Browse

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 7,219 items for :

  • Journal of Physical Oceanography x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All
Roy Barkan
,
Kaushik Srinivasan
, and
James C. McWilliams

Abstract

The interactions between oceanic mesoscale eddies, submesoscale currents, and internal gravity waves (IWs) are investigated in submesoscale-resolving realistic simulations in the North Atlantic Ocean. Using a novel analysis framework that couples the coarse-graining method in space with temporal filtering and a Helmholtz decomposition, we quantify the effects of the interactions on the cross-scale kinetic energy (KE) and enstrophy fluxes. By systematically comparing solutions with and without IW forcing, we show that externally forced IWs stimulate a reduction in the KE inverse cascade associated with mesoscale rotational motions and an enhancement in the KE forward cascade associated with divergent submesoscale currents, i.e., a “stimulated cascade” process. The corresponding IW effects on the enstrophy fluxes are seasonally dependent, with a stimulated reduction (enhancement) in the forward enstrophy cascade during summer (winter). Direct KE and enstrophy transfers from currents to IWs are also found, albeit with weaker magnitudes compared with the stimulated cascades. We further find that the forward KE and enstrophy fluxes associated with IW motions are almost entirely driven by the scattering of the waves by the rotational eddy field, rather than by wave–wave interactions. This process is investigated in detail in a companion manuscript. Finally, we demonstrate that the stimulated cascades are spatially localized in coherent structures. Specifically, the magnitude and direction of the bidirectional KE fluxes at submesoscales are highly correlated with, and inversely proportional to, divergence-dominated circulations, and the inverse KE fluxes at mesoscales are highly correlated with strain-dominated circulations. The predominantly forward enstrophy fluxes in both seasons are also correlated with strain-dominated flow structures.

Restricted access
Anda Vladoiu
,
Ren-Chieh Lien
, and
Eric Kunze

Abstract

Shipboard ADCP velocity and towed CTD chain density measurements from the eastern North Pacific pycnocline are used to segregate energy between linear internal waves (IW) and linear vortical motion [quasigeostrophy (QG)] in 2D wavenumber space spanning submesoscale horizontal wavelengths λx ∼ 1–50 km and finescale vertical wavelengths λz ∼ 7–100 m. Helmholtz decomposition and a new Burger number (Bu) decomposition yield similar results despite different methodologies. While these wavelengths are conventionally attributed to internal waves, both QG and IW contribute significantly at all measured scales. Partition between IW and QG total energies depends on Bu. For Bu < 0.01, available potential energy EP exceeds horizontal kinetic energy EK and is contributed mostly by QG. In contrast, energy is nearly equipartitioned between QG and IW for Bu ≫ 1. For Bu < 2, EK is contributed mainly by IW, and EP by QG, while, for Bu > 2, contributions are reversed. Finescale near-inertial IW dominate vertical shear variance, implying negligible QG contribution to vertical shear instability. In contrast, both QG and IW at the smallest λx ∼ 1 km contribute large horizontal shear variance, so that both may lead to horizontal shear instability, while QG, with its longer time scales, likely dominates isopycnal stirring. Both QG and IW contribute to vortex stretching at small vertical scales. For QG, the relative vorticity contribution to linear potential vorticity anomaly increases with decreasing horizontal and increasing vertical scales.

Open access
Takuro Matsuta
and
Humio Mitsudera

Abstract

Recent studies have shown that the sensitivity of the circumpolar transport of channels to the westerlies is controlled by wind-driven gyre circulations. Although the form stress associated with the gyres has been shown to be controlled by eddies, bottom friction, and topographic width, the role of inertial effects has not been fully understood. In this study, we conduct a series of sensitivity analyses using the barotropic model with and without the advection term (hereinafter, the model without the advection term is denoted as linear model). Experiments showed that the sensitivity of the circumpolar transport decreased under the westerly winds compared to the linear model, while it increased under the easterly winds. We show that the inertial effect of western boundary currents generates anomalous anticyclonic circulations over the topography, producing the westward topographic form stress anomalies regardless of the wind directions. In addition, we discuss the sensitivity of the inertial effect mechanism to topographic height, width, and geometries. The inertial effect mechanism is robust as long as the gyre circulations dominate while its relative importance changes. We also found that the dynamics of the barotropic channel strongly depend on the geometries of geostrophic contours f/h. Therefore, we conclude that the dynamics of barotropic channel models might be interpreted with caution to understand the dynamics of the Southern Ocean.

Significance Statement

Previous studies have studied baroclinic and barotropic channel models as a benchmark of the Southern Ocean, but the nonlinear dynamics of channels have not been fully understood. In this paper, we show that the inertial effect by the mean flow works to decrease the sensitivity to the westerly winds in the barotropic channel models using numerical experiments. We also show that the inertial effect is robust as long as gyre circulations exist, while its relative importance differs.

Restricted access
Wenda Zhang
,
Stephen M. Griffies
,
Robert W. Hallberg
,
Yi-Hung Kuo
, and
Christopher L. P. Wolfe

Abstract

The vertical structure of ocean eddies is generally surface-intensified, commonly attributed to the dominant baroclinic modes arising from the boundary conditions (BCs). Conventional BC considerations mostly focus on either flat- or rough-bottom conditions. The impact of surface buoyancy anomalies—often represented by surface potential vorticity (PV) anomalies—has not been fully explored. Here, we study the role of the surface PV in setting the vertical distribution of eddy kinetic energy (EKE) in an idealized adiabatic ocean model driven by wind stress. The simulated EKE profile in the extratropical ocean tends to peak at the surface and have an e-folding depth typically smaller than half of the ocean depth. This vertical structure can be reasonably represented by a single surface quasigeostrophic (SQG) mode at the energy-containing scale resulting from the large-scale PV structure. Due to isopycnal outcropping and interior PV homogenization, the surface meridional PV gradient is substantially stronger than the interior PV gradient, yielding surface-trapped baroclinically unstable modes with horizontal scales comparable to or smaller than the deformation radius. These surface-trapped eddies then grow in size both horizontally and vertically through an inverse energy cascade up to the energy-containing scale, which dominates the vertical distribution of EKE. As for smaller horizontal scales, the EKE distribution decays faster with depth. Guided by this interpretation, an SQG-based scale-aware parameterization of the EKE profile is proposed. Preliminary offline diagnosis of a high-resolution simulation shows the proposed scheme successfully reproducing the dependence of the vertical structure of EKE on the horizontal grid resolution.

Restricted access
T. Sohail
and
J. D. Zika

Abstract

The ocean surrounding Antarctica, also known as the Antarctic margins, is characterized by complex and heterogeneous process interactions, which have major impacts on the global climate. A common way to understand changes in the Antarctic margins is to categorize regions into similar “regimes,” thereby guiding process-based studies and observational analyses. However, this categorization is traditionally largely subjective and based on temperature, density, and bathymetric criteria that are bespoke to the dataset being analyzed. In this work, we introduce a method to classify Antarctic shelf regimes using unsupervised learning. We apply Gaussian mixture modeling to the across-shelf temperature and salinity properties along the Antarctic margins from a high-resolution ocean model, ACCESS-OM2-01. Three clusters are found to be optimum based on the Bayesian information criterion and an assessment of regime properties. The three clusters correspond to the fresh, dense, and warm regimes identified canonically via subjective approaches. Our analysis allows us to track changes to these regimes in a future projection of the ACCESS-OM2-01 model. We identify the future collapse of dense water formation, and the merging of dense and fresh shelf regions into a single fresh regime that covers the entirety of the Antarctic shelf except for the West Antarctic. Our assessment of these clusters indicates that the Antarctic margins may shift into a two-regime system in the future, consisting only of a strengthening warm shelf in the West Antarctic and a fresh shelf regime everywhere else.

Significance Statement

The Antarctic margins are characterized by complex interactions of surface and ocean processes, producing distinct regions or “regimes.” Understanding where these regimes are and their future state is critical to understanding climate change. Based on a subjective assessment of ocean conditions, past research has identified fresh, dense, and warm regimes in the Antarctic margins. In this work, we use an unsupervised classification tool, Gaussian mixture modeling, to objectively identify the location of regimes around the Antarctic margins. Our method detects three regimes in an ocean model, which match the location of subjectively identified fresh, dense, and warm regimes, and indicates a future shrinking of the dense regime. Our method is adaptable to multiple datasets, enabling us to identify trends and processes in the Antarctic margins.

Open access
Qiang Wang

Abstract

The Arctic Beaufort Gyre plays a critical role in climate and marine ecosystems. This study investigates the response of the liquid freshwater in the Beaufort Gyre to various wind perturbations using numerical simulations. A new diagnostic called “freshwater renewal” is introduced, which quantifies the amount of freshwater that has entered the Beaufort Gyre since a specific point in time. The findings reveal that the process of freshwater renewal is persistently efficient in the Beaufort Gyre region, occurring irrespective of the gyre’s status. The spatial distribution of freshwater renewal varies, influenced by factors such as wind forcing and gyre circulation patterns. Cyclonic wind perturbation associated with a negative Beaufort high sea level pressure anomaly triggers freshwater release from the Beaufort Gyre, with freshwater export and renewal dependent on wind-perturbation locations and time scales. While some released Beaufort Gyre freshwater exits the Arctic Ocean through the Davis and Fram Straits, a considerable portion could remain within the Arctic Ocean for many years under specific conditions. Wind perturbation associated with the positive Arctic Oscillation enhances the Arctic export of Beaufort Gyre freshwater, mainly through the Fram Strait. The Arctic export of total freshwater and the Arctic export of the portion originating from the Beaufort Gyre have different time scales and magnitudes. Hence, it is essential to collectively examine different freshwater components in order to assess the role of Arctic export in the climate system.

Open access
D. A. Cherian
,
Y. Guo
, and
F. O. Bryan

Abstract

We assess the representation of mesoscale stirring in a suite of models against an estimate derived from microstructure data collected during the North Atlantic Tracer Release Experiment (NATRE). We draw heavily from the approximate temperature variance budget framework of Ferrari and Polzin. This framework assumes two sources of temperature variance away from boundaries: first, the vertical stirring of the large-scale mean vertical gradient by small-scale turbulence; and second, the lateral stirring of large-scale mean along-isopycnal gradients by mesoscale eddies. Temperature variance so produced is transformed and on average transferred down scales for ultimate dissipation at the microscale at a rate χ estimated using microstructure observations. Ocean models represent these pathways by a vertical mixing parameterization, and an along-isopycnal lateral mixing parameterization (if needed). We assess the rate of variance production by the latter as a residual from the NATRE dataset and compare against the parameterized representations in a suite of model simulations. We find that variance production due to lateral stirring in a Parallel Ocean Program version 2 (POP2) 1/10° simulation agrees well, to within the estimated error bars, with that inferred from the NATRE estimate. A POP2 1° simulation and the Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean Version 4 release 4 (ECCOV4r4) simulation appear to dissipate an order of magnitude too much variance by applying a lateral diffusivity, when compared to the NATRE estimate, particularly below 1250 m. The ECCOV4r4-adjusted lateral diffusivities are elevated where the microstructure suggests elevated χ sourced from mesoscale stirring. Such elevated values are absent in other diffusivity estimates suggesting the possibility of compensating errors and caution in interpreting ECCOV4r4’s adjusted lateral diffusivities.

Significance Statement

We look at whether microstructure turbulence observations can provide a useful metric for judging the fidelity of representation of mesoscale stirring in a suite of models. We focus on the region of the North Atlantic Tracer Release Experiment (NATRE), the site of a major ocean turbulence observation campaign, and use an approximate variance budget framework for the region with observational estimates from Ferrari and Polzin (2005). The approach provides a novel framework to evaluate the approximate representation of mesoscale stirring in a variety of models.

Open access
Alejandra Sanchez-Rios
,
R. Kipp Shearman
,
Craig M. Lee
,
Harper L. Simmons
,
Louis St. Laurent
,
Andrew J. Lucas
,
Takashi Ijichi
, and
Sen Jan

Abstract

The Kuroshio occasionally carries warm and salty North Pacific Water into fresher waters of the South China Sea, forming a front with a complex temperature–salinity (TS) structure to the west of the Luzon Strait. In this study, we examine the TS interleavings formed by alternating layers of North Pacific Water with South China Sea Water in a front formed during the winter monsoon season of 2014. Using observations from a glider array following a free-floating wave-powered vertical profiling float to calculate the fine-scale parameters Turner angle, Tu, and Richardson number, Ri, we identified areas favorable to double-diffusion convection and shear instability observed in a TS interleaving. We evaluated the contribution of double-diffusion convection and shear instabilities to the thermal variance diffusivity, χ, using microstructure data and compared it with previous parameterization schemes based on fine-scale properties. We discover that turbulent mixing is not accurately parameterized when both Tu and Ri are within critical ranges (Tu > 60; Ri < ¼). In particular, χ associated with salt finger processes was an order of magnitude higher (6.7 × 10−7 K2 s−1) than in regions where only velocity shear was likely to drive mixing (8.7 × 10−8 K2 s−1).

Restricted access
Ellie Q. Y. Ong
,
Edward Doddridge
,
Navid C. Constantinou
,
Andrew McC. Hogg
, and
Matthew H. England

Abstract

The structure of the Antarctic Slope Current at the continental shelf is crucial in governing the poleward transport of warm water. Canyons on the continental slope may provide a pathway for warm water to cross the slope current and intrude onto the continental shelf underneath ice shelves, which can increase rates of ice shelf melting, leading to reduced buttressing of ice shelves, accelerating glacial flow and hence increased sea level rise. Observations and modeling studies of the Antarctic Slope Current and cross-shelf warm water intrusions are limited, particularly in the East Antarctica region. To explore this topic, an idealized configuration of the Antarctic Slope Current is developed, using an eddy-resolving isopycnal model that emulates the dynamics and topography of the East Antarctic sector. Warm water intrusions via canyons are found to occur in discrete episodes of large onshore flow induced by eddies, even in the absence of any temporal variability in external forcings, demonstrating the intrinsic nature of these intrusions to the slope current system. Canyon width is found to play a key role in modulating cross-shelf exchanges; warm water transport through narrower canyons is more irregular than transport through wider canyons. The intrinsically episodic cross-shelf transport is found to be driven by feedbacks between wind energy input and eddy generation in the Antarctic Slope Current. Improved understanding of the intrinsic variability of warm water intrusions can help guide future observational and modeling studies in the analysis of eddy impacts on Antarctic shelf circulation.

Restricted access
Anyifang Zhang
and
Xiping Yu

Abstract

Accurate estimation of the wind stress under extreme conditions is crucial for modeling storm surges and storm waves, which is important to the development of a warning system for coastal disaster prevention. The problem, however, is highly challenging owing to the presence of complex ocean surface processes under the action of unusually strong wind. In this study, the existing atmospheric wave boundary layer model is significantly enhanced by including various effects of wave breaking. Both the effect of wave breaking on the dissipation of energy and its effect on the transfer of momentum within the atmospheric boundary layer are carefully formulated. The wind stress coefficients obtained with the enhanced model are shown to be in good agreement with the measurements in not only deep but also shallow waters. The enhanced atmospheric wave boundary layer model is coupled with ocean wave as well as circulation models to simulate typhoon-induced storm surges and storm waves in the Pearl River delta region. The computational results show that the coupled model with improved evaluation of the wind stress is substantially advantageous when compared with existing approaches.

Restricted access