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Masayo Ogi, Bunmei Taguchi, Meiji Honda, David G. Barber, and Søren Rysgaard

Abstract

Contemporary climate science seeks to understand the rate and magnitude of a warming global climate and how it impacts regional variability and teleconnections. One of the key drivers of regional climate is the observed reduction in end of summer sea-ice extent over the Arctic. Here the authors show that interannual variations between the September Arctic sea-ice concentration, especially in the East Siberian Sea, and the maximum Okhotsk sea-ice extent in the following winter are positively correlated, which is not explained by the recent warming trend only. An increase of sea ice both in the East Siberian Sea and the Okhotsk Sea and corresponding atmospheric patterns, showing a seesaw between positive anomalies of sea level pressures over the Arctic Ocean and negative anomalies over the midlatitudes, are related to cold anomalies over the high-latitude Eurasian continent. The patterns of atmospheric circulation and air temperatures are similar to those of the annually integrated Arctic Oscillation (AO). The negative annual AO forms colder anomalies in autumn sea surface temperatures both over the East Siberian Sea and the Okhotsk Sea, which causes heavy sea-ice conditions in both seas through season-to-season persistence.

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Xiaohui Ma, Ping Chang, R. Saravanan, Dexing Wu, Xiaopei Lin, Lixin Wu, and Xiuquan Wan

Abstract

Boreal winter (November–March) extreme flux events in the Kuroshio Extension region (KER) of the northwestern Pacific and the Gulf Stream region (GSR) of the northwestern Atlantic are analyzed and compared, based on NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR), NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, and NOAA Twentieth Century Reanalysis data, as well as the observationally derived OAFlux dataset. These extreme flux events, most of which last less than 3 days, are characterized by cold air outbreaks (CAOs) with an anomalous northerly wind that brings cold and dry air from the Eurasian and North American continents to the KER and GSR, respectively. A close relationship between the extreme flux events over KER (GSR) and the Aleutian low pattern (ALP) [east Atlantic pattern (EAP)] is found with more frequent occurrence of the extreme flux events during a positive ALP (EAP) phase and vice versa. A further lag-composite analysis suggests that the ALP (EAP) is associated with accumulated effects of the synoptic winter storms accompanied by the extreme flux events and shows that the event-day storms tend to have a preferred southeastward propagation path over the North Pacific (Atlantic), potentially contributing to the southward shift of the storm track over the eastern North Pacific (Atlantic) basin during the ALP (EAP) positive phase. Finally, lag-regression analyses indicate a potential positive influence of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies along the KER (GSR) on the development of the extreme flux events in the North Pacific (Atlantic).

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Takuya Nakanowatari, Humio Mitsudera, Tatsuo Motoi, Ichiro Ishikawa, Kay I. Ohshima, and Masaaki Wakatsuchi

Abstract

Using oceanographic observations and an eddy-resolving ice–ocean coupled model simulation from 1955 to 2004, the effects of the wind-driven ocean circulation change that occurred in the late 1970s during multidecadal-scale freshening of the North Pacific Intermediate Water (NPIW) at salinity minimum density (~26.8 σ θ) were investigated. An analysis of the observations revealed that salinity decreased significantly at the density range of 26.6–26.8 σ θ in the western subtropical gyre, including the mixed water region (MWR). The temporal variability of the salinity is dominated by the marked change in the late 1970s. With results similar to the observations, the model, selectively forced by the interannual variability of the wind-driven ocean circulation, simulated significant freshening of the intermediate layer over the subtropical gyre. The significant freshening is related to the increase in southward transport of the Oyashio associated with the intensification of the Aleutian low. Accompanying these changes, the intrusion of fresh and low potential vorticity water, originating in the Okhotsk Sea, to the MWR increased, and the freshening signal propagated farther southward in the western subtropical gyre during the subsequent 6 yr, crossing the Kuroshio Extension. These results indicate that the multidecadal-scale freshening of the NPIW is partly caused by intensification of the wind-driven cross-gyre transport of the subarctic water to the subtropical gyre.

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Ryusuke Masunaga, Hisashi Nakamura, Takafumi Miyasaka, Kazuaki Nishii, and Youichi Tanimoto

Abstract

Mesoscale structures of the wintertime marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) as climatological imprints of oceanic fronts within the Kuroshio–Oyashio Extension (KOE) region east of Japan are investigated by taking advantage of high horizontal resolution of the ERA-Interim global atmospheric reanalysis data, for which the resolution of sea surface temperature (SST) data has been improved. These imprints, including locally enhanced sensible and latent heat fluxes and local maxima in cloudiness and precipitation in association with locally strengthened surface-wind convergence in the vicinities of SST fronts along the warm Kuroshio Extension and cool Oyashio to its north, are also identified in high-resolution satellite data. In addition to these mesoscale MABL features, meridionally confined near-surface baroclinic zones and zonally oriented sea level pressure (SLP) minima associated with the dual SST fronts are represented in ERA-Interim only in the period of high-resolution SST, but those imprints of the Oyashio front are missing in the low-resolution SST period. In the presence of the prevailing monsoonal northerlies, latitudinal displacements of the SLP trough, baroclinic zone, and the peak meridional gradient of the turbulent heat fluxes from each of the corresponding SST fronts are also found to be sensitive to the frontal width that depends on the SST resolution. The analysis herein suggests that the converging surface northerlies into the SLP minima can contribute positively to the formation of a surface baroclinic zone along the Kuroshio Extension, while a stronger baroclinic zone along the Oyashio front is maintained primarily through the pronounced cross-frontal contrast in sensible heat release from the ocean.

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Dimitry Smirnov, Matthew Newman, Michael A. Alexander, Young-Oh Kwon, and Claude Frankignoul

Abstract

The local atmospheric response to a realistic shift of the Oyashio Extension SST front in the western North Pacific is analyzed using a high-resolution (HR; 0.25°) version of the global Community Atmosphere Model, version 5 (CAM5). A northward shift in the SST front causes an atmospheric response consisting of a weak surface wind anomaly but a strong vertical circulation extending throughout the troposphere. In the lower troposphere, most of the SST anomaly–induced diabatic heating is balanced by poleward transient eddy heat and moisture fluxes. Collectively, this response differs from the circulation suggested by linear dynamics, where extratropical SST forcing produces shallow anomalous heating balanced by strong equatorward cold air advection driven by an anomalous, stationary surface low to the east. This latter response, however, is obtained by repeating the same experiment except using a relatively low-resolution (LR; 1°) version of CAM5. Comparison to observations suggests that the HR response is closer to nature than the LR response. Strikingly, HR and LR experiments have almost identical vertical profiles of . However, diagnosis of the diabatic quasigeostrophic vertical pressure velocity (ω) budget reveals that HR has a substantially stronger response, which together with upper-level mean differential thermal advection balances stronger vertical motion. The results herein suggest that changes in transient eddy heat and moisture fluxes are critical to the overall local atmospheric response to Oyashio Front anomalies, which may consequently yield a stronger downstream response. These changes may require the high resolution to be fully reproduced, warranting further experiments of this type with other high-resolution atmosphere-only and fully coupled GCMs.

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Yuta Ando, Masayo Ogi, and Yoshihiro Tachibana

Abstract

Negative Arctic Oscillation (AO) and western Pacific (WP) indices persisted from October to December 2012 in the Northern Hemisphere. For the first time, the monthly AO and WP were both negative for three consecutive months since records have been kept. Although in general negative AO and WP phases cause Siberia, East Asia, and Japan to be abnormally cold, Japan was relatively warm in October 2012 even though both the AO and WP were strongly negative. The temperature of the Sea of Japan reached a record-breaking high in October 2012, and it was found that heating by these very warm waters, despite the small size of the Sea of Japan, overwhelmed the cooling effect of the strongly negative AO and WP in October. Linear regression analyses showed that Japan tends to be warm in years when the Sea of Japan is warm. Consequently, the temperature over Japan is controlled by interannual variations of small-scale oceanic phenomena as well as by large-scale atmospheric patterns. Previous studies have ignored such small-scale oceanic influences on island temperatures.

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Youichi Tanimoto, Kou Shimoyama, and Shoichi Mori

Abstract

This paper describes a new initiative in which in situ observations of the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) are made by a helicopter shuttle connecting six islands south of Tokyo. This observation method aims to make frequent measurements of temperature and moisture in the MABL across an ocean front, where direct measurements of the MABL have been limited. An onboard observation system to meet flight regulations was developed. Observed temperature and moisture as a function of pressure at 1-s intervals provided vertical profiles up to the 900-hPa level above each of the islands, from 24 December 2010 to 6 April 2011, with the exception of an accidental power down in mid-February 2011. The observed values are validated by intercomparison with surface measurements from weather stations, atmospheric soundings, and mesoscale weather analysis provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency. Temperature and moisture values obtained using the system described here at the surface are significantly correlated with those from the weather station. The meridional changes revealed by the observed vertical profiles depict rich MABL structures, such as a cold-air intrusion and a strong near-surface inversion, that are not captured by the mesoscale weather analysis. However, this discrepancy is probably due to insufficient treatment in the mesoscale numerical model rather than observational errors. Additional intercomparisons indicate no influence from either artificial mixing by the helicopter rotor or by dynamic pressure caused by the fast-moving helicopter when obtaining the vertical profiles. Following these validations, the continuation of the initiative will allow for examining the influence of the ocean front on the overlying MABL on a synoptic time scale.

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Kohei Takatama, Shoshiro Minobe, Masaru Inatsu, and R. Justin Small

Abstract

The mechanisms acting on near-surface winds over the Gulf Stream are diagnosed using 5-yr outputs of a regional atmospheric model. The diagnostics for the surface-layer momentum vector, its curl, and its convergence are developed with a clear separation of pressure adjustment from downward momentum inputs from aloft in the surface-layer system. The results suggest that the downward momentum mixing mechanism plays a dominant role in contributing to the annual-mean climatological momentum curl, whereas the pressure adjustment mechanism plays a minor role. In contrast, the wind convergence is mainly due to the pressure adjustment mechanism. This can be explained by the orientation of background wind to the sea surface temperature front. The diagnostics also explain the relatively strong seasonal variation in surface-layer momentum convergence and the small seasonal variation in curl. Finally, the surface-layer response to other western boundary currents is examined using a reanalysis dataset.

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Peter Gaube, Dudley B. Chelton, Roger M. Samelson, Michael G. Schlax, and Larry W. O’Neill

Abstract

Three mechanisms for self-induced Ekman pumping in the interiors of mesoscale ocean eddies are investigated. The first arises from the surface stress that occurs because of differences between surface wind and ocean velocities, resulting in Ekman upwelling and downwelling in the cores of anticyclones and cyclones, respectively. The second mechanism arises from the interaction of the surface stress with the surface current vorticity gradient, resulting in dipoles of Ekman upwelling and downwelling. The third mechanism arises from eddy-induced spatial variability of sea surface temperature (SST), which generates a curl of the stress and therefore Ekman pumping in regions of crosswind SST gradients. The spatial structures and relative magnitudes of the three contributions to eddy-induced Ekman pumping are investigated by collocating satellite-based measurements of SST, geostrophic velocity, and surface winds to the interiors of eddies identified from their sea surface height signatures. On average, eddy-induced Ekman pumping velocities approach O(10) cm day−1. SST-induced Ekman pumping is usually secondary to the two current-induced mechanisms for Ekman pumping. Notable exceptions are the midlatitude extensions of western boundary currents and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, where SST gradients are strong and all three mechanisms for eddy-induced Ekman pumping are comparable in magnitude. Because the polarity of current-induced curl of the surface stress opposes that of the eddy, the associated Ekman pumping attenuates the eddies. The decay time scale of this attenuation is proportional to the vertical scale of the eddy and inversely proportional to the wind speed. For typical values of these parameters, the decay time scale is about 1.3 yr.

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Shusaku Sugimoto

Abstract

Variations in the turbulent heat flux (THF; the sum of the sensible and latent heat fluxes) in the eastern Kuroshio–Oyashio confluence region (EKOCR; 36°–40°N, 155°–160°E) were investigated over a period of 27 consecutive winters (December–February) from 1985/86 to 2011/12. The THF was calculated from a bulk formula using daily variables [surface wind speed, surface air specific humidity, surface air temperature, and sea surface temperature (SST)] of the objectively analyzed air–sea fluxes (OAFlux) dataset and bulk coefficients based on the Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) bulk flux algorithm 3.0. The winter THF over the EKOCR showed low-frequency variations, with larger THF values in the early 2000s and smaller values in the late 1990s and late 2000s. The heat release in the early 2000s was up to ~40% greater than that in the late 1990s and late 2000s. By performing experiments using combinations of daily raw data values and daily climatological data, the relative contributions of SST, surface air specific humidity, surface air temperature, and surface wind speed were quantitatively assessed in determining the THF over the EKOCR. Results showed that SST predominantly determines the THF: large amounts of heat are released during times of positive SST anomalies. By using Argo float (temperature–salinity) profiles of 2003–12 and a satellite altimetry dataset of 1992–2012, it was found that the warm–salty water transported by an occurrence of the Kuroshio bifurcation was responsible for the generation of positive SST anomalies in the EKOCR.

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