Robinson, W., Speich, S., & Chassignet, E. (2018). Exploring the Interplay Between Ocean Eddies and the Atmosphere.
Abstract: Climate models, for the first time, have sufficient resolution to capture mesoscale ocean eddies and their interactions with the atmosphere.New model results suggest that the atmosphere, at weather scales or larger, responds to cumulative effects of the much smaller ocean eddies. Intriguing new model results presented at the workshop suggested that the atmosphere, at weather scales or larger.
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., & Kelly, T. B. (2019). 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, 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., Décima, M., Landry, M. R., & Selph, K. E. (2018). Nitrogen and isotope flows through the Costa Rica Dome upwelling ecosystem: The crucial mesozooplankton role in export flux.
Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 32(12), 1815–1832.
Abstract: The Costa Rica Dome (CRD) is an open-ocean upwelling ecosystem, with high biomasses of picophytoplankton (especially Synechococcus), mesozooplankton, and higher trophic levels. To elucidate the food web pathways supporting the trophic structure and carbon export in this unique ecosystem, we used Markov Chain Monte Carlo techniques to assimilate data from four independent realizations of δ15N and planktonic rate measurements from the CRD into steady state, multicompartment ecosystem box models (linear inverse models). Model results present well-constrained snapshots of ecosystem nitrogen and stable isotope fluxes. New production is supported by upwelled nitrate, not nitrogen fixation. Protistivory (rather than herbivory) was the most important feeding mode for mesozooplankton, which rely heavily on microzooplankton prey. Mesozooplankton play a central role in vertical nitrogen export, primarily through active transport of nitrogen consumed in the surface layer and excreted at depth, which comprised an average 36-46% of total export. Detritus or aggregate feeding is also an important mode of resource acquisition by mesozooplankton and regeneration of nutrients within the euphotic zone. As a consequence, the ratio of passively sinking particle export to phytoplankton production is very low in the CRD. Comparisons to similar models constrained with data from the nearby equatorial Pacific demonstrate that the dominant role of vertical migrators to the biological pump is a unique feature of the CRD. However, both regions show efficient nitrogen transfer from mesozooplankton to higher trophic levels (as expected for regions with large fish, cetacean, and seabird populations) despite the dominance of protists as major grazers of phytoplankton.
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.
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.
Xu, X., & Chassignet, E. P., Wang, F. (2018). On the variability of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation transports in coupled CMIP5 simulations.
Clim Dyn., 51(11), 6511–6531.
Abstract: The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) plays a fundamental role in the climate system, and long-term climate simulations are used to understand the AMOC variability and to assess its impact. This study examines the basic characteristics of the AMOC variability in 44 CMIP5 (Phase 5 of the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project) simulations, using the 18 atmospherically-forced CORE-II (Phase 2 of the Coordinated Ocean-ice Reference Experiment) simulations as a reference. The analysis shows that on interannual and decadal timescales, the AMOC variability in the CMIP5 exhibits a similar magnitude and meridional coherence as in the CORE-II simulations, indicating that the modeled atmospheric variability responsible for AMOC variability in the CMIP5 is in reasonable agreement with the CORE-II forcing. On multidecadal timescales, however, the AMOC variability is weaker by a factor of more than 2 and meridionally less coherent in the CMIP5 than in the CORE-II simulations. The CMIP5 simulations also exhibit a weaker long-term atmospheric variability in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). However, one cannot fully attribute the weaker AMOC variability to the weaker variability in NAO because, unlike the CORE-II simulations, the CMIP5 simulations do not exhibit a robust NAO-AMOC linkage. While the variability of the wintertime heat flux and mixed layer depth in the western subpolar North Atlantic is strongly linked to the AMOC variability, the NAO variability is not.
Xu, X., Bower, A., Furey, H., & Chassignet, E. P. (2018). Variability of the Iceland-Scotland Overflow Water Transport Through the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone: Results From an Eddying Simulation and Observations.
J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, (8).
Abstract: Observations show that the westward transport of the Iceland‐Scotland overflow water (ISOW) through the Charlie‐Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ) is highly variable. This study examines (a) where this variability comes from and (b) how it is related to the variability of ISOW transport at upstream locations in the Iceland Basin and other ISOW flow pathways. The analyses are based on a 35‐year 1/12° eddying Atlantic simulation that represents well the main features of the observed ISOW in the area of interest, in particular, the transport variability through the CGFZ. The results show that (a) the variability of the ISOW transport is closely correlated with that of the barotropic transports in the CGFZ associated with the meridional displacement of the North Atlantic Current front and is possibly induced by fluctuations of large‐scale zonal wind stress in the Western European Basin east of the CGFZ; (b) the variability of the ISOW transport is increased by a factor of 3 from the northern part of the Iceland Basin to the CGFZ region and transport time series at these two locations are not correlated, further suggesting that the variability at the CGFZ does not come from the upstream source; and (c) the variability of the ISOW transport at the CGFZ is strongly anticorrelated to that of the southward ISOW transport along the eastern flank of the Mid‐Atlantic Ridge, suggesting an out‐of‐phase covarying transport between these two ISOW pathways.
Zhao, X., Zhou, C., Xu, X., Ye, R., Tian, J., & Zhao, W. (2019). Deep Circulation in the South China Sea Simulated in a Regional Model.
Ocean Sci. Discuss, .
Abstract: The South China Sea (SCS) is the largest marginal sea in the northwest Pacific Ocean. In this study, deep circulation in the SCS is investigated using results from eddy-resolving, regional simulations using the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) verified by continuous current-meter observations. Analysis of these results provides a detailed spatial structure and temporal variability of the deep circulation in the SCS. The major features of the SCS deep circulation are a basin-scale cyclonic gyre and a concentrated deep western boundary current (DWBC). Transport of the DWBC is ∼ 2 Sv at 16.5° N with a width of ∼53 km. Flowing southwestward, the narrow DWBC becomes weaker with a wider range. The model results reveal the existence of 80- to 120-day oscillation in the deep northeastern circulation and the DWBC, which are also the areas with elevated eddy kinetic energy. This intraseasonal oscillation propagates northwestward with a velocity amplitude of ∼ 1.0 to 1.5 cm s-1. The distribution of mixing parameters in the deep SCS plays a role in both spatial structure and volume transport of the deep circulation. Compared with the northern shelf of the SCS with the Luzon Strait, deep circulation in the SCS is more sensitive to the large vertical mixing parameters of the Zhongsha Island Chain area.
Zheng, Y., Bourassa, M. A., & Dukhovskoy, D. S. (2018). Upper-Ocean Processes Controlling the Sea Surface Temperature in the Western Gulf of Mexico. In
American Geophysical Union (Vol. Fall Meeting).
Abstract: This study examines the upper-ocean processes controlling the mixed layer temperature in the western Gulf of Mexico (GOM) through estimating the contributing terms in the heat equation, with an emphasis on eddies' role. The major heat contributing terms for the upper GOM were estimated using two ocean reanalysis datasets: an eddy-resolving HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) and a Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA). Analysis of net surface heat fluxes from four datasets reveals that the long-term mean net surface heat flux cools the northern GOM and warms the southern GOM. Two regions are focused for analysis: an eddy-rich region where LCEs are energetic, and the southwestern Gulf where eddy activity is relatively weak and the features of near surface temperature differ from the eddy-rich region. An eddy-rich region in the western GOM is defined based on the eddy kinetic energy derived from satellite sea surface heights. The long-term mean horizontal heat advection causes a weak warming over most of the eddy rich region, partly attributed to the flow-temperature configuration that the long-term and seasonally mean flow is nearly parallel to the corresponding mean isotherms. By contrast, the temporal mean vertical heat advection causes a strong warming in the eddy rich region, partly balancing the cooling caused by net surface heat flux. The temporal mean eddy heat flux convergence in the western GOM, whose positive and negative values are not small at some locations, appears heterogeneous in space, resulting in a small term for the western GOM when area averaged. The persistent warm water in the southwestern Gulf is primarily caused by the net warming from net surface heat flux rather than from eddies and heat advection.