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  • Author or Editor: RAFFAELE FERRARI x
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Raffaele Ferrari and Paola Cessi

Abstract

The signatures of feedback between the atmosphere and the ocean are studied with a simple coupled model. The atmospheric component, based on Lorenz's 1984 model is chaotic and has intrinsic variability at all timescales. The oceanic component models the wind-driven circulation, and has intrinsic variability only in the decadal band. The phase of the cospectrum of atmospheric and oceanic temperatures is examined and it is found that in the decadal band, the oceanic signal leads the atmospheric one, while the opposite is true at shorter and longer timescales. The associated atmosphere-only model, driven by the oceanic temperature derived from a coupled run, synchronizes to the coupled run for arbitrary initial conditions. When noise is introduced in the time series of oceanic driving, episodic synchronization still occurs, but only in summer, indicating that control of the atmosphere by the oceanic variables is prevalent in this season.

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Gokhan Danabasoglu, Raffaele Ferrari, and James C. McWilliams

Abstract

A simplified version of the near-boundary eddy flux parameterization developed recently by Ferrari et al. has been implemented in the NCAR Community Climate System Model (CCSM3) ocean component for the surface boundary only. This scheme includes the effects of diabatic mesoscale fluxes within the surface layer. The experiments with the new parameterization show significant improvements compared to a control integration that tapers the effects of the eddies as the surface is approached. Such surface tapering is typical of present implementations of eddy transport in some current ocean models. The comparison is also promising versus available observations and results from an eddy-resolving model. These improvements include the elimination of strong, near-surface, eddy-induced circulations and a better heat transport profile in the upper ocean. The experiments with the new scheme also show reduced abyssal cooling and diminished trends in the potential temperature drifts. Furthermore, the need for any ad hoc, near-surface taper functions is eliminated. The impact of the new parameterization is mostly associated with the modified eddy-induced velocity treatment near the surface. The new parameterization acts in the depth range exposed to enhanced turbulent mixing at the ocean surface. This depth range includes the actively turbulent boundary layer and a transition layer underneath, composed of waters intermittently exposed to mixing. The mixed layer, that is, the regions of weak stratification at the ocean surface, is found to be a good proxy for the sum of the boundary layer depth and transition layer thickness.

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Markus Jochum, Raghu Murtugudde, Raffaele Ferrari, and Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli

Abstract

An ocean general circulation model (OGCM) of the tropical Atlantic is coupled to an advective atmospheric boundary layer model. This configuration is used to investigate the hypothesis that resolving tropical instability waves (TIWs) in OGCMs will remove the equatorial cold bias that is a feature common to coarse-resolution OGCMs. It is shown that current eddy parameterizations cannot capture the TIW heat flux because diffusion in coarse-resolution OGCMs removes heat from the warm pool to heat the equatorial cold tongue, whereas TIWs draw their heat mostly from the atmosphere. Thus, they can bring more heat to the equatorial cold tongue without cooling the warm pool, and the SST in the warm pool is higher and more realistic. Contrary to expectations, the SST in the equatorial cold tongue is not significantly improved. The equatorial warming due to TIWs is slightly greater than the warming due to diffusion, but this increased equatorial heat flux in the high-resolution experiment is compensated by increased equatorial entrainment there. This is attributed to the Equatorial Undercurrent being stronger, thereby increasing the entrainment rate through shear instability. Thus, higher resolution does not significantly increase the total oceanic heat flux convergence in the equatorial mixed layer.

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Louis-Philippe Nadeau, Raffaele Ferrari, and Malte F. Jansen

Abstract

Changes in deep-ocean circulation and stratification have been argued to contribute to climatic shifts between glacial and interglacial climates by affecting the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. It has been recently proposed that such changes are associated with variations in Antarctic sea ice through two possible mechanisms: an increased latitudinal extent of Antarctic sea ice and an increased rate of Antarctic sea ice formation. Both mechanisms lead to an upward shift of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) above depths where diapycnal mixing is strong (above 2000 m), thus decoupling the AMOC from the abyssal overturning circulation. Here, these two hypotheses are tested using a series of idealized two-basin ocean simulations. To investigate independently the effect of an increased latitudinal ice extent from the effect of an increased ice formation rate, sea ice is parameterized as a latitude strip over which the buoyancy flux is negative. The results suggest that both mechanisms can effectively decouple the two cells of the meridional overturning circulation (MOC), and that their effects are additive. To illustrate the role of Antarctic sea ice in decoupling the AMOC and the abyssal overturning cell, the age of deep-water masses is estimated. An increase in both the sea ice extent and its formation rate yields a dramatic “aging” of deep-water masses if the sea ice is thick and acts as a lid, suppressing air–sea fluxes. The key role of vertical mixing is highlighted by comparing results using different profiles of vertical diffusivity. The implications of an increase in water mass ages for storing carbon in the deep ocean are discussed.

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Raffaele Ferrari, James C. McWilliams, Vittorio M. Canuto, and Mikhail Dubovikov

Abstract

In the stably stratified interior of the ocean, mesoscale eddies transport materials by quasi-adiabatic isopycnal stirring. Resolving or parameterizing these effects is important for modeling the oceanic general circulation and climate. Near the bottom and near the surface, however, microscale boundary layer turbulence overcomes the adiabatic, isopycnal constraints for the mesoscale transport. In this paper a formalism is presented for representing this transition from adiabatic, isopycnally oriented mesoscale fluxes in the interior to the diabatic, along-boundary mesoscale fluxes near the boundaries. A simple parameterization form is proposed that illustrates its consequences in an idealized flow. The transition is not confined to the turbulent boundary layers, but extends into the partially diabatic transition layers on their interiorward edge. A transition layer occurs because of the mesoscale variability in the boundary layer and the associated mesoscale–microscale dynamical coupling.

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