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Ricardo M. Domingues
,
William E. Johns
, and
Christopher S. Meinen

Abstract

In this study, mechanisms causing year-to-year changes in the Florida Current seasonality are investigated using controlled realistic numerical experiments designed to isolate the western boundary responses to westward-propagating open ocean signals. The experiments reveal two distinct processes by which westward-propagating signals can modulate the phase of the Florida Current variability, which we refer to as the “direct” and “indirect” response mechanisms. The direct response mechanism involves a two-stage response to open ocean anticyclonic eddies characterized by the direct influence of Rossby wave barotropic anomalies and baroclinic wall jets that propagate through Northwest Providence Channel. In the indirect response mechanism, open ocean signals act as small perturbations to the stochastic Gulf Stream variability downstream, which are then transmitted upstream to the Florida Straits through baroclinic coastally trapped signals that can rapidly travel along the U.S. East Coast. Experiments indicate that westward-propagating eddies play a key role in modulating the phase of the Florida Current variability, but not the amplitude, which is determined by its intrinsic variability in our simulations. Results from this study further suggest that the Antilles Current may act as a semipermeable barrier to incoming signals, favoring the interaction through the indirect response mechanism. The mechanisms reported here can be potentially linked to year-to-year changes in the seasonality of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and may also be present in other western boundary current systems.

Full access
Renellys C. Perez
,
Silvia L. Garzoli
,
Christopher S. Meinen
, and
Ricardo P. Matano

Abstract

Two ocean general circulation models are used to test the ability of geostrophic velocity measurement systems to observe the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) and meridional heat transport (MHT) in the South Atlantic. Model sampling experiments are conducted at five latitudes (between 15° and 34.5°S) spanning the range of extratropical current regimes in the South Atlantic. Two methods of estimating geopotential height anomalies and geostrophic velocities are tested, simulating dynamic height moorings (TS array) and current and pressure recording inverted echo sounders (CPIES) deployed within the models. The TS array accurately reproduces the MOC variability with a slight preference for higher latitudes, while the CPIES array has skill only at higher latitudes resulting from the increased geopotential height anomaly signal. Whether direct model velocities or geostrophic velocities are used, MHT and the MOC are strongly correlated, and successful reconstruction of MHT only occurs when there is skill in the MOC reconstructions. The geopotential height anomaly signal is concentrated near the boundaries along 34.5°S, suggesting that this is an advantageous latitude for deployment of an in situ array. Four reduced arrays that build upon the sites from two existing pilot arrays along 34.5°S were examined. For these realistically sized arrays, the MOC and MHT reconstructions from the TS and CPIES arrays have comparable skill, and an array of approximately 20 instruments can be effectively used to reproduce the temporal evolution and vertical structure of the MOC and MHT.

Full access
Pedro N. DiNezio
,
Lewis J. Gramer
,
William E. Johns
,
Christopher S. Meinen
, and
Molly O. Baringer

Abstract

The role of wind stress curl (WSC) forcing in the observed interannual variability of the Florida Current (FC) transport is investigated. Evidence is provided for baroclinic adjustment as a physical mechanism linking interannual changes in WSC forcing and changes in the circulation of the North Atlantic subtropical gyre. A continuous monthly time series of FC transport is constructed using daily transports estimated from undersea telephone cables near 27°N in the Straits of Florida. This 25-yr-long time series is linearly regressed against interannual WSC variability derived from the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis. The results indicate that a substantial fraction of the FC transport variability at 3–12-yr periods is explained by low-frequency WSC variations. A lagged regression analysis is performed to explore hypothetical adjustment times of the wind-driven circulation. The estimated lag times are at least 2 times faster than those predicted by linear beta-plane planetary wave theory. Possible reasons for this discrepancy are discussed within the context of recent observational and theoretical developments. The results are then linked with earlier findings of a low-frequency anticorrelation between FC transport and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index, showing that this relationship could result from the positive (negative) WSC anomalies that develop between 20° and 30°N in the western North Atlantic during high (low) NAO phases. Ultimately, the observed role of wind forcing on the interannual variability of the FC could represent a benchmark for current efforts to monitor and predict the North Atlantic circulation.

Full access
Christopher S. Meinen
,
Douglas S. Luther
,
D. Randolph Watts
,
Karen L. Tracey
,
Alan D. Chave
, and
James Richman

Abstract

Profiles of absolute velocity are difficult to obtain in the ocean, especially over long periods of time at the same location. This paper presents a method of estimating full water column absolute horizontal velocity profiles as a function of time by combining historical hydrography with the measurements from two separate instruments, the inverted echo sounder (IES) and the horizontal electric field recorder (HEFR). Hydrography is used to construct temperature, salinity, and specific volume anomaly characteristics as functions of the independent variables pressure and seafloor-to-sea-surface round-trip acoustic travel time (τ). Each IES measured τ is combined with these two-dimensional characteristics to estimate the profile of specific volume anomaly, which then is integrated vertically to obtain profiles of geopotential height anomaly (Δϕ). Profiles of Δϕ from adjacent IES sites are differenced to yield vertical profiles of relative geostrophic velocity. Horizontal electric fields arising from the vertically averaged horizontal water velocity provide the requisite referencing of the IES-derived relative velocities. Comparisons are presented between HEFR+IES absolute velocities in the Southern Ocean near 51°S, 143.5°E and absolute velocities determined via hydrography, acoustic Doppler current profiler, and current meter.

Full access
Gregory C. Johnson
,
Rick Lumpkin
,
Simone R. Alin
,
Dillon J. Amaya
,
Molly O. Baringer
,
Tim Boyer
,
Peter Brandt
,
Brendan R. Carter
,
Ivona Cetinić
,
Don P. Chambers
,
Lijing Cheng
,
Andrew U. Collins
,
Cathy Cosca
,
Ricardo Domingues
,
Shenfu Dong
,
Richard A. Feely
,
Eleanor Frajka-Williams
,
Bryan A. Franz
,
John Gilson
,
Gustavo Goni
,
Benjamin D. Hamlington
,
Josefine Herrford
,
Zeng-Zhen Hu
,
Boyin Huang
,
Masayoshi Ishii
,
Svetlana Jevrejeva
,
John J. Kennedy
,
Marion Kersalé
,
Rachel E. Killick
,
Peter Landschützer
,
Matthias Lankhorst
,
Eric Leuliette
,
Ricardo Locarnini
,
John M. Lyman
,
John J. Marra
,
Christopher S. Meinen
,
Mark A. Merrifield
,
Gary T. Mitchum
,
Ben I. Moat
,
R. Steven Nerem
,
Renellys C. Perez
,
Sarah G. Purkey
,
James Reagan
,
Alejandra Sanchez-Franks
,
Hillary A. Scannell
,
Claudia Schmid
,
Joel P. Scott
,
David A. Siegel
,
David A. Smeed
,
Paul W. Stackhouse
,
William Sweet
,
Philip R. Thompson
,
Joaquin A. Triñanes
,
Denis L. Volkov
,
Rik Wanninkhof
,
Robert A. Weller
,
Caihong Wen
,
Toby K. Westberry
,
Matthew J. Widlansky
,
Anne C. Wilber
,
Lisan Yu
, and
Huai-Min Zhang
Free access
Molly Baringer
,
Mariana B. Bif
,
Tim Boyer
,
Seth M. Bushinsky
,
Brendan R. Carter
,
Ivona Cetinić
,
Don P. Chambers
,
Lijing Cheng
,
Sanai Chiba
,
Minhan Dai
,
Catia M. Domingues
,
Shenfu Dong
,
Andrea J. Fassbender
,
Richard A. Feely
,
Eleanor Frajka-Williams
,
Bryan A. Franz
,
John Gilson
,
Gustavo Goni
,
Benjamin D. Hamlington
,
Zeng-Zhen Hu
,
Boyin Huang
,
Masayoshi Ishii
,
Svetlana Jevrejeva
,
William E. Johns
,
Gregory C. Johnson
,
Kenneth S. Johnson
,
John Kennedy
,
Marion Kersalé
,
Rachel E. Killick
,
Peter Landschützer
,
Matthias Lankhorst
,
Tong Lee
,
Eric Leuliette
,
Feili Li
,
Eric Lindstrom
,
Ricardo Locarnini
,
Susan Lozier
,
John M. Lyman
,
John J. Marra
,
Christopher S. Meinen
,
Mark A. Merrifield
,
Gary T. Mitchum
,
Ben Moat
,
Didier Monselesan
,
R. Steven Nerem
,
Renellys C. Perez
,
Sarah G. Purkey
,
Darren Rayner
,
James Reagan
,
Nicholas Rome
,
Alejandra Sanchez-Franks
,
Claudia Schmid
,
Joel P. Scott
,
Uwe Send
,
David A. Siegel
,
David A. Smeed
,
Sabrina Speich
,
Paul W. Stackhouse Jr.
,
William Sweet
,
Yuichiro Takeshita
,
Philip R. Thompson
,
Joaquin A. Triñanes
,
Martin Visbeck
,
Denis L. Volkov
,
Rik Wanninkhof
,
Robert A. Weller
,
Toby K. Westberry
,
Matthew J. Widlansky
,
Susan E. Wijffels
,
Anne C. Wilber
,
Lisan Yu
,
Weidong Yu
, and
Huai-Min Zhang
Free access