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Wilbert Weijer
,
Frédéric Vivier
,
Sarah T. Gille
, and
Henk A. Dijkstra

Abstract

Observations of the sea surface height in the Argentine Basin indicate that strong variability occurs on a time scale of 20−30 days. The aim of this study is to determine the physical processes responsible for this variability. First, results are presented from two statistical techniques applied to a decade of altimetric data. A complex empirical orthogonal function (CEOF) analysis identifies the recently discovered dipole mode as the dominant mode of variability. A principal oscillation pattern (POP) analysis confirms the existence of this mode, which has a period of 25 days. The second CEOF displays a propagating pattern in the northern Argentine Basin, plus a rotating dipole in the southwest corner. The POP analysis identifies both patterns as individual modes, with periods of 30 and 20 days, respectively. Second, the barotropic normal modes of the Argentine Basin are studied, using a shallow-water model capturing the full bathymetry of the basin. Coherences between the spatial patterns of these modes and altimeter data suggest that several of the basin modes are involved in the observed variability. This analysis implies that the 20-day mode detected by recent bottom-pressure measurements is a true barotropic mode. However, the 25-day variability, as found in altimeter data, cannot be directly attributed to the excitation of a free Rossby basin mode. This study indicates that the results of several apparently conflicting observations of the flow variability in the Argentine Basin can be reconciled by assuming that multiple basin modes are involved.

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Wilbert Weijer
,
Frédéric Vivier
,
Sarah T. Gille
, and
Henk A. Dijkstra

Abstract

In this paper the spectrum of barotropic basin modes of the Argentine Basin is shown to be connected to the classical Rossby basin modes of a flat-bottom (constant depth), rectangular basin. First, the spectrum of basin modes is calculated for the Argentine Basin, by performing a normal-mode analysis of the barotropic shallow-water equations. Then a homotopy transformation is performed that gradually morphs the full-bathymetry geometry through a flat-bottom configuration into a rectangular basin. Following the eigenmodes through this transition establishes a connection between most of the basin modes and the classical Rossby basin modes of a rectangular geometry. In particular, the 20-day mode of the Argentine Basin is identified with the lowest-order mode of classical theory. Sensitivity studies show that the decay rate of each mode is controlled by bottom friction, but that it is insensitive to lateral friction; lateral friction strongly impacts the oscillation frequency. In addition, the modes are found to be only slightly sensitive to the presence of a background flow.

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André Palóczy
,
Julie L. McClean
,
Sarah T. Gille
, and
He Wang

ABSTRACT

The depth-integrated vorticity budget of a global, eddy-permitting ocean/sea ice simulation over the Antarctic continental margin (ACM) is diagnosed to understand the physical mechanisms implicated in meridional transport. The leading-order balance is between the torques due to lateral friction, nonlinear effects, and bottom vortex stretching, although details vary regionally. Maps of the time-averaged depth-integrated vorticity budget terms and time series of the spatially averaged, depth-integrated vorticity budget terms reveal that the flow in the Amundsen, Bellingshausen, and Weddell Seas and, to a lesser extent, in the western portion of East Antarctica, is closer to an approximate topographic Sverdrup balance (TSB) compared to other segments of the ACM. Correlation and coherence analyses further support these findings, and also show that inclusion of the vorticity tendency term in the response (the planetary vorticity advection and the bottom vortex stretching term) increases the correlation with the forcing (the vertical net stress curl), and also increases the coherence between forcing and response at high frequencies across the ACM, except for the West Antarctic Peninsula. These findings suggest that the surface stress curl, imparted by the wind and the sea ice, has the potential to contribute to the meridional, approximately cross-slope, transport to a greater extent in the Amundsen, Bellingshausen, Weddell, and part of the East Antarctic continental margin than elsewhere in the ACM.

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ChuanLi Jiang
,
Sarah T. Gille
,
Janet Sprintall
,
Kei Yoshimura
, and
Masao Kanamitsu

Abstract

High-resolution underway shipboard atmospheric and oceanic observations collected in Drake Passage from 2000 to 2009 are used to examine the spatial scales of turbulent heat fluxes and flux-related state variables. The magnitude of the seasonal cycle of sea surface temperature (SST) south of the Polar Front is found to be twice that north of the front, but the seasonal cycles of the turbulent heat fluxes show no differences on either side of the Polar Front. Frequency spectra of the turbulent heat fluxes and related variables are red, with no identifiable spectral peaks. SST and air temperature are coherent over a range of frequencies corresponding to periods between ~10 h and 2 days, with SST leading air temperature. The spatial decorrelation length scales of the sensible and latent heat fluxes calculated from two-day transects are 65 ± 6 km and 80 ± 6 km, respectively. The scale of the sensible heat flux is consistent with the decorrelation scale for air–sea temperature differences (70 ± 6 km) rather than either SST (153 ± 2 km) or air temperature (138 ± 4 km) alone. These scales are dominated by the Polar Front. When the Polar Front region is excluded, the decorrelation scales are 10–20 km, consistent with the first baroclinic Rossby radius.

These eddy scales are often unrepresented in the available gridded heat flux products. The Drake Passage ship measurements are compared with four recently available gridded turbulent heat flux products: the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts high-resolution operational product in support of the Year of Coordinated Observing Modeling and Forcasting Tropical Convection (ECMWF-YOTC), ECMWF interim reanalysis (ERA-Interim), the Drake Passage reanalysis downscaling (DPRD10) regional product, and the objectively analyzed air–sea fluxes (OAFlux). The decorrelation length scales of the air–sea temperature difference, wind speed, and turbulent heat fluxes from these four products are significantly larger than those determined from shipboard measurements.

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Kyla Drushka
,
Janet Sprintall
,
Sarah T. Gille
, and
Susan Wijffels

Abstract

The boreal winter response of the ocean mixed layer to the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) in the Indo-Pacific region is determined using in situ observations from the Argo profiling float dataset. Composite averages over numerous events reveal that the MJO forces systematic variations in mixed layer depth and temperature throughout the domain. Strong MJO mixed layer depth anomalies (>15 m peak to peak) are observed in the central Indian Ocean and in the far western Pacific Ocean. The strongest mixed layer temperature variations (>0.6°C peak to peak) are found in the central Indian Ocean and in the region between northwest Australia and Java. A heat budget analysis is used to evaluate which processes are responsible for mixed layer temperature variations at MJO time scales. Though uncertainties in the heat budget are on the same order as the temperature trend, the analysis nonetheless demonstrates that mixed layer temperature variations associated with the canonical MJO are driven largely by anomalous net surface heat flux. Net heat flux is dominated by anomalies in shortwave and latent heat fluxes, the relative importance of which varies between active and suppressed MJO conditions. Additionally, rapid deepening of the mixed layer in the central Indian Ocean during the onset of active MJO conditions induces significant basin-wide entrainment cooling. In the central equatorial Indian Ocean, MJO-induced variations in mixed layer depth can modulate net surface heat flux, and therefore mixed layer temperature variations, by up to ~40%. This highlights the importance of correctly representing intraseasonal mixed layer depth variations in climate models in order to accurately simulate mixed layer temperature, and thus air–sea interaction, associated with the MJO.

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ChuanLi Jiang
,
Sarah T. Gille
,
Janet Sprintall
, and
Kei Yoshimura
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ChuanLi Jiang
,
Sarah T. Gille
,
Janet Sprintall
, and
Colm Sweeney

Abstract

Surface water partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) variations in Drake Passage are examined using decade-long underway shipboard measurements. North of the Polar Front (PF), the observed pCO2 shows a seasonal cycle that peaks annually in August and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC)–forced variations are significant. Just south of the PF, pCO2 shows a small seasonal cycle that peaks annually in February, reflecting the opposing effects of changes in SST and DIC in the surface waters. At the PF, the wintertime pCO2 is nearly in equilibrium with the atmosphere, leading to a small sea-to-air CO2 flux.

These observations are used to evaluate eight available Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, phase 5 (CMIP5), Earth system models (ESMs). Six ESMs reproduce the observed annual-mean pCO2 values averaged over the Drake Passage region. However, the model amplitude of the pCO2 seasonal cycle exceeds the observed amplitude of the pCO2 seasonal cycle because of the model biases in SST and surface DIC. North of the PF, deep winter mixed layers play a larger role in pCO2 variations in the models than they do in observations. Four ESMs show elevated wintertime pCO2 near the PF, causing a significant sea-to-air CO2 flux. Wintertime winds in these models are generally stronger than the satellite-derived winds. This not only magnifies the sea-to-air CO2 flux but also upwells DIC-rich water to the surface and drives strong equatorward Ekman currents. These strong model currents likely advect the upwelled DIC farther equatorward, as strong stratification in the models precludes subduction below the mixed layer.

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Sarah T. Gille
,
Aaron Lombrozo
,
Janet Sprintall
,
Gordon Stephenson
, and
Richard Scarlet

Abstract

The high vertical resolution of temperature and salinity measurements from expendable conductivity–temperature–depth (XCTD) instruments can be useful for inferring small-scale mixing rates in the ocean. However, XCTD temperature profiles show distinct spectral spikes at frequencies of 5 and 10 Hz, corresponding to 1 and 2 cycles per five measurement points. Peaks at these same frequencies are often present in the conductivity spectra as well. The spectral spikes occur in XCTD profiles from both the subtropical and subpolar regions. They appear to originate as digital electronic noise within the probes. A finite impulse response filter design procedure was used to develop filters that could remove the spectral spikes while retaining as much high vertical resolution as possible. For most purposes, the application of an 11-point, least squares, low-pass filter proves sufficient for removing the spectral energy at 5 and 10 Hz, and results in an effective minimum vertical resolution of about 0.7 m.

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Cesar B. Rocha
,
Teresa K. Chereskin
,
Sarah T. Gille
, and
Dimitris Menemenlis

Abstract

This study discusses the upper-ocean (0–200 m) horizontal wavenumber spectra in the Drake Passage from 13 yr of shipboard ADCP measurements, altimeter data, and a high-resolution numerical simulation. At scales between 10 and 200 km, the ADCP kinetic energy spectra approximately follow a k −3 power law. The observed flows are more energetic at the surface, but the shape of the kinetic energy spectra is independent of depth. These characteristics resemble predictions of isotropic interior quasigeostrophic turbulence. The ratio of across-track to along-track kinetic energy spectra, however, significantly departs from the expectation of isotropic interior quasigeostrophic turbulence. The inconsistency is dramatic at scales smaller than 40 km. A Helmholtz decomposition of the ADCP spectra and analyses of synthetic and numerical model data show that horizontally divergent, ageostrophic flows account for the discrepancy between the observed spectra and predictions of isotropic interior quasigeostrophic turbulence. In Drake Passage, ageostrophic motions appear to be dominated by inertia–gravity waves and account for about half of the near-surface kinetic energy at scales between 10 and 40 km. Model results indicate that ageostrophic flows imprint on the sea surface, accounting for about half of the sea surface height variance between 10 and 40 km.

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Ru Chen
,
Sarah T. Gille
,
Julie L. McClean
,
Glenn R. Flierl
, and
Alexa Griesel

Abstract

A multiwavenumber theory is formulated to represent eddy diffusivities. It expands on earlier single-wavenumber theories and includes the wide range of wavenumbers encompassed in eddy motions. In the limiting case in which ocean eddies are only composed of a single wavenumber, the multiwavenumber theory is equivalent to the single-wavenumber theory and both show mixing suppression by the eddy propagation relative to the mean flow. The multiwavenumber theory was tested in a region of the Southern Ocean (70°–45°S, 110°–20°W) that covers the Drake Passage and includes the tracer/float release locations during the Diapycnal and Isopycnal Mixing Experiment in the Southern Ocean (DIMES). Cross-stream eddy diffusivities and mixing lengths were estimated in this region from the single-wavenumber theory, from the multiwavenumber theory, and from floats deployed in a global ° Parallel Ocean Program (POP) simulation. Compared to the single-wavenumber theory, the horizontal structures of cross-stream mixing lengths from the multiwavenumber theory agree better with the simulated float-based estimates at almost all depth levels. The multiwavenumber theory better represents the vertical structure of cross-stream mixing lengths both inside and outside the Antarctica Circumpolar Current (ACC). Both the single-wavenumber and multiwavenumber theories represent the horizontal structures of cross-stream diffusivities, which resemble the eddy kinetic energy patterns.

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