Guerra, L. A. A., Paiva, A. M., & Chassignet, E. P. (2018). On the translation of Agulhas rings to the western South Atlantic Ocean.
Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 139, 104–113.
Abstract: The shedding of Agulhas rings is the primary process connecting the Indian and Atlantic oceans. The rings transport warm and salty waters that feed the surface limb of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Early studies suggest that Agulhas rings decay and diffuse their contents within the South Atlantic subtropical gyre. In this paper, we update the ring census using an automated algorithm to detect and track eddies over more than 23 years of satellite altimetry data (1993-2016) and calculate their main characteristics. While 140 rings spawned from the Agulhas Retroflection, their following splitting and merging resulted in 74 long-lived rings that crossed the Walvis Ridge and translated towards the west. Eventually, three rings reached the western boundary. For one of them, we use in situ measurements to document its interaction with the Brazil Current and two cyclonic eddies, which resulted in a current velocity increase by three times. Although already hypothesized, this interaction had not been demonstrated with in situ evidence until now.
Hu, X., Cai, M., Yang, S., & Wu, Z. (2018). Delineation of thermodynamic and dynamic responses to sea surface temperature forcing associated with El Niño.
Clim Dyn, 51(11-12), 4329–4344.
Abstract: A new framework is proposed to gain a better understanding of the response of the atmosphere over the tropical Pacific to the radiative heating anomaly associated with the sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly in canonical El Niño winters. The new framework is based on the equilibrium balance between thermal radiative cooling anomalies associated with air temperature response to SST anomalies and other thermodynamic and dynamic processes. The air temperature anomalies in the lower troposphere are mainly in response to radiative heating anomalies associated with SST, atmospheric water vapor, and cloud anomalies that all exhibit similar spatial patterns. As a result, air temperature induced thermal radiative cooling anomalies would balance out most of the radiative heating anomalies in the lower troposphere. The remaining part of the radiative heating anomalies is then taken away by an enhancement (a reduction) of upward energy transport in the central-eastern (western) Pacific basin, a secondary contribution to the air temperature anomalies in the lower troposphere. Above the middle troposphere, radiative effect due to water vapor feedback is weak. Thermal radiative cooling anomalies are mainly in balance with the sum of latent heating anomalies, vertical and horizontal energy transport anomalies associated with atmospheric dynamic response and the radiative heating anomalies due to changes in cloud. The pattern of Gill-type response is attributed mainly to the non-radiative heating anomalies associated with convective and large-scale energy transport. The radiative heating anomalies associated with the anomalies of high clouds also contribute positively to the Gill-type response. This sheds some light on why the Gill-type atmospheric response can be easily identifiable in the upper atmosphere.
LaCasce, J. H., Escartin, J., Chassignet, E. P., & Xu, X. (2018). Jet instability over smooth, corrugated and realistic bathymetry.
J. Phys. Oceanogr., .
Abstract: The stability of a horizontally- and vertically-sheared surface jet is examined, with a focus on the vertical structure of the resultant eddies. Over a flat bottom, the instability is mixed baroclinic/barotropic, producing strong eddies at depth which are characteristically shifted downstream relative to the surface eddies. Baroclinic instability is suppressed over a large slope for retrograde jets (with a flow anti-parallel to topographic wave propagation), and to a lesser extent for prograde jets (with flow parallel to topographic wave propagation), as seen previously. In such cases, barotropic (lateral) instability dominates if the jet is sufficiently narrow. This yields surface eddies whose size is independent of the slope but proportional to the jet width. Deep eddies still form, forced by interfacial motion associated with the surface eddies, but they are weaker than under baroclinic instability and are vertically aligned with the surface eddies. A sinusoidal ridge acts similarly, suppressing baroclinic instability and favoring lateral instability in the upper layer.
A ridge with a 1 km wavelength and an amplitude of roughly 10 m is sufficient to suppress baroclinic instability. Surveys of bottom roughness from bathymetry acquired with shipboard multibeam echosounding reveal that such heights are common, beneath the Kuroshio, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and, to a lesser extent, the Gulf Stream. Consistent with this, vorticity and velocity cross sections from a 1/50° HYCOM simulation suggest that Gulf Stream eddies are vertically aligned, as in the linear stability calculations with strong topography. Thus lateral instability may be more common than previously thought, due to topography hindering vertical energy transfer.