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Ali, A., Christensen, K. H., Breivik, Ø., Malila, M., Raj, R. P., Bertino, L., et al. (2019). A comparison of Langmuir turbulence parameterizations and key wave effects in a numerical model of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Ocean Modelling, 137, 76–97.
Abstract: Five different parameterizations of Langmuir turbulence (LT) effect are investigated in a realistic model of the North Atlantic and Arctic using realistic wave forcing from a global wave hindcast. The parameterizations mainly apply an enhancement to the turbulence velocity scale, and/or to the entrainment buoyancy flux in the surface boundary layer. An additional run is also performed with other wave effects to assess the relative importance of Langmuir turbulence, namely the Coriolis-Stokes forcing, Stokes tracer advection and wave-modified momentum fluxes. The default model (without wave effects) underestimates the mixed layer depth in summer and overestimates it at high latitudes in the winter. The results show that adding LT mixing reduces shallow mixed layer depth (MLD) biases, particularly in the subtropics all year-around, and in the Nordic Seas in summer. There is overall a stronger relative impact on the MLD during winter than during summer. In particular, the parameterization with the most vigorous LT effect causes winter MLD increases by more than 50% relative to a control run without Langmuir mixing. On the contrary, the parameterization which assumes LT effects on the entrainment buoyancy flux and accounts for the Stokes penetration depth is able to enhance the mixing in summer more than in winter. This parametrization is also distinct from the others because it restrains the LT mixing in regions of deep MLD biases, so it is the preferred choice for our purpose. The different parameterizations do not change the amplitude or phase of the seasonal cycle of heat content but do influence its long-term trend, which means that the LT can influence the drift of ocean models. The combined impact on water mass properties from the Coriolis-Stokes force, the Stokes drift tracer advection, and the wave-dependent momentum fluxes is negligible compared to the effect from the parameterized Langmuir turbulence.
Keywords: Langmuir mixing parameterization Mixed layer depth Sea surface temperature Ocean heat content Stokes penetration depth
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Davidson, F., Alvera-Azcárate, A., Barth, A., Brassington, G. B., Chassignet, E. P., Clementi, E., et al. (2019). Synergies in Operational Oceanography: The Intrinsic Need for Sustained Ocean Observations. Front. Mar. Sci., 6.
Abstract: Operational oceanography can be described as the provision of routine oceanographic information needed for decision-making purposes. It is dependent upon sustained research and development through the end-to-end framework of an operational service, from observation collection to delivery mechanisms. The core components of operational oceanographic systems are a multi-platform observation network, a data management system, a data assimilative prediction system, and a dissemination/accessibility system. These are interdependent, necessitating communication and exchange between them, and together provide the mechanism through which a clear picture of ocean conditions, in the past, present, and future, can be seen. Ocean observations play a critical role in all aspects of operational oceanography, not only for assimilation but as part of the research cycle, and for verification and validation of products. Data assimilative prediction systems are advancing at a fast pace, in tandem with improved science and the growth in computing power. To make best use of the system capability these advances would be matched by equivalent advances in operational observation coverage. This synergy between the prediction and observation systems underpins the quality of products available to stakeholders, and justifies the need for sustained ocean observations. In this white paper, the components of an operational oceanographic system are described, highlighting the critical role of ocean observations, and how the operational systems will evolve over the next decade to improve the characterization of ocean conditions, including at finer spatial and temporal scales.
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Dukhovskoy, D. S., Yashayaev, I., Proshutinsky, A., Bamber, J. L., Bashmachnikov, I. L., Chassignet, E. P., et al. (2019). Role of Greenland Freshwater Anomaly in the Recent Freshening of the Subpolar North Atlantic. J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 124(5), 3333–3360.
Abstract: The cumulative Greenland freshwater flux anomaly has exceeded 5000 km3 since the 1990s. The volume of this surplus fresh water is expected to cause substantial freshening in the North Atlantic. Analysis of hydrographic observations in the subpolar seas reveal freshening signals in the 2010s. The sources of this freshening are yet to be determined. In this study, the relationship between the surplus Greenland freshwater flux and this freshening is tested by analyzing the propagation of the Greenland freshwater anomaly and its impact on salinity in the subpolar North Atlantic based on observational data and numerical experiments with and without the Greenland runoff. A passive tracer is continuously released during the simulations at freshwater sources along the coast of Greenland to track the Greenland freshwater anomaly. Tracer budget analysis shows that 44% of the volume of the Greenland freshwater anomaly is retained in the subpolar North Atlantic by the end of the simulation. This volume is sufficient to cause strong freshening in the subpolar seas if it stays in the upper 50�100 m. However, in the model the anomaly is mixed down to several hundred meters of the water column resulting in smaller magnitudes of freshening compared to the observations. Therefore, the simulations suggest that the accelerated Greenland melting would not be sufficient to cause the observed freshening in the subpolar seas and other sources of fresh water have contributed to the freshening. Impacts on salinity in the subpolar seas of the freshwater transport through Fram Strait and precipitation are discussed.
Keywords: Greenland ice sheet melting; freshwater anomaly; subpolar North Atlantic; subpolar gyre; passive tracer numerical experiment; freshwater budget
Fox-Kemper, B., Adcroft, A., Böning, C. W., Chassignet, E. P., Curchitser, E., Danabasoglu, G., et al. (2019). Challenges and Prospects in Ocean Circulation Models. Front. Mar. Sci., 6.
Abstract: We revisit the challenges and prospects for ocean circulation models following Griffies et al. (2010). Over the past decade, ocean circulation models evolved through improved understanding, numerics, spatial discretization, grid configurations, parameterizations, data assimilation, environmental monitoring, and process-level observations and modeling. Important large scale applications over the last decade are simulations of the Southern Ocean, the Meridional Overturning Circulation and its variability, and regional sea level change. Submesoscale variability is now routinely resolved in process models and permitted in a few global models, and submesoscale effects are parameterized in most global models. The scales where nonhydrostatic effects become important are beginning to be resolved in regional and process models. Coupling to sea ice, ice shelves, and high-resolution atmospheric models has stimulated new ideas and driven improvements in numerics. Observations have provided insight into turbulence and mixing around the globe and its consequences are assessed through perturbed physics models. Relatedly, parameterizations of the mixing and overturning processes in boundary layers and the ocean interior have improved. New diagnostics being used for evaluating models alongside present and novel observations are briefly referenced. The overall goal is summarizing new developments in ocean modeling, including how new and existing observations can be used, what modeling challenges remain, and how simulations can be used to support observations.
Keywords: Southern Ocean; Overturning Circulation: Regional sea level; submesoscale; ice shelves; turbulence