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B. Sinha
and
K. J. Richards

Abstract

The jet structure of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) simulated by two general circulation models (GCMs), FRAM (Fine Resolution Antarctic Model) and POP (Parallel Ocean Program), is examined in relation to the bottom topography field. Despite differences in configuration both GCMs display similar behavior: the model ACC consists of a number of distinct current cores superimposed on broader-scale flow. The jets display temporal and spatial (including vertical) coherence with maximum velocities occurring at the surface. It is shown that multiple jets can arise in wind-forced baroclinic quasigeostrophic flow. The main factors influencing the number and spacing of jets are found to be the bottom topography and the proximity of lateral boundaries. The meridional spacing of jets on a flat-bottomed β plane is consistent with the Rhines scaling criterion for barotropic β-plane turbulence with a small modification due to baroclinicity and the presence of meridional boundaries. When a zonally oriented ridge is present, the meridional spacing decreases. This is explained by postulating that the β effect is augmented by a factor related to the topographic slope. Smaller-scale roughness alters the magnitude of the mean flow and mass transport but does not necessarily alter the meridional scaling. The number and meridional spacing of multiple jets in FRAM are also found to be broadly consistent with this hypothesis, although other effects such as topographic steering may also be important. The POP model generally exhibits shorter length scales than would be expected from the topographically modified Rhines scaling alone, and it is likely that other factors are present.

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V. O. Ivchenko
,
V. B. Zalesny
, and
B. Sinha

Abstract

The question of whether the coefficient of diffusivity of potential vorticity by mesoscale eddies is positive is studied for a zonally reentrant barotropic channel using the quasigeostrophic approach. The topography is limited to the first mode in the meridional direction but is unlimited in the zonal direction. We derive an analytic solution for the stationary (time independent) solution. New terms associated with parameterized eddy fluxes of potential vorticity appear both in the equations for the mean zonal momentum balance and in the kinetic energy balance. These terms are linked with the topographic form stress exerted by parameterized eddies. It is demonstrated that in regimes with zonal flow (analogous to the Antarctic Circumpolar Current), the coefficient of eddy potential vorticity diffusivity must be positive.

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V. O. Ivchenko
,
S. Danilov
,
B. Sinha
, and
J. Schröter

Abstract

Integral constraints for momentum and energy impose restrictions on parameterizations of eddy potential vorticity (PV) fluxes. The impact of these constraints is studied for a wind-forced quasigeostrophic two-layer zonal channel model with variable bottom topography. The presence of a small parameter, given by the ratio of Rossby radius to the width of the channel, makes it possible to find an analytical/asymptotic solution for the zonally and time-averaged flow, given diffusive parameterizations for the eddy PV fluxes. This solution, when substituted in the constraints, leads to nontrivial explicit restrictions on diffusivities. The system is characterized by four dimensionless governing parameters with a clear physical interpretation. The bottom form stress, the major term balancing the external force of wind stress, depends on the governing parameters and fundamentally modifies the restrictions compared to the flat bottom case. While the analytical solution bears an illustrative character, it helps to see certain nontrivial connections in the system that will be useful in the analysis of more complicated models of ocean circulation. A numerical solution supports the analytical study and confirms that the presence of topography strongly modifies the eddy fluxes.

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V. O. Ivchenko
,
B. Sinha
,
V. B. Zalesny
,
R. Marsh
, and
A. T. Blaker

Abstract

An integral constraint for eddy fluxes of potential vorticity (PV), corresponding to global momentum conservation, is applied to two-layer zonal quasigeostrophic channel flow. This constraint must be satisfied for any type of parameterization of eddy PV fluxes. Bottom topography strongly influences the integral constraint compared to a flat bottom channel. An analytical solution for the mean flow solution has been found by using asymptotic expansion in a small parameter, which is the ratio of the Rossby radius to the meridional extent of the channel. Applying the integral constraint to this solution, one can find restrictions for eddy PV transfer coefficients that relate the eddy fluxes of PV to the mean flow. These restrictions strongly deviate from restrictions for the channel with flat bottom topography.

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A. P. Megann
,
A. L. New
,
A. T. Blaker
, and
B. Sinha

Abstract

The control climates of two coupled climate models are intercompared. The first is the third climate configuration of the Met Office Unified Model (HadCM3), while the second, the Coupled Hadley–Isopycnic Model Experiment (CHIME), is identical to the first except for the replacement of its ocean component by the Hybrid-Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM). Both models possess realistic and similar ocean heat transports and overturning circulation. However, substantial differences in the vertical structure of the two ocean components are observed, some of which are directly attributed to their different vertical coordinate systems. In particular, the sea surface temperature (SST) in CHIME is biased warm almost everywhere, particularly in the North Atlantic subpolar gyre, in contrast to HadCM3, which is biased cold except in the Southern Ocean. Whereas the HadCM3 ocean warms from just below the surface down to 1000-m depth, a similar warming in CHIME is more pronounced but shallower and confined to the upper 400 m, with cooling below this. This is particularly apparent in the subtropical thermoclines, which become more diffuse in HadCM3, but sharper in CHIME. This is interpreted as resulting from a more rigorously controlled diapycnal mixing in the interior isopycnic ocean in CHIME. Lower interior mixing is also apparent in the better representation and maintenance of key water masses in CHIME, such as Subantarctic Mode Water, Antarctic Intermediate Water, and North Atlantic Deep Water. Finally, the North Pacific SST cold error in HadCM3 is absent in CHIME, and may be related to a difference in the separation position of the Kuroshio. Disadvantages of CHIME include a nonconservation of heat equivalent to 0.5 W m−2 globally, and a warming and salinification of the northwestern Atlantic.

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R. T. Sutton
,
G. D. McCarthy
,
J. Robson
,
B. Sinha
,
A. T. Archibald
, and
L. J. Gray

Abstract

Atlantic multidecadal variability (AMV) is the term used to describe the pattern of variability in North Atlantic sea surface temperatures (SSTs) that is characterized by decades of basinwide warm or cool anomalies, relative to the global mean. AMV has been associated with numerous climate impacts in many regions of the world including decadal variations in temperature and rainfall patterns, hurricane activity, and sea level changes. Given its importance, understanding the physical processes that drive AMV and the extent to which its evolution is predictable is a key challenge in climate science. A leading hypothesis is that natural variations in ocean circulation control changes in ocean heat content and consequently AMV phases. However, this view has been challenged recently by claims that changing natural and anthropogenic radiative forcings are critical drivers of AMV. Others have argued that changes in ocean circulation are not required. Here, we review the leading hypotheses and mechanisms for AMV and discuss the key debates. In particular, we highlight the need for a holistic understanding of AMV. This perspective is a key motivation for a major new U.K. research program: the North Atlantic Climate System Integrated Study (ACSIS), which brings together seven of the United Kingdom’s leading environmental research institutes to enable a broad spectrum approach to the challenges of AMV. ACSIS will deliver the first fully integrated assessment of recent decadal changes in the North Atlantic, will investigate the attribution of these changes to their proximal and ultimate causes, and will assess the potential to predict future changes.

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B. I. Moat
,
B. Sinha
,
S. A. Josey
,
J. Robson
,
P. Ortega
,
F. Sévellec
,
N. P. Holliday
,
G. D. McCarthy
,
A. L. New
, and
J. J.-M. Hirschi

Abstract

An ocean mixed layer heat budget methodology is used to investigate the physical processes determining subpolar North Atlantic (SPNA) sea surface temperature (SST) and ocean heat content (OHC) variability on decadal to multidecadal time scales using the state-of-the-art climate model HadGEM3-GC2. New elements include development of an equation for evolution of anomalous SST for interannual and longer time scales in a form analogous to that for OHC, parameterization of the diffusive heat flux at the base of the mixed layer, and analysis of a composite Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) event. Contributions to OHC and SST variability from two sources are evaluated: 1) net ocean–atmosphere heat flux and 2) all other processes, including advection, diffusion, and entrainment for SST. Anomalies in OHC tendency propagate anticlockwise around the SPNA on multidecadal time scales with a clear relationship to the phase of the AMOC. AMOC anomalies lead SST tendencies, which in turn lead OHC tendencies in both the eastern and western SPNA. OHC and SST variations in the SPNA on decadal time scales are dominated by AMOC variability because it controls variability of advection, which is shown to be the dominant term in the OHC budget. Lags between OHC and SST are traced to differences between the advection term for OHC and the advection–entrainment term for SST. The new results have implications for interpretation of variations in Atlantic heat uptake in the CMIP6 climate model assessment.

Open access
Jon Robson
,
Matthew B. Menary
,
Rowan T. Sutton
,
Jenny Mecking
,
Jonathan M. Gregory
,
Colin Jones
,
Bablu Sinha
,
David P. Stevens
, and
Laura J. Wilcox

Abstract

Previous work has shown that anthropogenic aerosol (AA) forcing drives a strengthening in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) in CMIP6 historical simulations over 1850–1985, but the mechanisms have not been fully understood. Across CMIP6 models, it is shown that there is a strong correlation between surface heat loss over the subpolar North Atlantic (SPNA) and the forced strengthening of the AMOC. Despite the link to AA forcing, the AMOC response is not strongly related to the contribution of anomalous downwelling surface shortwave radiation to SPNA heat loss. Rather, the spread in AMOC response is primarily due to the spread in turbulent heat loss. We hypothesize that turbulent heat loss is larger in models with strong AA forcing because the air advected over the ocean is colder and drier, in turn because of greater AA-forced cooling over the continents upwind, especially North America. The strengthening of the AMOC also feeds back on itself positively in two distinct ways: by raising the sea surface temperature and hence further increasing turbulent heat loss in the SPNA, and by increasing the sea surface density across the SPNA due to increased northward transport of saline water. A comparison of key indices suggests that the AMOC response in models with strong AA forcing is not likely to be consistent with observations.

Open access
J.-P. Vernier
,
T. D. Fairlie
,
T. Deshler
,
M. Venkat Ratnam
,
H. Gadhavi
,
B. S. Kumar
,
M. Natarajan
,
A. K. Pandit
,
S. T. Akhil Raj
,
A. Hemanth Kumar
,
A. Jayaraman
,
A. K. Singh
,
N. Rastogi
,
P. R. Sinha
,
S. Kumar
,
S. Tiwari
,
T. Wegner
,
N. Baker
,
D. Vignelles
,
G. Stenchikov
,
I. Shevchenko
,
J. Smith
,
K. Bedka
,
A. Kesarkar
,
V. Singh
,
J. Bhate
,
V. Ravikiran
,
M. Durga Rao
,
S. Ravindrababu
,
A. Patel
,
H. Vernier
,
F. G. Wienhold
,
H. Liu
,
T. N. Knepp
,
L. Thomason
,
J. Crawford
,
L. Ziemba
,
J. Moore
,
S. Crumeyrolle
,
M. Williamson
,
G. Berthet
,
F. Jégou
, and
J.-B. Renard

Abstract

We describe and show results from a series of field campaigns that used balloonborne instruments launched from India and Saudi Arabia during the summers 2014–17 to study the nature, formation, and impacts of the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer (ATAL). The campaign goals were to i) characterize the optical, physical, and chemical properties of the ATAL; ii) assess its impacts on water vapor and ozone; and iii) understand the role of convection in its formation. To address these objectives, we launched 68 balloons from four locations, one in Saudi Arabia and three in India, with payload weights ranging from 1.5 to 50 kg. We measured meteorological parameters; ozone; water vapor; and aerosol backscatter, concentration, volatility, and composition in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) region. We found peaks in aerosol concentrations of up to 25 cm–3 for radii > 94 nm, associated with a scattering ratio at 940 nm of ∼1.9 near the cold-point tropopause. During medium-duration balloon flights near the tropopause, we collected aerosols and found, after offline ion chromatography analysis, the dominant presence of nitrate ions with a concentration of about 100 ng m–3. Deep convection was found to influence aerosol loadings 1 km above the cold-point tropopause. The Balloon Measurements of the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer (BATAL) project will continue for the next 3–4 years, and the results gathered will be used to formulate a future National Aeronautics and Space Administration–Indian Space Research Organisation (NASA–ISRO) airborne campaign with NASA high-altitude aircraft.

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