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Jan D. Zika, Jonathan M. Gregory, Elaine L. McDonagh, Alice Marzocchi, and Louis Clément

Abstract

Over 90% of the buildup of additional heat in the Earth system over recent decades is contained in the ocean. Since 2006, new observational programs have revealed heterogeneous patterns of ocean heat content change. It is unclear how much of this heterogeneity is due to heat being added to and mixed within the ocean leading to material changes in water mass properties or is due to changes in circulation that redistribute existing water masses. Here we present a novel diagnosis of the “material” and “redistributed” contributions to regional heat content change between 2006 and 2017 that is based on a new “minimum transformation method” informed by both water mass transformation and optimal transportation theory. We show that material warming has large spatial coherence. The material change tends to be smaller than the redistributed change at any geographical location; however, it sums globally to the net warming of the ocean, whereas the redistributed component sums, by design, to zero. Material warming is robust over the time period of this analysis, whereas the redistributed signal only emerges from the variability in a few regions. In the North Atlantic Ocean, water mass changes indicate substantial material warming while redistribution cools the subpolar region as a result of a slowdown in the meridional overturning circulation. Warming in the Southern Ocean is explained by material warming and by anomalous southward heat transport of 118 ± 50 TW through redistribution. Our results suggest that near-term projections of ocean heat content change and therefore sea level change will hinge on understanding and predicting changes in ocean redistribution.

Open access
Stacy E. Porter, Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Lonnie G. Thompson, and Aaron B. Wilson

Abstract

Using an assemblage of four ice cores collected around the Pacific basin, one of the first basinwide histories of Pacific climate variability has been created. This ice core–derived index of the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO) incorporates ice core records from South America, the Himalayas, the Antarctic Peninsula, and northwestern North America. The reconstructed IPO is annually resolved and dates to 1450 CE. The IPO index compares well with observations during the instrumental period and with paleo-proxy assimilated datasets throughout the entire record, which indicates a robust and temporally stationary IPO signal for the last ~550 years. Paleoclimate reconstructions from the tropical Pacific region vary greatly during the Little Ice Age (LIA), although the reconstructed IPO index in this study suggests that the LIA was primarily defined by a weak, negative IPO phase and hence more La Niña–like conditions. Although the mean state of the tropical Pacific Ocean during the LIA remains uncertain, the reconstructed IPO reveals some interesting dynamical relationships with the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). In the current warm period, a positive (negative) IPO coincides with an expansion (contraction) of the seasonal latitudinal range of the ITCZ. This relationship is not stationary, however, and is virtually absent throughout the LIA, suggesting that external forcing, such as that from volcanoes and/or reduced solar irradiance, could be driving either the ITCZ shifts or the climate dominating the ice core sites used in the IPO reconstruction.

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Richard G. Williams, Anna Katavouta, and Vassil Roussenov

Abstract

Projected changes in ocean heat and carbon storage are assessed in terms of the added and redistributed tracer using a transport-based framework, which is applied to an idealized climate model and a suite of six CMIP5 Earth system models following an annual 1% rise in atmospheric CO2. Heat and carbon budgets for the added and redistributed tracer are used to explain opposing regional patterns in the storage of ocean heat and carbon anomalies, such as in the tropics and subpolar North Atlantic, and the relatively reduced storage within the Southern Ocean. Here the added tracer takes account of the net tracer source and the advection of the added tracer by the circulation, while the redistributed tracer takes account of the time-varying circulation advecting the preindustrial tracer distribution. The added heat and carbon often have a similar sign to each other with the net source usually acting to supply the tracer. In contrast, the redistributed heat and carbon consistently have an opposing sign to each other due to the opposing gradients in the preindustrial temperature and carbon. These different signs in heat and carbon redistribution can lead to regional asymmetries in the climate-driven changes in ocean heat and carbon storage. For a weakening in the Atlantic overturning and strengthening in the Southern Ocean residual circulation, the high latitudes are expected to have heat anomalies of variable sign and carbon anomalies of a consistently positive sign, since added and redistributed tracers are opposing in sign for heat and the same sign for carbon there.

Open access
Yen-Ting Hwang, Hung-Yi Tseng, Kuan-Chen Li, Sarah M. Kang, Yung-Jen Chen, and John C. H. Chiang

Abstract

This study investigates the transient responses of atmospheric energy and momentum fluxes to a time-invariant extratropical thermal heating in an atmospheric model coupled to an aquaplanet mixed layer ocean with the goal of understanding the mechanisms and time scales governing the extratropical-to-tropical connection. Two distinct stages are observed in the teleconnection: 1) A decrease in the meridional temperature gradient in midlatitudes leads to a rapid weakening of the eddy momentum flux and a slight reduction of the Hadley cell strength in the forced hemisphere. 2) The subtropical trades in the forced hemisphere decrease and reduce evaporation. The resulting change to sea surface temperature leads to the development of a cross-equatorial Hadley cell, and the intertropical convergence zone shifts to the warmer hemisphere. The Hadley cell weakening in the first stage is related to decreased eddy momentum flux divergence, and the response time scale is independent of the mixed layer depth. In contrast, the time taken for the development of the cross-equatorial cell in the latter stage increases as the mixed layer depth increases. Once developed, the deep tropical cross-equatorial cell response is an order of magnitude stronger than the initial subtropical response and dominates the anomalous circulation. The analysis combines the momentum and energetic perspectives on this extratropical-to-tropical teleconnection and moreover shows that the subtropical circulation changes associated with the momentum budget occur with a time scale that is distinct from the deep tropical response determined by the thermal inertia of the tropical ocean.

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Seiji Kato and Fred G. Rose

Abstract

This reply addresses a comment on the study by Kato and Rose (herein referred to as KR2020). The comment raises four points of criticism. These are 1) on notations used, 2) on a steady-state assumption made, 3) on the result of entropy production change with Earth’s albedo, and 4) disputing the statement that a simple energy balance model cannot produce absorption temperature change with Earth’s albedo. We concur on points 2 and 3 raised by the comment and recognize the significance of entropy storage due to ocean heating in the analysis of how entropy production changes with the shortwave absorptivity of Earth. Once entropy storage is considered, the results of KR2020 indicate that the increase of entropy production rate by irreversible processes, including by radiative processes, is smaller than the increase of entropy storage when absorptivity is increased. This is a manifestation of the primary contribution of positive top-of-atmosphere net irradiances (i.e., energy input to Earth) to heating the ocean and is consistent with an energy budget perspective. Once entropy storage is separated, the entropy production by irreversible processes increases with the shortwave absorptivity.

Open access
Tsz-Kin Lai, Eric A. Hendricks, M. K. Yau, and Konstantinos Menelaou

Abstract

Intense tropical cyclones (TCs) often experience secondary eyewall formations and the ensuing eyewall replacement cycles. Better understanding of the underlying dynamics is crucial to make improvements to the TC intensity and structure forecasting. Radar imagery of some double-eyewall TCs and a real-case simulation study indicated that the barotropic instability (BI) across the moat (aka type-2 BI) may play a role in inner eyewall decay. A three-dimensional numerical study accompanying this paper pointed out that type-2 BI is able to withdraw the inner eyewall absolute angular momentum (AAM) and increase the outer eyewall AAM through the eddy radial transport of eddy AAM. This paper explores the reason why the eddy radial transport of eddy AAM is intrinsically nonzero. Linear and nonlinear shallow water experiments are performed and they produce expected evolutions under type-2 BI. It will be shown that only nonlinear experiments have changes in AAM over the inner and outer eyewalls, and the changes solely originate from the eddy radial transport of eddy AAM. This result highlights the importance of nonlinearity of type-2 BI. Based on the distribution of vorticity perturbations and the balanced-waves arguments, it will be demonstrated that the nonzero eddy radial transport of eddy AAM is an essential outcome from the intrinsic interaction between the mutually growing vortex Rossby waves across the moat under type-2 BI. The analyses of the most unstable mode support the findings and will further attribute the inner eyewall decay and outer eyewall intensification to the divergence and convergence of the eddy angular momentum flux, respectively.

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Yen-Ting Hwang and Po-Chun Chung

Abstract

This study explores the seasonal sensitivity of tropical circulation responses to an idealized extratropical thermal forcing using the Community Atmosphere Model version 5 coupled to a slab ocean. The thermal heating over the Southern Ocean is held constant, and the tropical responses in each month of the year are investigated. An anomalous cross-equatorial cell and a southward tropical rain belt shift occur every month. The anomalous cross-equatorial cell has a strong influence on the strengths of the Hadley cell and the subtropical jet in the winter hemisphere; in contrast, it has nearly no impact on the Hadley cell and the subtropical jet strengths in the summer hemisphere. The seasonal variation of the anomalous cross-equatorial cell is small (30% of the annual mean change), and could be understood via the energetic and the sea surface temperature gradient perspectives. Both perspectives point to the seasonality of the anomalous ocean heat uptake within the deep tropics as the key factor explaining the weak seasonality of the anomalous cross-equatorial cell. We propose a hypothesis explaining about 75% of this seasonal variation via the climatological position of the ITCZ relative to the anomalous cross-equatorial cell. The results suggest a modest seasonality in tropical precipitation and circulation responses to extratropical forcing. Also, such seasonality may be partly predicted by the climatological seasonal cycle of the tropical circulations.

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V. Krishnamurthy, Jessica Meixner, Lydia Stefanova, Jiande Wang, Denise Worthen, Shrinivas Moorthi, Bin Li, Travis Sluka, and Cristiana Stan

Abstract

The predictability of the Unified Forecast System (UFS) Coupled Model Prototype 2 developed by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction is assessed for the boreal summer over the continental United States (CONUS). The retrospective forecasts of low-level horizontal wind, precipitation and 2-m temperature for 2011–17 are examined to determine the predictability at subseasonal time scale. Using a data-adaptive method, the leading modes of variability are obtained and identified to be related to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), intraseasonal oscillation (ISO), and warming trend. In a new approach, the sources of enhanced predictability are identified by examining the forecast errors and correlations in the weekly averages of the leading modes of variability. During the boreal summer, the ISO followed by the trend in UFS are found to provide better predictability in weeks 1–4 compared to the ENSO mode and the total anomaly. The western CONUS seems to have better predictability on weekly time scale in all three modes.

Open access
Motoki Nagura

Abstract

This study investigates spreading and generation of spiciness anomalies of the Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW) located on 26.6 to 26.8 σ θ in the south Indian Ocean, using in situ hydrographic observations, satellite measurements, reanalysis datasets, and numerical model output. The amplitude of spiciness anomalies is about 0.03 psu or 0.13°C and tends to be large along the streamline of the subtropical gyre, whose upstream end is the outcrop region south of Australia. The speed of spreading is comparable to that of the mean current, and it takes about a decade for a spiciness anomaly in the outcrop region to spread into the interior up to Madagascar. In the outcrop region, interannual variability in mixed layer temperature and salinity tends to be density compensating, which indicates that Eulerian temperature or salinity changes account for the generation of isopycnal spiciness anomalies. It is known that wintertime temperature and salinity in the surface mixed layer determine the temperature and salinity relationship of a subducted water mass. Considering this, the mixed layer heat budget in the outcrop region is estimated based on the concept of effective mixed layer depth, the result of which shows the primary contribution from horizontal advection. The contributions from Ekman and geostrophic currents are comparable. Ekman flow advection is caused by zonal wind stress anomalies and the resulting meridional Ekman current anomalies, as is pointed out by a previous study. Geostrophic velocity is decomposed into large-scale and mesoscale variability, both of which significantly contribute to horizontal advection.

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Yuhui Li, Yun Qiu, Jianyu Hu, Cherry Aung, Xinyu Lin, Chunsheng Jing, and Junpeng Zhang

ABSTRACT

Multisource satellite remote sensing data have been used to analyze the strong upwelling event off the southern coast of Sri Lanka in 2013 and its relationship with Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) events. The upwelling area in 2013 is 5.7 times larger than that in a normal year and lasts from June to August, with the peaks of the cooling anomaly reaching −1.5°C and the positive chlorophyll a concentration anomaly exceeding 3.1 mg m−3. In 2013, the negative unseasonable IOD (IODJJA) event enhances the southwest monsoon, while the blocking of the monsoon wind by the island results in a stronger westerly/northwesterly wind stress off the southern coast of Sri Lanka and a weaker westerly/northwesterly wind stress over the eastern Sri Lanka waters. This causes stronger offshore transport and positive Ekman pumping off the southern coast, forming a strong upwelling event there. Further analysis indicates that the interannual variability of the upwelling, as represented by a newly constructed index based on satellite observations, is primarily caused by the variations of local wind associated with the IOD. The upwelling off the southern coast of Sri Lanka weakens (strengthens) in the positive (negative) IOD years. However, an analysis based on 21 IOD events during 1982–2019 demonstrates that the effects of the three types of IOD events, including IODJJA, prolonged IOD (IODLONG), and normal IOD (IODSON), on the upwelling are different. Compared to the IODSON events, the IODJJA and IODLONG events tend to have stronger influences due to their earlier developing phases.

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