2016. 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 46 (2016): 1717-1734, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-15-0124.1.
    Description: The contribution of warm-core anticyclones shed by the Irminger Current off West Greenland, known as Irminger rings, to the restratification of the upper layers of the Labrador Sea is investigated in the 1/12° Family of Linked Atlantic Models Experiment (FLAME) model. The model output, covering the 1990–2004 period, shows strong similarities to observations of the Irminger Current as well as ring observations at a mooring located offshore of the eddy formation region in 2007–09. An analysis of fluxes in the model shows that while the majority of heat exchange with the interior indeed occurs at the site of the Irminger Current instability, the contribution of the coherent Irminger rings is modest (18%). Heat is provided to the convective region mainly through noncoherent anomalies and enhanced local mixing by the rings facilitating further exchange between the boundary and interior. The time variability of the eddy kinetic energy and the boundary to interior heat flux in the model are strongly correlated to the density gradient between the dense convective region and the more buoyant boundary current. In FLAME, the density variations of the boundary current are larger than those of the convective region, thereby largely controlling changes in lateral fluxes. Synchronous long-term trends in temperature in the boundary and the interior over the 15-yr simulation suggest that the heat flux relative to the temperature of the interior is largely steady on these time scales.
    Description: The authors were supported in this work by the U.S. National Science Foundation.
    Keywords: Geographic location/entity ; North Atlantic Ocean ; Circulation/ Dynamics ; Anticyclones ; Boundary currents ; Convection ; Eddies ; Fluxes
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  • 22
    Publication Date: 2017-06-02
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2016. 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 46 (2016): 3011-3029, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-15-0248.1.
    Description: Seasonal variability of the tropical Atlantic circulation is dominated by the annual cycle, but semiannual variability is also pronounced, despite weak forcing at that period. This study uses multiyear, full-depth velocity measurements from the central equatorial Atlantic to analyze the vertical structure of annual and semiannual variations of zonal velocity. A baroclinic modal decomposition finds that the annual cycle is dominated by the fourth mode and the semiannual cycle is dominated by the second mode. Similar local behavior is found in a high-resolution general circulation model. This simulation reveals that the annual and semiannual cycles of the respective dominant baroclinic modes are associated with characteristic basinwide structures. Using an idealized, linear, reduced-gravity model to simulate the dynamics of individual baroclinic modes, it is shown that the observed circulation variability can be explained by resonant equatorial basin modes. Corollary simulations of the reduced-gravity model with varying basin geometry (i.e., square basin vs realistic coastlines) or forcing (i.e., spatially uniform vs spatially variable wind) show a structural robustness of the simulated basin modes. A main focus of this study is the seasonal variability of the Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC) as identified in recent observational studies. Main characteristics of the observed EUC including seasonal variability of transport, core depth, and maximum core velocity can be explained by the linear superposition of the dominant equatorial basin modes as obtained from the reduced-gravity model.
    Description: This study was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft as part of the Sonderforschungsbereich 754 (SFB754) ‘‘Climate–Biogeochemistry Interactions in the Tropical Ocean’’ and through several research cruises with R/V Meteor, R/V Maria S. Merian, andR/VL’Atalante by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the cooperative projects RACE (03F0605B) and SACUS (03G0837A) and by European Union 7th Framework Programme (FP7 2007–13) under Grant Agreement 603521 PREFACE project.
    Keywords: Atlantic Ocean ; Ocean circulation ; In situ oceanic observations ; Ocean models ; Seasonal cycle ; Tropical variability
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  • 23
    Publication Date: 2017-04-20
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2016. 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 46 (2016): 3263-3278, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-16-0091.1.
    Description: The halocline of the Beaufort Gyre varies significantly on interannual to decadal time scales, affecting the freshwater content (FWC) of the Arctic Ocean. This study explores the role of eddies in the Ekman-driven gyre variability. Following the transformed Eulerian-mean paradigm, the authors develop a theory that links the FWC variability to the stability of the large-scale gyre, defined as the inverse of its equilibration time. The theory, verified with eddy-resolving numerical simulations, demonstrates that the gyre stability is explicitly controlled by the mesoscale eddy diffusivity. An accurate representation of the halocline dynamics requires the eddy diffusivity of 300 ± 200 m2 s−1, which is lower than what is used in most low-resolution climate models. In particular, on interannual and longer time scales the eddy fluxes and the Ekman pumping provide equally important contributions to the FWC variability. However, only large-scale Ekman pumping patterns can significantly alter the FWC, with spatially localized perturbations being an order of magnitude less efficient. Lastly, the authors introduce a novel FWC tendency diagnostic—the Gyre Index—that can be conveniently calculated using observations located only along the gyre boundaries. Its strong predictive capabilities, assessed in the eddy-resolving model forced by stochastic winds, suggest that the Gyre Index would be of use in interpreting FWC evolution in observations as well as in numerical models.
    Description: GEMacknowledges the support from theHowland Postdoctoral Program Fund at WHOI and the Stanback Fellowship Fund at Caltech.MAS was supported by NSF Grants PLR-1415489 and OCE-1232389. AFT acknowledges support from NASA Award NNN12AA01C.
    Description: 2017-04-20
    Keywords: Arctic ; Eddies ; Ekman pumping/transport ; Large-scale motions ; Ocean circulation ; Stability
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  • 24
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    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):1189–1204, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0122.1.
    Description: Winter outcropping of the Eighteen Degree Water (EDW) and its subsequent dispersion are studied using a ° eddy-resolving simulation of the Family of Linked Atlantic Modeling Experiments (FLAME). Outcropped EDW columns in the model simulations are detected in each winter from 1990 to 1999, and particles are deployed in the center of each outcropped EDW column. Subsequently, the trajectories of these particles are calculated for the following 5 yr. The particles slowly spread away from the outcropping region into the nonoutcropping/subducted EDW region south of ~30°N and eventually to the non-EDW region in the greater subtropical gyre. Approximately 30% of the particles are found in non-EDW waters 1 yr after deployment; after 5 yr, only 25% of the particles are found within EDW. The reoutcropping time is defined as the number of years between when a particle is originally deployed in an outcropping EDW column and when that particle is next found in an outcropping EDW column. Of the particles, 66% are found to reoutcrop as EDW in 1 yr, and less than 5% of the particles outcrop in each of the subsequent 4 yr. While the individual trajectories exhibit significant eddy-like motions, the time scale of reoutcropping is primarily set by the mean circulation. The dominance of reoutcropping in 1 yr suggests that EDW outcropping contributes considerably to the persistence of surface temperature anomalies from one winter to the next, that is, the reemergence of winter sea surface temperature anomalies.
    Description: We gratefully acknowledge the support from the NSF OCE Physical Oceanography program (NSF OCE-0961090 to Y-OK and J-JP; NSF OCE-0960776 to MSL and SFG; and NSF OCE-1242989 to Y-OK).
    Description: 2015-10-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Ocean circulation ; Atm/Ocean Structure/ Phenomena ; Water masses
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  • 25
    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 Physical Oceanography 45 (2015): 1410–1425, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0192.1.
    Description: The west-to-east crossover of boundary currents has been seen in mean circulation schemes from several past models of the Red Sea. This study investigates the mechanisms that produce and control the crossover in an idealized, eddy-resolving numerical model of the Red Sea. The authors also review the observational evidence and derive an analytical estimate for the crossover latitude. The surface buoyancy loss increases northward in the idealized model, and the resultant mean circulation consists of an anticyclonic gyre in the south and a cyclonic gyre in the north. In the midbasin, the northward surface flow crosses from the western boundary to the eastern boundary. Numerical experiments with different parameters indicate that the crossover latitude of the boundary currents changes with f0, β, and the meridional gradient of surface buoyancy forcing. In the analytical estimate, which is based on quasigeostrophic, β-plane dynamics, the crossover is predicted to lie at the latitude where the net potential vorticity advection (including an eddy component) is zero. Various terms in the potential vorticity budget can be estimated using a buoyancy budget, a thermal wind balance, and a parameterization of baroclinic instability.
    Description: This work is supported by Award USA 00002, KSA 00011, and KSA 00011/02 made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), by National Science Foundation Grants OCE0927017, OCE1154641, and OCE85464100, and by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Academic Program Office.
    Description: 2015-11-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Boundary currents ; Buoyancy ; Ocean circulation ; Ocean dynamics
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  • 26
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    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): 1822–1842, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0147.1.
    Description: Influences of time-dependent precipitation on water mass transformation and heat budgets in an idealized marginal sea are examined using theoretical and numerical models. The equations proposed by Spall in 2012 are extended to cases with time-dependent precipitation whose form is either a step function or a sinusoidal function. The theory predicts the differences in temperature and salinity between the convective water and the boundary current as well as the magnitudes of heat fluxes into the marginal sea and across the sea surface. Moreover, the theory reveals that there are three inherent time scales: relaxation time scales for temperature and salinity and a precipitation time scale. The relaxation time scales are determined by a steady solution of the theoretical model with steady precipitation. The relaxation time scale for temperature is always smaller than that for salinity as a result of not only the difference in the form of fluxes at the surface but also the variation in the eddy transport from the boundary current. These three time scales and the precipitation amplitude determine the strength of the ocean response to changes in precipitation and the phase relation between precipitation, changes in salinity and temperature, and changes in heat fluxes. It is demonstrated that the theoretical predictions agree qualitatively well with results from the eddy-resolving numerical model. This demonstrates the fundamental role of mesoscale eddies in the ocean response to time-dependent forcing and provides a framework with which to assess the extent to which observed variability in marginal sea convection and water mass transformation are consistent with an external forcing by variations in precipitation.
    Description: This work was initiated at the 2013 WHOI Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Summer Program, which was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research. This work was also supported by Grant-in-Aid for Research Fellow (25·8466) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Technology (MEXT), Japan, the Program for Leading Graduate Schools, MEXT, Japan (YY), and by the National Science Foundation Grant OCE-1232389 (MAS).
    Description: 2016-01-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Boundary currents ; Deep convection ; Eddies ; Ocean dynamics ; Atm/Ocean Structure/ Phenomena ; Precipitation
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  • 27
    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 Climate 28 (2015): 8574–8584, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00809.1.
    Description: The subsurface ocean response to anthropogenic climate forcing remains poorly characterized. From the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), a robust response of the lower thermocline is identified, where the warming is considerably weaker in the subtropics than in the tropics and high latitudes. The lower thermocline change is inversely proportional to the thermocline depth in the present climatology. Ocean general circulation model (OGCM) experiments show that sea surface warming is the dominant forcing for the subtropical gyre change in contrast to natural variability for which wind dominates, and the ocean response is insensitive to the spatial pattern of surface warming. An analysis based on a ventilated thermocline model shows that the pattern of the lower thermocline change can be interpreted in terms of the dynamic response to the strengthened stratification and downward heat mixing. Consequently, the subtropical gyres become intensified at the surface but weakened in the lower thermcline, consistent with results from CMIP experiments.
    Description: The work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2012CB955600), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41125019, 41206021), and the U.S. National Science Foundation (AGS 1249145, 1305719).
    Description: 2016-05-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Ocean circulation ; Physical Meteorology and Climatology ; Climate change
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  • 28
    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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  • 29
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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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  • 30
    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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  • 31
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    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): 104–132, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0032.1.
    Description: Three mechanisms for self-induced Ekman pumping in the interiors of mesoscale ocean eddies are investigated. The first arises from the surface stress that occurs because of differences between surface wind and ocean velocities, resulting in Ekman upwelling and downwelling in the cores of anticyclones and cyclones, respectively. The second mechanism arises from the interaction of the surface stress with the surface current vorticity gradient, resulting in dipoles of Ekman upwelling and downwelling. The third mechanism arises from eddy-induced spatial variability of sea surface temperature (SST), which generates a curl of the stress and therefore Ekman pumping in regions of crosswind SST gradients. The spatial structures and relative magnitudes of the three contributions to eddy-induced Ekman pumping are investigated by collocating satellite-based measurements of SST, geostrophic velocity, and surface winds to the interiors of eddies identified from their sea surface height signatures. On average, eddy-induced Ekman pumping velocities approach O(10) cm day−1. SST-induced Ekman pumping is usually secondary to the two current-induced mechanisms for Ekman pumping. Notable exceptions are the midlatitude extensions of western boundary currents and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, where SST gradients are strong and all three mechanisms for eddy-induced Ekman pumping are comparable in magnitude. Because the polarity of current-induced curl of the surface stress opposes that of the eddy, the associated Ekman pumping attenuates the eddies. The decay time scale of this attenuation is proportional to the vertical scale of the eddy and inversely proportional to the wind speed. For typical values of these parameters, the decay time scale is about 1.3 yr.
    Description: This work was funded by NASA Grants NNX08AI80G, NNX08AR37G, NNX13AD78G, NNX10AE91G, NNX13AE47G, and NNX10AO98G.
    Description: 2015-07-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Atmosphere-ocean interaction ; Eddies ; Ekman pumping/transport ; Atm/Ocean Structure/ Phenomena ; Eddies ; Ekman pumping ; Observational techniques and algorithms ; Satellite observations
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  • 32
    Publication Date: 2016-12-23
    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): 966–987, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0110.1.
    Description: A key remaining challenge in oceanography is the understanding and parameterization of small-scale mixing. Evidence suggests that topographic features play a significant role in enhancing mixing in the Southern Ocean. This study uses 914 high-resolution hydrographic profiles from novel EM-APEX profiling floats to investigate turbulent mixing north of the Kerguelen Plateau, a major topographic feature in the Southern Ocean. A shear–strain finescale parameterization is applied to estimate diapycnal diffusivity in the upper 1600 m of the ocean. The indirect estimates of mixing match direct microstructure profiler observations made simultaneously. It is found that mixing intensities have strong spatial and temporal variability, ranging from O(10−6) to O(10−3) m2 s−1. This study identifies topographic roughness, current speed, and wind speed as the main factors controlling mixing intensity. Additionally, the authors find strong regional variability in mixing dynamics and enhanced mixing in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current frontal region. This enhanced mixing is attributed to dissipating internal waves generated by the interaction of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and the topography of the Kerguelen Plateau. Extending the mixing observations from the Kerguelen region to the entire Southern Ocean, this study infers a large water mass transformation rate of 17 Sverdrups (Sv; 1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) across the boundary of Antarctic Intermediate Water and Upper Circumpolar Deep Water in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. This work suggests that the contribution of mixing to the Southern Ocean overturning circulation budget is particularly significant in fronts.
    Description: AM was supported by the joint CSIRO–University of Tasmania Quantitative Marine Science (QMS) program and the 2009 CSIRO Wealth from Ocean Flagship Collaborative Fund. BMS was supported by the Australian Climate Change Science Program, jointly funded by the Department of the Environment and CSIRO. KLPs salary support was provided by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution bridge support funds.
    Description: 2015-10-01
    Keywords: Geographic location/entity ; Southern Ocean ; Circulation/ Dynamics ; Diapycnal mixing ; Fronts ; Ocean circulation ; Topographic effects ; Atm/Ocean Structure/ Phenomena ; Mixing
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  • 33
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    American Meteorological Society
    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 Physical Oceanography 45 (2015): 606–612, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0221.1.
    Description: Mesoscale intrathermocline lenses are observed throughout the World Ocean and are commonly attributed to water mass anomalies advected from a distant origin. An alternative mechanism of local generation is offered herein, in which eddy–wind interaction can create lens-shaped disturbances in the thermocline. Numerical simulations illustrate how eddy–wind-driven upwelling in anticyclones can yield a convex lens reminiscent of a mode water eddy, whereas eddy–wind-driven downwelling in cyclones produces a concave lens that thins the mode water layer (a cyclonic “thinny”). Such transformations should be observable with long-term time series in the interiors of mesoscale eddies.
    Description: Support of this research by the National Science Foundation and National Aeronautics and Space Administration is gratefully acknowledged.
    Description: 2015-08-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Eddies ; Ekman pumping/transport ; Mesoscale processes ; Models and modeling ; Ocean models ; Primitive equations model
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  • 34
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    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): 778–791, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0164.1.
    Description: This study examines anisotropic transport properties of the eddying North Atlantic flow, using an idealized model of the double-gyre oceanic circulation and altimetry-derived velocities. The material transport by the time-dependent flow (quantified by the eddy diffusivity tensor) varies geographically and is anisotropic, that is, it has a well-defined direction of the maximum transport. One component of the time-dependent flow, zonally elongated large-scale transients, is particularly important for the anisotropy, as it corresponds to primarily zonal material transport and long correlation time scales. The importance of these large-scale zonal transients in the material distribution is further confirmed with simulations of idealized color dye tracers, which has implications for parameterizations of the eddy transport in non-eddy-resolving models.
    Description: IK would like to acknowledge support through the NSF Grant OCE-1154923. IR was supported by the NSF OCE-1154641 and NASA Grant NNX14AH29G.
    Description: 2015-09-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Eddies ; Lagrangian circulation/transport ; Mesoscale processes ; Ocean circulation ; Models and modeling ; Tracers
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  • 35
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    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): 1735–1756, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0238.1.
    Description: The Lofoten basin of the Nordic Seas is recognized as a crucial component of the meridional overturning circulation in the North Atlantic because of the large horizontal extent of Atlantic Water and winter surface buoyancy loss. In this study, hydrographic and current measurements collected from a mooring deployed in the Lofoten basin from July 2010 to September 2012 are used to describe water mass transformation and the mesoscale eddy field. Winter mixed layer depths (MLDs) are observed to reach approximately 400 m, with larger MLDs and denser properties resulting from the colder 2010 winter. A heat budget of the upper water column requires lateral input, which balances the net annual heat loss of ~80 W m−2. The lateral flux is a result of mesoscale eddies, which dominate the velocity variability. Eddy velocities are enhanced in the upper 1000 m, with a barotropic component that reaches the bottom. Detailed examination of two eddies, from April and August 2012, highlights the variability of the eddy field and eddy properties. Temperature and salinity properties of the April eddy suggest that it originated from the slope current but was ventilated by surface fluxes. The properties within the eddy were similar to those of the mode water, indicating that convection within the eddies may make an important contribution to water mass transformation. A rough estimate of eddy flux per unit boundary current length suggests that fluxes in the Lofoten basin are larger than in the Labrador Sea because of the enhanced boundary current–interior density difference.
    Description: The work was supported by NSF OCE 0850416.
    Description: 2015-12-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Atmosphere-ocean interaction ; Boundary currents ; Eddies ; Fluxes ; Mesoscale processes ; Atm/Ocean Structure/ Phenomena ; Thermohaline circulation
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  • 36
    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 Physical Oceanography 45 (2015): 2598–2620, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0249.1.
    Description: Through combining analytical arguments and numerical models, this study investigates the finite-amplitude meanders of shelfbreak fronts characterized by sloping isopycnals outcropping at both the surface and the shelfbreak bottom. The objective is to provide a formula for the meander length scale that can explain observed frontal length scale variability and also be verified with observations. Considering the frontal instability to be a mixture of barotropic and baroclinic instability, the derived along-shelf meander length scale formula is [b1/(1 + a1S1/2)]NH/f, where N is the buoyancy frequency; H is the depth of the front; f is the Coriolis parameter; S is the Burger number measuring the ratio of energy conversion associated with barotropic and baroclinic instability; and a1 and b1 are empirical constants. Initial growth rate of the frontal instability is formulated as [b2(1 + a1S1/2)/(1 + a2αS1/2)]NH/L, where α is the bottom slope at the foot of the front, and a2 and b2 are empirical constants. The formulas are verified using numerical sensitivity simulations, and fitting of the simulated and formulated results gives a1 = 2.69, b1 = 14.65, a2 = 5.1 × 103, and b2 = 6.2 × 10−2. The numerical simulations also show development of fast-growing frontal symmetric instability when the minimum initial potential vorticity is negative. Although frontal symmetric instability leads to faster development of barotropic and baroclinic instability at later times, it does not significantly influence the meander length scale. The derived meander length scale provides a framework for future studies of the influences of external forces on shelfbreak frontal circulation and cross-frontal exchange.
    Description: WGZ and GGG were supported by the National Science Foundation through Grant OCE-1129125.
    Description: 2016-04-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Instability ; Ocean circulation ; Topographic effects ; Atm/Ocean Structure/ Phenomena ; Fronts ; Models and modeling ; Numerical analysis/modeling
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  • 37
    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): 2806–2819, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-15-0061.1.
    Description: An eastward-flowing current of a homogeneous fluid with velocity U, contained in a channel of width L, impinges on an island of width of O(L), and the resulting interaction and dynamics are studied for values of the supercriticality parameter, b = βL2/U, both larger and smaller than π2. The former case is subcritical with respect to Rossby waves, and the latter is supercritical. The nature of the flow field depends strongly on b, and in particular, the nature of the flow around the island and the proportion of the flow passing to the north or south of the island are sensitive to b and to the position of the island in the channel. The problem is studied analytically in a relatively simple, nonlinear quasigeostrophic and adiabatic framework and numerically with a shallow-water model that allows a qualitative extension of the results to the equator. Although the issues involved are motivated by the interaction of the Equatorial Undercurrent and the Galapagos Islands, the analysis presented here focuses on the fundamental issue of the distinctive nature of the flow as a function of Rossby wave criticality.
    Description: Supported by the National Science Foundation Grant OCE-0959381.
    Description: 2016-05-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Ocean circulation ; Ocean dynamics ; Waves, oceanic
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  • 38
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    American Meteorological Society
    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): 1398–1406, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-13-028.1.
    Description: An adiabatic, inertial, and quasigeostrophic model is used to discuss the interaction of surface Ekman transport with an island. The theory extends the recent work of Spall and Pedlosky to include an analytical and nonlinear model for the interaction. The presence of an island that interrupts a uniform Ekman layer transport raises interesting questions about the resulting circulation. The consequential upwelling around the island can lead to a local intake of fluid from the geostrophic region beneath the Ekman layer or to a more complex flow around the island in which the fluid entering the Ekman layer on one portion of the island's perimeter is replaced by a flow along the island's boundary from a downwelling region located elsewhere on the island. This becomes especially pertinent when the flow is quasigeostrophic and adiabatic. The oncoming geostrophic flow that balances the offshore Ekman flux is largely diverted around the island, and the Ekman flux is fed by a transfer of fluid from the western to the eastern side of the island. As opposed to the linear, dissipative model described earlier, this transfer takes place even in the absence of a topographic skirt around the island. The principal effect of topography in the inertial model is to introduce an asymmetry between the circulation on the northern and southern sides of the island. The quasigeostrophic model allows a simple solution to the model problem with topography and yet the resulting three-dimensional circulation is surprisingly complex with streamlines connecting each side of the island.
    Description: This research was supported in part by NSF Grant OCE Grant 0925061.
    Keywords: Baroclinic flows ; Large-scale motions ; Nonlinear dynamics ; Ocean circulation ; Ocean dynamics ; Topographic effects
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  • 39
    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): 2842–2860, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00227.1.
    Description: Mooring measurements from the Kuroshio Extension System Study (June 2004–June 2006) and from the ongoing Kuroshio Extension Observatory (June 2004–present) are combined with float measurements of the Argo network to study the variability of the North Pacific Subtropical Mode Water (STMW) across the entire gyre, on time scales from days, to seasons, to a decade. The top of the STMW follows a seasonal cycle, although observations reveal that it primarily varies in discrete steps associated with episodic wind events. The variations of the STMW bottom depth are tightly related to the sea surface height (SSH), reflecting mesoscale eddies and large-scale variations of the Kuroshio Extension and recirculation gyre systems. Using the observed relationship between SSH and STMW, gridded SSH products and in situ estimates from floats are used to construct weekly maps of STMW thickness, providing nonbiased estimates of STMW total volume, annual formation and erosion volumes, and seasonal and interannual variability for the past decade. Year-to-year variations are detected, particularly a significant decrease of STMW volume in 2007–10 primarily attributable to a smaller volume formed. Variability of the heat content in the mode water region is dominated by the seasonal cycle and mesoscale eddies; there is only a weak link to STMW on interannual time scales, and no long-term trends in heat content and STMW thickness between 2002 and 2011 are detected. Weak lagged correlations among air–sea fluxes, oceanic heat content, and STMW thickness are found when averaged over the northwestern Pacific recirculation gyre region.
    Description: This work was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (Grants OCE-0220161, OCE-0825152, and OCE-0827125).
    Description: 2014-10-15
    Keywords: Atmosphere-ocean interaction ; Mesoscale processes ; Mesoscale systems ; Ocean dynamics ; Eddies ; Water masses
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  • 40
    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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  • 41
    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 Climate 26 (2013): 9839–9859, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00647.1.
    Description: Spatial and temporal covariability between the atmospheric transient eddy heat fluxes (i.e., υ′T′ and υ′q′) in the Northern Hemisphere winter (January–March) and the paths of the Gulf Stream (GS), Kuroshio Extension (KE), and Oyashio Extension (OE) are examined based on an atmospheric reanalyses and ocean observations for 1979–2009. For the climatological winter mean, the northward heat fluxes by the synoptic (2–8 days) transient eddies exhibit canonical storm tracks with their maxima collocated with the GS and KE/OE. The intraseasonal (8 days–3 months) counterpart, while having overall similar amplitude, shows a spatial pattern with more localized maxima near the major orography and blocking regions. Lateral heat flux divergence by transient eddies as the sum of the two frequency bands exhibits very close coupling with the exact locations of the ocean fronts. Linear regression is used to examine the lead–lag relationship between interannual changes in the northward heat fluxes by the transient eddies and the meridional changes in the paths of the GS, KE, and OE, respectively. One to three years prior to the northward shifts of each ocean front, the atmospheric storm tracks shift northward and intensify, which is consistent with wind-driven changes of the ocean. Following the northward shifts of the ocean fronts, the synoptic storm tracks weaken in all three cases. The zonally integrated northward heat transport by the synoptic transient eddies increases by ~5% of its maximum mean value prior to the northward shift of each ocean front and decreases to a similar amplitude afterward.
    Description: Support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Physical Oceanography Program (NNX09AF35G to TJ and Y-OK) and the Department of Energy (DOE) Climate and Environmental Sciences Division (DE-SC0007052 to Y-OK) is gratefully acknowledged.
    Description: 2014-06-15
    Keywords: Atmosphere-ocean interaction ; Eddies ; Energy transport ; Storm tracks ; Heat budgets/fluxes
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  • 42
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    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): 834-849, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-13-0179.1.
    Description: A hydrostatic numerical model with alongshore-uniform barotropic M2 tidal boundary forcing and idealized shelfbreak canyon bathymetries is used to study internal-tide generation and onshore propagation. A control simulation with Mid-Atlantic Bight representative bathymetry is supported by other simulations that serve to identify specific processes. The canyons and adjacent slopes are transcritical in steepness with respect to M2 internal wave characteristics. Although the various canyons are symmetrical in structure, barotropic-to-baroclinic energy conversion rates Cυ are typically asymmetrical within them. The resulting onshore-propagating internal waves are the strongest along beams in the horizontal plane, with the stronger beam in the control simulation lying on the side with higher Cυ. Analysis of the simulation results suggests that the cross-canyon asymmetrical Cυ distributions are caused by multiple-scattering effects on one canyon side slope, because the phase variation in the spatially distributed internal-tide sources, governed by variations in the orientation of the bathymetry gradient vector, allows resonant internal-tide generation. A less complex, semianalytical, modal internal wave propagation model with sources placed along the critical-slope locus (where the M2 internal wave characteristic is tangent to the seabed) and variable source phasing is used to diagnose the physics of the horizontal beams of onshore internal wave radiation. Model analysis explains how the cross-canyon phase and amplitude variations in the locally generated internal tides affect parameters of the internal-tide beams. Under the assumption that strong internal tides on continental shelves evolve to include nonlinear wave trains, the asymmetrical internal-tide generation and beam radiation effects may lead to nonlinear internal waves and enhanced mixing occurring preferentially on one side of shelfbreak canyons, in the absence of other influencing factors.
    Description: All three authors were supported by Office of Naval Research (ONR) Grant N00014-11-1-0701. WGZ was additionally supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant OCE-1154575, and TFD was additionally supported by NSF Grant OCE-1060430.
    Description: 2014-09-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Baroclinic flows ; Internal waves ; Ocean circulation ; Topographic effects ; Waves, oceanic ; Models and modeling ; Numerical analysis/modeling
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  • 43
    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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  • 44
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    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): 2593–2616, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-13-0120.1.
    Description: The first direct estimate of the rate at which geostrophic turbulence mixes tracers across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current is presented. The estimate is computed from the spreading of a tracer released upstream of Drake Passage as part of the Diapycnal and Isopycnal Mixing Experiment in the Southern Ocean (DIMES). The meridional eddy diffusivity, a measure of the rate at which the area of the tracer spreads along an isopycnal across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, is 710 ± 260 m2 s−1 at 1500-m depth. The estimate is based on an extrapolation of the tracer-based diffusivity using output from numerical tracers released in a one-twentieth of a degree model simulation of the circulation and turbulence in the Drake Passage region. The model is shown to reproduce the observed spreading rate of the DIMES tracer and suggests that the meridional eddy diffusivity is weak in the upper kilometer of the water column with values below 500 m2 s−1 and peaks at the steering level, near 2 km, where the eddy phase speed is equal to the mean flow speed. These vertical variations are not captured by ocean models presently used for climate studies, but they significantly affect the ventilation of different water masses.
    Description: NSF support through Awards OCE-1233832, OCE-1232962, and OCE-1048926 is gratefully acknowledged.
    Description: 2015-04-01
    Keywords: Geographic location/entity ; Southern Ocean ; Circulation/ Dynamics ; Diffusion ; Eddies ; Ocean circulation ; Turbulence ; Physical Meteorology and Climatology ; Isopycnal mixing
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  • 45
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    American Meteorological Society
    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): 2498–2523, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-13-0183.1.
    Description: This study examines the observability of a stratified ocean in a square flat basin on a midlatitude beta plane. Here, “observability” means the ability to establish, in a finite interval of time, the time-dependent ocean state given density observations over the same interval and with no regard for errors. The dynamics is linearized and hydrostatic, so that the motion can be decomposed into normal modes and the observability analysis is simplified. An observability Gramian (a symmetric matrix) is determined for the flows in an inviscid interior, in frictional boundary layers, and in a closed basin. Its properties are used to establish the condition for complete observability and to identify optimal data locations for each of these flows. It is found that complete observability of an oceanic interior in time-dependent Sverdrup balance requires that the observations originate from the westernmost location at each considered latitude. The degree of observability increases westward due to westward propagation of long baroclinic Rossby waves: data collected in the west are more informative than data collected in the east. Likewise, the best locations for observing variability in the western (eastern) boundary layer are near (far from) the boundary. The observability of a closed basin is influenced by the westward propagation and the boundaries. Optimal data locations that are identified for different resolutions (0.01 to 1 yr) and lengths of data records (0.2 to 20 yr) show a variable influence of the planetary vorticity gradient. Data collected near the meridional boundaries appear always less informative, from the viewpoint of basin observability, than data collected away from these boundaries.
    Description: This work was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation.
    Description: 2015-03-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Ocean circulation ; Rossby waves ; Mathematical and statistical techniques ; Inverse methods ; Variability ; Oceanic variability
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  • 46
    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): 905–919, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-12-0150.1.
    Description: Interactions between vortices and a shelfbreak current are investigated, with particular attention to the exchange of waters between the continental shelf and slope. The nonlinear, three-dimensional interaction between an anticyclonic vortex and the shelfbreak current is studied in the laboratory while varying the ratio ε of the maximum azimuthal velocity in the vortex to the maximum alongshelf velocity in the shelfbreak current. Strong interactions between the shelfbreak current and the vortex are observed when ε 〉 1; weak interactions are found when ε 〈 1. When the anticyclonic vortex comes in contact with the shelfbreak front during a strong interaction, a streamer of shelf water is drawn offshore and wraps anticyclonically around the vortex. Measurements of the offshore transport and identification of the particle trajectories in the shelfbreak current drawn offshore from the vortex allow quantification of the fraction of the shelfbreak current that is deflected onto the slope; this fraction increases for increasing values of ε. Experimental results in the laboratory are strikingly similar to results obtained from observations in the Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB); after proper scaling, measurements of offshore transport and offshore displacement of shelf water for vortices in the MAB that span a range of values of ε agree well with laboratory predictions.
    Description: Laboratory work was supported by the National Science Foundation through Grant OCE- 0081756. Glider observations in March–April 2006 were supported by the National Science Foundation through Grant OCE-0220769. Glider observations in July– October 2007 were supported by a grant from Raytheon. RET was supported by the Postdoctoral Scholar Program at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, with funding provided by the Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region. The REMUS observations were funded by the Office of Naval Research. GGG was supported by the National Science Foundation through Grant OCE-1129125 for analysis and writing.
    Description: 2013-11-01
    Keywords: Continental shelf/slope ; Eddies ; Fronts ; Transport ; Laboratory/physical models
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  • 47
    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 Physical Oceanography 42 (2012): 2283–2296, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-11-0227.1.
    Description: The dynamic influence of thermohaline circulation on wind-driven circulation in the South China Sea (SCS) is studied using a simple reduced gravity model, in which the upwelling driven by mixing in the abyssal ocean is treated in terms of an upward pumping distributed at the base of the upper layer. Because of the strong upwelling of deep water, the cyclonic gyre in the northern SCS is weakened, but the anticyclonic gyre in the southern SCS is intensified in summer, while cyclonic gyres in both the southern and northern SCS are weakened in winter. For all seasons, the dynamic influence of thermohaline circulation on wind-driven circulation is larger in the northern SCS than in the southern SCS. Analysis suggests that the upwelling associated with the thermohaline circulation in the deep ocean plays a crucial role in regulating the wind-driven circulation in the upper ocean.
    Description: G. Wang is supported by the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC Grants 41125019, 40725017, and 40976017).D.Chen is supported by grants from the Ministry of Science and Technology (2010DFA21012), the State Oceanic Administration (201105018), and the NSFC (91128204).
    Description: 2013-06-01
    Keywords: Abyssal circulation ; Dynamics ; Ocean circulation ; Upwelling/downwelling
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  • 48
    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): 2234–2253, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-12-033.1.
    Description: Meridional velocity, mass, and heat transport in the equatorial oceans are difficult to estimate because of the nonapplicability of the geostrophic balance. For this purpose a steady-state model is utilized in the equatorial Indian Ocean using NCEP wind stress and temperature and salinity data from the World Ocean Atlas 2005 (WOA05) and Argo. The results show a Somali Current flowing to the south during the winter monsoon carrying −11.5 ± 1.3 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) and −12.3 ± 0.3 Sv from WOA05 and Argo, respectively. In the summer monsoon the Somali Current reverses to the north transporting 16.8 ± 1.2 Sv and 19.8 ± 0.6 Sv in the WOA05 and Argo results. Transitional periods are considered together and in consequence, there is not a clear Somali Current present in this period. Model results fit with in situ measurements made around the region, although Argo data results are quite more realistic than WOA05 data results.
    Description: This study has been partly funded by the MOC Project (CTM 2008- 06438) and the Spanish contribution to the Argo network (AC2009 ACI2009-0998), financed by the Spanish Government and Feder.
    Description: 2013-06-01
    Keywords: Indian Ocean ; Subtropics ; Currents ; Ocean circulation ; Transport ; Wind stress
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  • 49
    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): 2206–2228, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-11-0191.1.
    Description: This study investigates the anisotropic properties of the eddy-induced material transport in the near-surface North Atlantic from two independent datasets, one simulated from the sea surface height altimetry and one derived from real-ocean surface drifters, and systematically examines the interactions between the mean- and eddy-induced material transport in the region. The Lagrangian particle dispersion, which is widely used to characterize the eddy-induced tracer fluxes, is quantified by constructing the “spreading ellipses.” The analysis consistently demonstrates that this dispersion is spatially inhomogeneous and strongly anisotropic. The spreading is larger and more anisotropic in the subtropical than in the subpolar gyre, and the largest ellipses occur in the Gulf Stream vicinity. Even at times longer than half a year, the spreading exhibits significant nondiffusive behavior in some parts of the domain. The eddies in this study are defined as deviations from the long-term time-mean. The contributions from the climatological annual cycle, interannual, and subannual (shorter than one year) variability are investigated, and the latter is shown to have the strongest effect on the anisotropy of particle spreading. The influence of the mean advection on the eddy-induced particle spreading is investigated using the “eddy-following-full-trajectories” technique and is found to be significant. The role of the Ekman advection is, however, secondary. The pronounced anisotropy of particle dispersion is expected to have important implications for distributing oceanic tracers, and for parameterizing eddy-induced tracer transfer in non-eddy-resolving models.
    Description: IR was supported by Grant NSF-OCE-0725796. IK would like to acknowledge support by the National Science foundation Grant OCE-0842834.
    Description: 2013-06-01
    Keywords: North Atlantic Ocean ; Diffusion ; Dispersion ; Eddies ; Lagrangian circulation/transport ; Trajectories
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  • 50
    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): 283–300, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-11-0240.1.
    Description: Motivated by the recent interest in ocean energetics, the widespread use of horizontal eddy viscosity in models, and the promise of high horizontal resolution data from the planned wide-swath satellite altimeter, this paper explores the impacts of horizontal eddy viscosity and horizontal grid resolution on geostrophic turbulence, with a particular focus on spectral kinetic energy fluxes Π(K) computed in the isotropic wavenumber (K) domain. The paper utilizes idealized two-layer quasigeostrophic (QG) models, realistic high-resolution ocean general circulation models, and present-generation gridded satellite altimeter data. Adding horizontal eddy viscosity to the QG model results in a forward cascade at smaller scales, in apparent agreement with results from present-generation altimetry. Eddy viscosity is taken to roughly represent coupling of mesoscale eddies to internal waves or to submesoscale eddies. Filtering the output of either the QG or realistic models before computing Π(K) also greatly increases the forward cascade. Such filtering mimics the smoothing inherent in the construction of present-generation gridded altimeter data. It is therefore difficult to say whether the forward cascades seen in present-generation altimeter data are due to real physics (represented here by eddy viscosity) or to insufficient horizontal resolution. The inverse cascade at larger scales remains in the models even after filtering, suggesting that its existence in the models and in altimeter data is robust. However, the magnitude of the inverse cascade is affected by filtering, suggesting that the wide-swath altimeter will allow a more accurate determination of the inverse cascade at larger scales as well as providing important constraints on smaller-scale dynamics.
    Description: BKA received support from Office of Naval Research Grant N00014-11-1-0487, National Science Foundation (NSF) Grants OCE-0924481 and OCE- 09607820, and University of Michigan startup funds. KLP acknowledges support from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution bridge support funds. RBS acknowledges support from NSF grants OCE-0960834 and OCE-0851457, a contract with the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, and a NASA subcontract to Boston University. JFS and JGR were supported by the projects ‘‘Global and remote littoral forcing in global ocean models’’ and ‘‘Agesotrophic vorticity dynamics of the ocean,’’ respectively, both sponsored by the Office of Naval Research under program element 601153N.
    Description: 2013-08-01
    Keywords: Eddies ; Nonlinear dynamics ; Ocean dynamics ; Satellite observations ; Ocean models
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  • 51
    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 Climate 26 (2013): 1669–1684, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00246.1.
    Description: Climate change west of the Antarctic Peninsula is the most rapid of anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere, with associated changes in the rates and distributions of freshwater inputs to the ocean. Here, results from the first comprehensive survey of oxygen isotopes in seawater in this region are used to quantify spatial patterns of meteoric water (glacial discharge and precipitation) separately from sea ice melt. High levels of meteoric water are found close to the coast, due to orographic effects on precipitation and strong glacial discharge. Concentrations decrease offshore, driving significant southward geostrophic flows (up to ~30 cm s−1). These produce high meteoric water concentrations at the southern end of the sampling grid, where collapse of the Wilkins Ice Shelf may also have contributed. Sea ice melt concentrations are lower than meteoric water and patchier because of the mobile nature of the sea ice itself. Nonetheless, net sea ice production in the northern part of the sampling grid is inferred; combined with net sea ice melt in the south, this indicates an overall southward ice motion. The survey is contextualized temporally using a decade-long series of isotope data from a coastal Antarctic Peninsula site. This shows a temporal decline in meteoric water in the upper ocean, contrary to expectations based on increasing precipitation and accelerating deglaciation. This is driven by the increasing occurrence of deeper winter mixed layers and has potential implications for concentrations of trace metals supplied to the euphotic zone by glacial discharge. As the regional freshwater system evolves, the continuing isotope monitoring described here will elucidate the ongoing impacts on climate and the ecosystem.
    Description: The Palmer LTER participants acknowledge Award 0823101 from the Organisms and Ecosystems program in NSF OPP
    Description: 2013-09-01
    Keywords: Southern Ocean ; Ocean circulation ; Freshwater ; Precipitation ; Snowmelt/icemelt ; Isotopic analysis
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  • 52
    Publication Date: 2016-12-21
    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): 1611–1626, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-12-0204.1.
    Description: A new method is proposed for extrapolating subsurface velocity and density fields from sea surface density and sea surface height (SSH). In this, the surface density is linked to the subsurface fields via the surface quasigeostrophic (SQG) formalism, as proposed in several recent papers. The subsurface field is augmented by the addition of the barotropic and first baroclinic modes, whose amplitudes are determined by matching to the sea surface height (pressure), after subtracting the SQG contribution. An additional constraint is that the bottom pressure anomaly vanishes. The method is tested for three regions in the North Atlantic using data from a high-resolution numerical simulation. The decomposition yields strikingly realistic subsurface fields. It is particularly successful in energetic regions like the Gulf Stream extension and at high latitudes where the mixed layer is deep, but it also works in less energetic eastern subtropics. The demonstration highlights the possibility of reconstructing three-dimensional oceanic flows using a combination of satellite fields, for example, sea surface temperature (SST) and SSH, and sparse (or climatological) estimates of the regional depth-resolved density. The method could be further elaborated to integrate additional subsurface information, such as mooring measurements.
    Description: JW and AM were supported by NASA (NNX12AD47G) and NSF (OCE 0928617). JLM was supported by the Office of Naval Research and the Office of Science (BER), U.S. Department of Energy under DE-GF0205ER64119. GRF is supported by OCE-0752346 and JHL by NORSEE (Nordic Seas Eddy Exchanges) funded by the Norwegian Research Council.
    Description: 2014-02-01
    Keywords: Eddies ; Ocean dynamics ; Potential vorticity ; Surface pressure ; Surface temperature ; Inverse methods
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  • 53
    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 Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 28 (2011): 1539–1553, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-11-00001.1.
    Description: Turbulent Reynolds stresses are now routinely estimated from acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) measurements in estuaries and tidal channels using the variance method, yet biases due to surface gravity waves limit its use in the coastal ocean. Recent modifications to this method, including spatially filtering velocities to isolate the turbulence from wave velocities and fitting a cospectral model to the below-wave band cospectra, have been used to remove this bias. Individually, each modification performed well for the published test datasets, but a comparative analysis over the range of conditions in the coastal ocean has not yet been performed. This work uses ADCP velocity measurements from five previously published coastal ocean and estuarine datasets, which span a range of wave and current conditions as well as instrument configurations, to directly compare methods for estimating stresses in the presence of waves. The computed stresses from each were compared to bottom stress estimates from a quadratic drag law and, where available, estimates of wind stress. These comparisons, along with an analysis of the cospectra, indicated that spectral fitting performs well when the wave climate is wide-banded and/or multidirectional as well as when instrument noise is high. In contrast, spatial filtering performs better when waves are narrow-banded, low frequency, and when wave orbital velocities are strong relative to currents. However, as spatial filtering uses vertically separated velocity bins to remove the wave bias, spectral fitting is able to resolve stresses over a larger fraction of the water column.
    Description: J. Rosman acknowledges funding from the National Science Foundation (OCE-1061108).
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Momentum ; Ocean circulation ; Waves, oceanic ; In situ observations ; Instrumentation/sensors
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  • 54
    Publication Date: 2017-01-07
    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): 291–305, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-11-043.1.
    Description: A number of previous observational studies have found that the waters of the deep Pacific Ocean have an age, or elapsed time since contact with the surface, of 700–1000 yr. Numerical models suggest ages twice as old. Here, the authors present an inverse framework to determine the mean age and its upper and lower bounds given Global Ocean Data Analysis Project (GLODAP) radiocarbon observations, and they show that the potential range of ages increases with the number of constituents or sources that are included in the analysis. The inversion requires decomposing the World Ocean into source waters, which is obtained here using the total matrix intercomparison (TMI) method at up to 2° × 2° horizontal resolution with 11 113 surface sources. The authors find that the North Pacific at 2500-m depth can be no younger than 1100 yr old, which is older than some previous observational estimates. Accounting for the broadness of surface regions where waters originate leads to a reservoir-age correction of almost 100 yr smaller than would be estimated with a two or three water-mass decomposition and explains some of the discrepancy with previous observational studies. A best estimate of mean age is also presented using the mixing history along circulation pathways. Subject to the caveats that inference of the mixing history would benefit from further observations and that radiocarbon cannot rule out the presence of extremely old waters from exotic sources, the deep North Pacific waters are 1200–1500 yr old, which is more in line with existing numerical model results.
    Description: GG is supported by the J. Lamar Worzel Assistant Scientist Fund and the Penzance Endowed Fund in Support of Assistant Scientists. PJH is supported by NSF Award 0960787.
    Description: 2012-08-01
    Keywords: North Pacific Ocean ; Mass fluxes/transport ; Ocean circulation ; Tracers ; Optimization ; Variational analysis
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  • 55
    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 Climate 25 (2012): 1361–1389, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00091.1.
    Description: The ocean component of the Community Climate System Model version 4 (CCSM4) is described, and its solutions from the twentieth-century (20C) simulations are documented in comparison with observations and those of CCSM3. The improvements to the ocean model physical processes include new parameterizations to represent previously missing physics and modifications of existing parameterizations to incorporate recent new developments. In comparison with CCSM3, the new solutions show some significant improvements that can be attributed to these model changes. These include a better equatorial current structure, a sharper thermocline, and elimination of the cold bias of the equatorial cold tongue all in the Pacific Ocean; reduced sea surface temperature (SST) and salinity biases along the North Atlantic Current path; and much smaller potential temperature and salinity biases in the near-surface Pacific Ocean. Other improvements include a global-mean SST that is more consistent with the present-day observations due to a different spinup procedure from that used in CCSM3. Despite these improvements, many of the biases present in CCSM3 still exist in CCSM4. A major concern continues to be the substantial heat content loss in the ocean during the preindustrial control simulation from which the 20C cases start. This heat loss largely reflects the top of the atmospheric model heat loss rate in the coupled system, and it essentially determines the abyssal ocean potential temperature biases in the 20C simulations. There is also a deep salty bias in all basins. As a result of this latter bias in the deep North Atlantic, the parameterized overflow waters cannot penetrate much deeper than in CCSM3.
    Description: NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The CCSM is also sponsored by the Department of Energy. SGY was supported by the NOAA Climate Program Office under Climate Variability and Predictability Program Grant NA09OAR4310163.
    Description: 2012-09-01
    Keywords: Ocean circulation ; Climate models ; General circulation models ; Ocean models
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  • 56
    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): 855–868, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-10-05010.1.
    Description: Data from the Hudson River estuary demonstrate that the tidal variations in vertical salinity stratification are not consistent with the patterns associated with along-channel tidal straining. These observations result from three additional processes not accounted for in the traditional tidal straining model: 1) along-channel and 2) lateral advection of horizontal gradients in the vertical salinity gradient and 3) tidal asymmetries in the strength of vertical mixing. As a result, cross-sectionally averaged values of the vertical salinity gradient are shown to increase during the flood tide and decrease during the ebb. Only over a limited portion of the cross section does the observed stratification increase during the ebb and decrease during the flood. These observations highlight the three-dimensional nature of estuarine flows and demonstrate that lateral circulation provides an alternate mechanism that allows for the exchange of materials between surface and bottom waters, even when direct turbulent mixing through the pycnocline is prohibited by strong stratification.
    Description: The funding for this research was obtained from NSF Grant OCE-08-25226.
    Description: 2012-11-01
    Keywords: Mixing ; Ocean circulation ; Shear structure/flows ; Transport ; Turbulence
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  • 57
    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 Physical Oceanography 41 (2011): 2168–2186, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-11-08.1.
    Description: This paper studies the interaction of an Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC)–like wind-driven channel flow with a continental slope and a flat-bottomed bay-shaped shelf near the channel’s southern boundary. Interaction between the model ACC and the topography in the second layer induces local changes of the potential vorticity (PV) flux, which further causes the formation of a first-layer PV front near the base of the topography. Located between the ACC and the first-layer slope, the newly formed PV front is constantly perturbed by the ACC and in turn forces the first-layer slope with its own variability in an intermittent but persistent way. The volume transport of the slope water across the first-layer slope edge is mostly directly driven by eddies and meanders of the new front, and its magnitude is similar to the maximum Ekman transport in the channel. Near the bay’s opening, the effect of the topographic waves, excited by offshore variability, dominates the cross-isobath exchange and induces a mean clockwise shelf circulation. The waves’ propagation is only toward the west and tends to be blocked by the bay’s western boundary in the narrow-shelf region. The ensuing wave–coast interaction amplifies the wave amplitude and the cross-shelf transport. Because the interaction only occurs near the western boundary, the shelf water in the west of the bay is more readily carried offshore than that in the east and the mean shelf circulation is also intensified along the bay’s western boundary.
    Description: Y. Zhang acknowledges the support of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Physical Oceanography and NSF OCE-9901654 and OCE- 0451086. J. Pedlosky acknowledges the support of NSF OCE-9901654 and OCE-0451086.
    Keywords: Baroclinic flows ; Eddies ; Fronts ; Mass fluxes/transport ; Mesoscale processes ; Topographic effects
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  • 58
    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): 343–349, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00059.1.
    Description: The Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC) is a major component of the tropical Pacific Ocean circulation. EUC velocity in most global climate models is sluggish relative to observations. Insufficient ocean resolution slows the EUC in the eastern Pacific where nonlinear terms should dominate the zonal momentum balance. A slow EUC in the east creates a bottleneck for the EUC to the west. However, this bottleneck does not impair other major components of the tropical circulation, including upwelling and poleward transport. In most models, upwelling velocity and poleward transport divergence fall within directly estimated uncertainties. Both of these transports play a critical role in a theory for how the tropical Pacific may change under increased radiative forcing, that is, the ocean dynamical thermostat mechanism. These findings suggest that, in the mean, global climate models may not underrepresent the role of equatorial ocean circulation, nor perhaps bias the balance between competing mechanisms for how the tropical Pacific might change in the future. Implications for model improvement under higher resolution are also discussed.
    Description: KBK gratefully acknowledges the J. Lamar Worzel Assistant Scientist Fund. GCJ is supported by NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. RM gratefully acknowledges the generous support and hospitality of the Divecha Centre for Climate Change and CAOS at IISc, Bangalore, and partial support by NASA PO grants.
    Description: 2012-07-01
    Keywords: Tropics ; Ocean circulation ; Ocean dynamics ; Climate models ; Coupled models ; Ocean models
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  • 59
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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.