Stukel, M. R., & Barbeau, K. A. (2020). Investigating the Nutrient Landscape in a Coastal Upwelling Region and Its Relationship to the Biological Carbon Pump.
Geophys. Res. Lett., 47(6), e2020GL087351.
Abstract: We investigated nutrient patterns and their relationship to vertical carbon export using results from 38 Lagrangian experiments in the California Current Ecosystem. The dominant mode of variability reflected onshore-offshore nutrient gradients. A secondary mode of variability was correlated with silica excess and dissolved iron and likely reflects regional patterns of iron-limitation. The biological carbon pump was enhanced in high nutrient and Fe-stressed regions. Patterns in the nutrient landscape proved to be better predictors of the vertical flux of sinking particles than contemporaneous measurements of net primary production. Our results suggest an important role for Fe-stressed diatoms in vertical carbon flux. They also suggest that either preferential recycling of N or non-Redfieldian nutrient uptake by diatoms may lead to high PO:NO and Si(OH):NO ratios, following export of P- and Si-enriched organic matter. Increased export following Fe-stress may partially explain inverse relationships between net primary productivity and export efficiency.
Stukel, M. R., & Kelly, T. B. (2019). The carbon: (234) Thorium ratios of sinking particles in the California current ecosystem 2: Examination of a thorium sorption, desorption, and particle transport model.
Marine Chemistry, 212, 1–15.
Abstract: Thorium-234 (234Th) is a powerful tracer of particle dynamics and the biological pump in the surface ocean; however, variability in carbon: thorium ratios of sinking particles adds substantial uncertainty to estimates of organic carbon export. We coupled a mechanistic thorium sorption and desorption model to a one-dimensional particle sinking model that uses realistic particle settling velocity spectra. The model generates estimates of 238U234Th disequilibrium, particulate organic carbon concentration, and the C:234Th ratio of sinking particles, which are then compared to in situ measurements from quasi-Lagrangian studies conducted on six cruises in the California Current Ecosystem. Broad patterns observed in in situ measurements, including decreasing C:234Th ratios with depth and a strong correlation between sinking C:234Th and the ratio of vertically-integrated particulate organic carbon (POC) to vertically-integrated total water column 234Th, were accurately recovered by models assuming either a power law distribution of sinking speeds or a double log normal distribution of sinking speeds. Simulations suggested that the observed decrease in C:234Th with depth may be driven by preferential remineralization of carbon by particle-attached microbes. However, an alternate model structure featuring complete consumption and/or disaggregation of particles by mesozooplankton (e.g. no preferential remineralization of carbon) was also able to simulate decreasing C:234Th with depth (although the decrease was weaker), driven by 234Th adsorption onto slowly sinking particles. Model results also suggest that during bloom decays C:234Th ratios of sinking particles should be higher than expected (based on contemporaneous water column POC), because high settling velocities minimize carbon remineralization during sinking.
Stukel, M. R., & Kelly, T. B. The carbon: 234Thorium ratios of sinking particles in the California current ecosystem 2: Examination of a thorium sorption, desorption, and particle transport model.
Marine Chemistry, .
Stukel, M. R., Ohman, M. D., Kelly, T. B., & Biard, T. (2019). The Roles of Suspension-Feeding and Flux-Feeding Zooplankton as Gatekeepers of Particle Flux Into the Mesopelagic Ocean in the Northeast Pacific.
Front. Mar. Sci., 6.
Abstract: Zooplankton are important consumers of sinking particles in the ocean's twilight zone. However, the impact of different taxa depends on their feeding mode. In contrast to typical suspension-feeding zooplankton, flux-feeding taxa preferentially consume rapidly sinking particles that would otherwise penetrate into the deep ocean. To quantify the potential impact of two flux-feeding zooplankton taxa [Aulosphaeridae (Rhizaria), and Limacina helicina (euthecosome pteropod)] and the total suspension-feeding zooplankton community, we measured depth-stratified abundances of these organisms during six cruises in the California Current Ecosystem. Using allometric-scaling relationships, we computed the percentage of carbon flux intercepted by flux feeders and suspension feeders. These estimates were compared to direct measurements of carbon flux attenuation (CFA) made using drifting sediment traps and U-238-Th-234 disequilibrium. We found that CFA in the shallow twilight zone typically ranged from 500 to 1000 m mol organic C flux remineralized per 10-m vertical depth bin. This equated to approximately 6-10% of carbon flux remineralized/10 m. The two flux-feeding taxa considered in this study could account for a substantial proportion of this flux near the base of the euphotic zone. The mean flux attenuation attributable to Aulosphaeridae was 0.69%/10 m (median = 0.21%/10 m, interquartile range = 0.04-0.81%) at their depth of maximum abundance (similar to 100 m), which would equate to similar to 10% of total flux attenuation in this depth range. The maximum flux attenuation attributable to Aulosphaeridae reached 4.2%/10 m when these protists were most abundant. L. helicina, meanwhile, could intercept 0.45-1.6% of carbon flux/10 m, which was slightly greater (on average) than the Aulosphaeridae. In contrast, suspension-feeding zooplankton in the mesopelagic (including copepods, euphausiids, appendicularians, and ostracods) had combined clearance rates of 2-81 L m(-3) day(-1) (mean of 19.6 L m(-3) day(-1)). This implies a substantial impact on slowly sinking particles, but a negligible impact on the presumably rapidly sinking fecal pellets that comprised the majority of the material collected in sediment traps. Our results highlight the need for a greater research focus on the many taxa that potentially act as flux feeders in the oceanic twilight zone.
Sun, J., & Wu, Z. (2019). Isolating spatiotemporally local mixed Rossby-gravity waves using multi-dimensional ensemble empirical mode decomposition.
Clim Dyn, (3-4), 1383–1405.
Abstract: Tropical waves have relatively large amplitudes in and near convective systems, attenuating as they propagate away from the area where they are generated due to the dissipative nature of the atmosphere. Traditionally, nonlocal analysis methods, such as those based on the Fourier transform, are applied to identify tropical waves. However, these methods have the potential to lead to the misidentification of local wavenumbers and spatial locations of local wave activities. To address this problem, we propose a new method for analyzing tropical waves, with particular focus placed on equatorial mixed Rossby-gravity (MRG) waves. The new tropical wave analysis method is based on the multi-dimensional ensemble empirical mode decomposition and a novel spectral representation based on spatiotemporally local wavenumber, frequency, and amplitude of waves. We first apply this new method to synthetic data to demonstrate the advantages of the method in revealing characteristics of MRG waves. We further apply the method to reanalysis data (1) to identify and isolate the spatiotemporally heterogeneous MRG waves event by event, and (2) to quantify the spatial inhomogeneity of these waves in a wavenumber-frequency-energy diagram. In this way, we reveal the climatology of spatiotemporal inhomogeneity of MRG waves and summarize it in wavenumber-frequency domain: The Indian Ocean is dominated by MRG waves in the period range of 8–12 days; the western Pacific Ocean consists of almost equal energy distribution of MRG waves in the period ranges of 3–6 and 8–12 days, respectively; and the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and the tropical Atlantic Ocean are dominated by MRG waves in the period range of 3–6 days. The zonal wavenumbers mostly fall within the band of 4–15, with Indian Ocean has larger portion of higher wavenumber (smaller wavelength components) MRG waves.
Timko, P. G., Arbic, B. K., Hyder, P., Richman, J. G., Zamudio, L., O'Dea, E., et al. (2019). Assessment of shelf sea tides and tidal mixing fronts in a global ocean model.
Ocean Modelling, 136, 66–84.
Abstract: Tidal mixing fronts, which represent boundaries between stratified and tidally mixed waters, are locations of enhanced biological activity. They occur in summer shelf seas when, in the presence of strong tidal currents, mixing due to bottom friction balances buoyancy production due to seasonal heat flux. In this paper we examine the occurrence and fidelity of tidal mixing fronts in shelf seas generated within a global 3-dimensional simulation of the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) that is simultaneously forced by atmospheric fields and the astronomical tidal potential. We perform a first order assessment of shelf sea tides in global HYCOM through comparison of sea surface temperature, sea surface tidal elevations, and tidal currents with observations. HYCOM was tuned to minimize errors in M2 sea surface heights in deep water. Over the global coastal and shelf seas (depths <200 m) the area-weighted root mean square error of the M2 sea surface amplitude in HYCOM represents 35% of the 50 cm root mean squared M2 sea surface amplitude when compared to satellite constrained models TPXO8 and FES2014. HYCOM and the altimeter constrained tidal models TPXO8 and FES2014 exhibit similar skill in reproducing barotropic tidal currents estimated from in-situ current meter observations. Through comparison of a global HYCOM simulation with tidal forcing to a global HYCOM simulation with no tides, and also to previous regional studies of tidal mixing fronts in shelf seas, we demonstrate that HYCOM with embedded tides exhibits quite high skill in reproducing known tidal mixing fronts in shelf seas. Our results indicate that the amount of variability in the location of the tidal mixing fronts in HYCOM, estimated using the Simpson-Hunter parameter, is consistent with previous studies when the differences in the net downward heat flux, on a global scale, are taken into account. We also provide evidence of tidal mixing fronts on the North West Australian Shelf for which we have been unable to find references in the existing scientific literature.
Villas Bôas, A. B., Ardhuin, F., Ayet, A., Bourassa, M. A., Brandt, P., Chapron, B., et al. (2019). Integrated Observations of Global Surface Winds, Currents, and Waves: Requirements and Challenges for the Next Decade.
Front. Mar. Sci., 6.
Abstract: Ocean surface winds, currents, and waves play a crucial role in exchanges of momentum, energy, heat, freshwater, gases, and other tracers between the ocean, atmosphere, and ice. Despite surface waves being strongly coupled to the upper ocean circulation and the overlying atmosphere, efforts to improve ocean, atmospheric, and wave observations and models have evolved somewhat independently. From an observational point of view, community efforts to bridge this gap have led to proposals for satellite Doppler oceanography mission concepts, which could provide unprecedented measurements of absolute surface velocity and directional wave spectrum at global scales. This paper reviews the present state of observations of surface winds, currents, and waves, and it outlines observational gaps that limit our current understanding of coupled processes that happen at the air-sea-ice interface. A significant challenge for the coming decade of wind, current, and wave observations will come in combining and interpreting measurements from (a) wave-buoys and high-frequency radars in coastal regions, (b) surface drifters and wave-enabled drifters in the open-ocean, marginal ice zones, and wave-current interaction �hot-spots,� and (c) simultaneous measurements of absolute surface currents, ocean surface wind vector, and directional wave spectrum from Doppler satellite sensors.
Vinayachandran, P. N., Davidson, F., & Chassignet, E. P. (2020). Towards joint assessments, modern capabilities and new links for ocean prediction systems.
Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 101(4).
Abstract: Approximately 260 individuals from forecasting centers, research laboratories, academia, and industry representing 40 countries met to discuss recent developments in operational oceanography and brainstorm about the future directions of ocean prediction services.
Wang, S., Kranz, S. A., Kelly, T. B., Song, H., Stukel, M. R., & Cassar, N. (2020). Lagrangian Studies of Net Community Production: The Effect of Diel and Multiday Nonsteady State Factors and Vertical Fluxes on O
2/Ar in a Dynamic Upwelling Region. J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosci., 125(6), e2019JG005569.
Abstract: The ratio of dissolved oxygen to argon in seawater is frequently employed to estimate rates of net community production (NCP) in the oceanic mixed layer. The in situ O2/Ar‐based method accounts for many physical factors that influence oxygen concentrations, permitting isolation of the biological oxygen signal produced by the balance of photosynthesis and respiration. However, this technique traditionally relies upon several assumptions when calculating the mixed‐layer O2/Ar budget, most notably the absence of vertical fluxes of O2/Ar and the principle that the air‐sea gas exchange of biological oxygen closely approximates net productivity rates. Employing a Lagrangian study design and leveraging data outputs from a regional physical oceanographic model, we conducted in situ measurements of O2/Ar in the California Current Ecosystem in spring 2016 and summer 2017 to evaluate these assumptions within a �worst‐case� field environment. Quantifying vertical fluxes, incorporating nonsteady state changes in O2/Ar, and comparing NCP estimates evaluated over several day versus longer timescales, we find differences in NCP metrics calculated over different time intervals to be considerable, also observing significant potential effects from vertical fluxes, particularly advection. Additionally, we observe strong diel variability in O2/Ar and NCP rates at multiple stations. Our results reemphasize the importance of accounting for vertical fluxes when interpreting O2/Ar‐derived NCP data and the potentially large effect of nonsteady state conditions on NCP evaluated over shorter timescales. In addition, diel cycles in surface O2/Ar can also bias interpretation of NCP data based on local productivity and the time of day when measurements were made.
Xiaobiao Xu, E. C. (2019).
Subpolar-Subtropical Connectivity of the North Atlantic Circulation.
Abstract: The ocean, through its large capacity to store heat, plays a critical role in Earth's climate and climate variability. Warming of the world's oceans since 1955 accounts for approximately 93% of the warming of the Earth system. However, this warming is neither spatially uniform nor temporally constant. Superimposed on the global long-term trend is climate variability on inter-annual to inter-decadal time scales and regional to basin scales. Satellite altimeters and hydrographic observations show that the North Atlantic, including the sub-polar region, has rapidly become warmer and saltier since the early 1990s. An emerging picture is that the most recent 20 years or so of warming in the North Atlantic represents, in part, a transition of the Atlantic multi-decadal variability pattern from a cold to a warm phase. These decadal climate transitions involve changes both laterally in the sub-tropical and sub-polar gyres of the North Atlantic and vertically in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a key component of the global heat and freshwater circulation system. This study of the North Atlantic circulation concentrates on a transition region around the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, where the effects of boundary currents and jets, recirculations, and mesoscale eddies (length scales typically less than 100 km) are dominant. Strong interactions occur in this transition region, laterally between the subpolar and subtropical gyres and vertically between the cold and warm limbs of the Atlantic Meridional Circulation (AMOC). There is evidence that this relatively compact region plays a key role in altering and even modulating the AMOC over a much larger scale and thus is important for the long-term, decadal variability of the Atlantic Ocean. Yet, despite many observational field programs, the dynamics and impacts of this region are not well understood. The project will contribute to understanding the variability of the AMOC by addressing the connectivity of the sub-polar and the sub-tropical gyres. The results of this model-data synthesis will be of particular significance to coupled climate models, which are central to understanding and predicting global climate change. The educational/outreach components of this project will be focused on cultivating scientific literacy with regards to ocean climate research in K-12 schools, at the university level, and in the local community through a variety of online resources/interactive tools for educators, the Florida State University Young Scholars program for high school students, and the “Scientists in the Schools” program. Finally, the requested funding will support a junior faculty member and a graduate student who will be trained in ocean modeling, data analysis and interpretation.
Through ongoing major observation programs in the sub-polar and sub-tropical North Atlantic Ocean, oceanographers are making great strides toward a better understanding of the structure and variability of the AMOC within these sub-basins. The work proposed here complements these observations by focusing on key questions pertaining to what controls the circulation in between and how much the sub-polar to sub-tropical connectivity modulates the larger scale AMOC. This project aims to elucidate the physical dynamics that controls circulation in the transition region, especially the relative importance of the eddies and the deep western boundary current, and document the role and impact of the transition region on the larger scale circulation, especially the variability of the AMOC and water properties in the sub-polar and sub-tropical North Atlantic from inter-annual to decadal and longer time scales. The interaction of eddies and time mean circulations represents one of the greatest challenges to prediction of global climate variability, and it can be studied with the fine-grid resolution model included in this project. These objectives will be met by performing a detailed model-data synthesis study, combining numerical results from a suite of high-resolution Atlantic simulations using the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) and existing observations (satellite altimetry, drifters/floats, hydrography, tracers, and mooring arrays). The three-dimensional Atlantic circulation will be quantified by performing analysis of water mass transport and transformation, passive tracers, and potential vorticity and momentum fluxes. It has been demonstrated that the eddy-resolving HYCOM represents the basic circulation features in the transition region and larger scale North Atlantic Ocean, including both time mean structure and temporal variability.