Browse

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 8,062 items for :

  • Journal of Physical Oceanography x
  • Refine by Access: Content accessible to me x
Clear All
Zheen Zhang, Thomas Pohlmann, and Xueen Chen

Abstract

The characteristics and variability of intraseasonal internal coastal Kelvin waves (CKWs) along the Bay of Bengal (BoB) waveguide are investigated in the context of global warming by employing a regional ocean model. The analyzed period covers 120 years from 1980 to 2099, which includes the historical scenario and the RCP8.5 scenario. CKW information is successfully extracted from the temperature anomalies along the pycnocline by applying a newly developed methodology. The analysis reveals that intraseasonal CKWs in the BoB are highly in accordance with the intraseasonal zonal wind stress in the western equatorial Indian Ocean; the downwelling CKW lags the equatorial intraseasonal westerly winds, and the upwelling CKW lags the equatorial intraseasonal easterly winds. The CKWs significantly affect subsurface characteristics at the eastern BoB boundary, and the weakening of CKWs near the Irrawaddy Delta tip is a general feature occurring in the subsurface. With respect to the long-term scale, the occurrence of significant CKWs is predicted to be more frequent in the future under the high emissions pathway. Remarkably, the monthly climatology of CKWs varies over time; unlike the first two 30-yr analyzed periods, significant CKWs are predicted to mainly occur around August during the last two 30-yr periods due to the corresponding variabilities in the equatorial wind field, suggesting that the BoB characteristics may greatly deviate from the current climatological state.

Open access
Xiaohui Zhou, Tetsu Hara, Isaac Ginis, Eric D’Asaro, Je-Yuan Hsu, and Brandon G. Reichl

Abstract

The drag coefficient under tropical cyclones and its dependence on sea states are investigated by combining upper-ocean current observations [using electromagnetic autonomous profiling explorer (EM-APEX) floats deployed under five tropical cyclones] and a coupled ocean–wave (Modular Ocean Model 6–WAVEWATCH III) model. The estimated drag coefficient averaged over all storms is around 2–3 × 10−3 for wind speeds of 25–55 m s−1. While the drag coefficient weakly depends on wind speed in this wind speed range, it shows stronger dependence on sea states. In particular, it is significantly reduced when the misalignment angle between the dominant wave direction and the wind direction exceeds about 45°, a feature that is underestimated by current models of sea state–dependent drag coefficient. Since the misaligned swell is more common in the far front and in the left-front quadrant of the storm (in the Northern Hemisphere), the drag coefficient also tends to be lower in these areas and shows a distinct spatial distribution. Our results therefore support ongoing efforts to develop and implement sea state–dependent parameterizations of the drag coefficient in tropical cyclone conditions.

Open access
Erica Rosenblum, Julienne Stroeve, Sarah T. Gille, Camille Lique, Robert Fajber, L. Bruno Tremblay, Ryan Galley, Thiago Loureiro, David G. Barber, and Jennifer V. Lukovich

Abstract

The Arctic seasonal halocline impacts the exchange of heat, energy, and nutrients between the surface and the deeper ocean, and it is changing in response to Arctic sea ice melt over the past several decades. Here, we assess seasonal halocline formation in 1975 and 2006–12 by comparing daily, May–September, salinity profiles collected in the Canada Basin under sea ice. We evaluate differences between the two time periods using a one-dimensional (1D) bulk model to quantify differences in freshwater input and vertical mixing. The 1D metrics indicate that two separate factors contribute similarly to stronger stratification in 2006–12 relative to 1975: 1) larger surface freshwater input and 2) less vertical mixing of that freshwater. The larger freshwater input is mainly important in August–September, consistent with a longer melt season in recent years. The reduced vertical mixing is mainly important from June until mid-August, when similar levels of freshwater input in 1975 and 2006–12 are mixed over a different depth range, resulting in different stratification. These results imply that decadal changes to ice–ocean dynamics, in addition to freshwater input, significantly contribute to the stronger seasonal stratification in 2006–12 relative to 1975. These findings highlight the need for near-surface process studies to elucidate the impact of lateral processes and ice–ocean momentum exchange on vertical mixing. Moreover, the results may provide insight for improving the representation of decadal changes to Arctic upper-ocean stratification in climate models that do not capture decadal changes to vertical mixing.

Open access
Qing Qin, Zhaomin Wang, Chengyan Liu, and Chen Cheng

Abstract

Extensive studies have addressed the characteristics and mechanisms of open-ocean polynyas in the Weddell and Cosmonaut Seas. Here, we show that more persistent open-ocean polynyas occur in the Cooperation Sea (CS) (60°–90°E), a sector of the Southern Ocean off the Prydz Bay continental shelf, between 2002 and 2019. Polynyas are formed annually mainly within the 62°–65°S band, as identified by sea ice concentrations less than 0.7. The polynyas usually began to emerge in April and expanded to large sizes during July–October, with sizes often larger than those of the Maud Rise polynya in 2017. The annual maximum size of polynyas ranged from 115.3 × 103 km2 in 2013 to 312.4 × 103 km2 in 2010, with an average value of 188.9 × 103 km2. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) travels closer to the continental shelf and brings the upper circumpolar deep water to much higher latitudes in the CS than in most other sectors; cyclonic ocean circulations often develop between the ACC and the Antarctic Slope Current, with many of them being associated with local topographic features and dense water cascading. These oceanic preconditions, along with cyclonic wind forcing in the Antarctic Divergence zone, generated polynyas in the CS. These findings offer a more complete circumpolar view of open-ocean polynyas in the Southern Ocean and have implications for physical, biological, and biogeochemical studies of the Southern Ocean. Future efforts should be particularly devoted to more extensively observing the ocean circulation to understand the variability of open-ocean polynyas in the CS.

Significance Statement

An open-ocean polynya is an offshore area of open water or low sea ice cover surrounded by pack ice. Open-ocean polynyas are important for driving the physical, biogeochemical, and biological processes in the Southern Ocean. Extensive studies have addressed the characteristics and mechanisms of open-ocean polynyas in the Weddell and Cosmonaut Seas. The purpose of this study is to document the existence of more persistent open-ocean polynyas in the Cooperation Sea (60°–90°E) and explore the atmospheric and oceanic forcing mechanisms responsible for the formation of the open-ocean polynyas. Our results would offer a more complete circumpolar view of open-ocean polynyas in the Southern Ocean and have implications for physical, biological, and biogeochemical studies of the Southern Ocean.

Open access
Romain Caneill, Fabien Roquet, Gurvan Madec, and Jonas Nycander

Abstract

The stratification is primarily controlled by temperature in subtropical regions (alpha-ocean), and by salinity in subpolar regions (beta-ocean). Between these two regions lies a transition zone, often characterized by deep mixed layers in winter and responsible for the ventilation of intermediate or deep layers. While of primary interest, no consensus on what controls its position exists yet. Amongst the potential candidates, we find the wind distribution, air-sea fluxes or the nonlinear cabbeling effect. Using an ocean general circulation model in an idealized basin configuration, a sensitivity analysis is performed testing different equations of state. More precisely, the thermal expansion coefficient (TEC) temperature dependence is explored, changing the impact of heat fluxes on buoyancy fluxes in a series of experiments. The polar transition zone is found to be located at the position where the sign of the surface buoyancy flux reverses to become positive, in the subpolar region, while wind or cabbeling are likely of secondary importance. This inversion becomes possible because the TEC is reducing at low temperature, enhancing in return the relative impact of freshwater fluxes on the buoyancy forcing at high latitudes. When the TEC is made artificially larger at low temperature, the freshwater flux required to produce a positive buoyancy flux increases and the polar transition moves poleward. These experiments demonstrate the important role of competing heat and freshwater fluxes in setting the position of the transition zone. This competition is primarily influenced by the spatial variations of the TEC linked to meridional variations of the surface temperature.

Open access
Xiangyu Li, Marvin Lorenz, Knut Klingbeil, Evridiki Chrysagi, Ulf Gräwe, Jiaxue Wu, and Hans Burchard

Abstract

The relationship between the salinity mixing, the diffusive salt transport, and the diahaline exchange flow is examined using salinity coordinates. The diahaline inflow and outflow volume transports are defined in this study as the integral of positive and negative values of the diahaline velocity. A numerical model of the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) shows that this diahaline exchange flow is analogous to the classical concept of estuarine exchange flow with inflow in the bottom layers and outflow at the surface. The inflow and outflow magnitudes increase with salinity, while the net transport equals the freshwater discharge Qr after sufficiently long temporal averaging. In summer, intensified salinity mixing mainly occurs in the surface layers and around the islands. The patchy distribution of intensified diahaline velocity suggests that the water exchange through an isohaline surface can be highly variable in space. In winter, the zones of intensification of salinity mixing occur mainly in deep channels. Apart from the impact of freshwater transport from rivers, the transient mixing is also controlled by an unsteadiness term due to estuarine storage of salt and water volume. In the PRE, the salinity mixing and exchange flow show substantial spring-neap variation, while the universal law of estuarine mixing m = 2SQr (with m being the sum of physical and numerical mixing per salinity class S) holds over longer averaging period (spring-neap cycle). The correlation between the patterns of surface mixing, the vorticity, and the salinity gradients indicates a substantial influence of islands on estuarine mixing in the PRE.

Open access
R. M. Samelson

Abstract

A simple dynamical model is proposed for the near-surface drift current in a homogeneous, equilibrium sea. The momentum balance is formulated for a mass-weighted mean in curvilinear surface-conforming coordinates. Stokes drifts computed analytically for small wave slopes by this approach for inviscid linear sinusoidal and Pollard-Gerstner waves agree with the corresponding Lagrangian means, consistent with a mean momentum balance that determines mean parcel motion. A wave-modified mixing length model is proposed, with a depth-dependent eddy viscosity that depends on an effective ocean surface roughness length Z0o, distinct from the atmospheric bulk-flux roughness length Z0a, and additional wave-correction factor φw. Kinematic Stokes drift profiles are computed for two sets of quasi-equilibrium sea states and are interpreted as mean wind drift profiles to provide calibration references for the model. A third calibration reference, for surface drift only, is provided by the traditional 3%-of-wind rule. For 10-m neutral wind U 10N ≤ 20 m s−1, the empirical Z0o ranges from 10−4 m to 10 m, while φw ranges from 1.0 to 0.1. The model profiles show a shallow log-layer structure at the smaller wind speeds and a nearly uniform near-surface shear at the larger wind speeds. Surface velocities are oriented 10°-20° from downwind for U 10N ≤ 10 m s−1 and 20°-35° from downwind for 10 ≤ U 10N ≤ 20 m s−1. A small correction to the drag coefficient is implied. The model predictions show a basic consistency with several sets of previously published near-surface current measurements but the comparison is not definitive.

Open access
Ajitha Cyriac, Helen E. Phillips, Nathaniel L. Bindoff, and Kurt Polzin

Abstract

This study presents novel observational estimates of turbulent dissipation and mixing in a standing meander between the Southeast Indian Ridge and the Macquarie Ridge in the Southern Ocean. By applying a finescale parameterization on the temperature, salinity and velocity profiles collected from Electromagnetic Autonomous Profiling Explorer (EM-APEX) floats in the upper 1600 m, we estimated the intensity and spatial distribution of dissipation rate and diapycnal mixing along the float tracks and investigated the sources. The indirect estimates indicate strong spatial and temporal variability of turbulent mixing varying from O(10−6) − O(10−3) m2s−1 in the upper 1600 m. Elevated turbulent mixing is mostly associated with the Subantarctic Front (SAF) and mesoscale eddies. In the upper 500 m, enhanced mixing is associated with downward propagating wind-generated near-inertial waves as well as the interaction between cyclonic eddies and upward propagating internal waves. In the study region, the local topography does not play a role in turbulent mixing in the upper part of the water column, which has similar values in profiles over rough and smooth topography. However, both remotely-generated internal tides and lee waves could contribute to the upward propagating energy. Our results point strongly to the generation of turbulent mixing through the interaction of internal waves and the intense mesoscale eddy field.

Open access
Swantje Bastin, Martin Claus, Peter Brandt, and Richard J. Greatbatch

Abstract

Equatorial deep jets (EDJ) are zonal currents along the equator in all three ocean basins that alternate in direction with depth and time. In the Atlantic Ocean below the thermocline, they are the dominant variability on interannual time scales. Observations of equatorial deep jets are available but scarce, given the EDJs’ location at depth, their small vertical scale, and their long periodicity of several years. In the last few years, Argo floats have added a significant number of measurements at intermediate depth. In this study we therefore revise estimates of the EDJ scales based on Argo float data. Mostly, we use velocity data at 1000-m depth calculated from float displacement, which yield robust estimates of the Atlantic EDJ period (4.6 yr), amplitude distribution, phase distribution, zonal wavelength (146.7°), and meridional structure. We also show that the equatorial amplitude of the EDJs’ first meridional mode Rossby wave component (9.8 cm s−1) is larger than that of their Kelvin wave component (2.8 cm s−1). In addition, we present a new estimation of the EDJs’ vertical structure throughout the Atlantic basin, based on an equatorial geostrophic velocity reconstruction from hydrographic Argo float measurements from depths between 400 and 2000 m. Our new estimates from Argo float data provide the first basinwide assessment of the Atlantic EDJ scales, as well as having smaller uncertainties than estimates from earlier studies.

Open access
Takaya Uchida, Bruno Deremble, and Stephane Popinet

Abstract

Mesoscale eddies, although being on scales of O(20–100) km, have a disproportionate role in shaping the mean stratification, which varies on the scale of O(1000) km. With the increase in computational power, we are now able to partially resolve the eddies in basin-scale and global ocean simulations, a model resolution often referred to as mesoscale permitting. It is well known, however, that due to gridscale numerical viscosity, mesoscale-permitting simulations have less energetic eddies and consequently weaker eddy feedback onto the mean flow. In this study, we run a quasigeostrophic model at mesoscale-resolving resolution in a double gyre configuration and formulate a deterministic closure for the eddy rectification term of potential vorticity (PV), namely, the eddy PV flux divergence. Our closure successfully reproduces the spatial patterns and magnitude of eddy kinetic and potential energy diagnosed from the mesoscale-resolving model. One novel point about our approach is that we account for nonlocal eddy feedbacks onto the mean flow by solving the “subgrid” eddy PV equation prognostically in addition to the mean PV.

Open access