Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 18 items for

  • Author or Editor: Alexander Sen Gupta x
  • All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Alexander Sen Gupta and Matthew H. England

Abstract

A high-resolution, offline ocean general circulation model, incorporating a realistic parameterization of mixed layer convection, is used to diagnose pathways and time scales of Southern Hemisphere intermediate, mode, and lower thermocline water ventilation. The use of such an offline methodology represents the only feasible way of simulating the long time scales required to validate the internal pathways of a high-resolution ocean model. Simulated and observed chlorofluorocarbon-11 (CFC-11) are in reasonably good agreement, demonstrating the model’s skill in representing realistic ventilation. Regional passive dye and age tracer experiments aid in the identification of pathways originating from different Southern Hemisphere locations. Northern Hemisphere penetration of intermediate, mode, and thermocline waters is most extensive and rapid into the North Atlantic Ocean because these waters are involved in closing the Atlantic meridional overturning cell. However, less than 8% of this ventilation is derived from subduction within the South Atlantic in the simulation. Instead, this water enters the Atlantic just to the south of South Africa, having originally subducted primarily in the east Indian Ocean, but also in the west Indian Ocean and the west Pacific region where a pathway advects water westward to the south of Australia. This pathway also plays a large part, together with water overturned in the east Indian Ocean, in ventilating the northern reaches of the Indian basin. Northward propagation in the Pacific Ocean is limited to the low latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere and is almost exclusively accomplished by water subducted in the South Pacific. A small contribution is made from the other basins from water that spreads northward, fed by a circumpolar pathway associated with the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that forms a conduit for intermediate and mode water exchange between all three basins. Intermediate water is injected into and branches off this pathway in all basins, but most vigorously in the southeastern Pacific.

Full access
Alexander Sen Gupta and Matthew H. England

Abstract

Global watermass ventilation pathways and time scales are investigated using an “eddy permitting” (¼°) offline tracer model. Unlike previous Lagrangian trajectory studies, here an offline model based on a complete tracer equation that includes three-dimensional advection and mixing is employed. In doing so, the authors are able to meaningfully simulate chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) uptake and assess model skill against observation. This is the first time an eddy-permitting model has been subjected to such an assessment of interior ocean ventilation. The offline model is forced by seasonally varying prescribed velocity, temperature, and salinity fields of a state-of-the-art ocean general circulation model. A seasonally varying mixed layer parameterization is incorporated to account for the degradation of surface convection processes resulting from the temporal averaging. A series of CFC simulations are assessed against observations to investigate interdecadal-time-scale ventilation using a variety of mixed layer criteria. Simulated tracer inventories and penetration depths are in good agreement with observations, especially for thermocline, mode, and surface waters. Deep water from the Labrador Sea is well represented, forming a distinct deep western boundary current that branches at the equator, although concentrations are lower than observed. The formation of bottom water, which occurs around the Antarctic margin, is also generally too weak, although there is excellent qualitative agreement with observations in the region of the Ross and Weddell Seas. Multicentury ventilation of the outflow of North Atlantic Deep Water and bottom water from the Antarctic Margin are investigated using 1000-yr passive tracer experiments with specified interior source regions. The model captures many of the detailed pathways evident from observations, with much of the discrepancy accounted for by differences between actual and modeled topography. A comparison between model-derived “tracer age” and Δ14C “advection age” provides a semiquantitative assessment of model skill at these longer time scales.

Full access
Alexander Sen Gupta and Matthew H. England

Abstract

The coupled ocean–atmosphere–ice response to variations in the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is examined in the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Coupled Climate Model (version 2). The model shows considerable skill in capturing the predominantly zonally symmetric SAM while regional deviations between model and observation SAM winds go a long way in explaining the generally small differences between simulated and observed SAM responses in the ocean and sea ice systems. Vacillations in the position and strength of the circumpolar winds and the ensuing variations in advection of heat and moisture result in a dynamic and thermodynamic forcing of the ocean and sea ice. Both meridional and zonal components of ocean circulation are modified through Ekman transport, which in turn leads to anomalous surface convergences and divergences that strongly affect the meridional overturning circulation and potentially the pathways of intermediate water ventilation. A heat budget analysis demonstrates a conspiring of oceanic meridional heat advection, surface heat fluxes, and changes in mixed layer depth, which acts in phase to imprint a strong circumpolar SAM signature onto sea surface temperatures (SSTs), while other oceanic processes, including vertical advection, are shown to play only a minor role in contrast to previous suggestions. Lagged correlations show that although the SAM is mainly controlled by internal atmospheric mechanisms, the thermal inertia of the ocean reimprints the SAM signature back onto surface air temperatures (SATs) on time scales longer than the initial atmospheric signal. Sea ice variability is well explained by a combination of atmospheric and oceanic dynamic and thermodynamic forcing, and by an albedo feedback mechanism that allows ice extent anomalies to persist for many months. Nonzonally symmetric components of the SAM winds, particularly in the region surrounding the Antarctic Peninsula, have important effects for other climate variables.

Full access
Alexander Sen Gupta and Matthew H. England

Abstract

Previous studies have demonstrated that while the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is an intrinsic feature of the atmosphere, it projects strongly onto the ocean and sea ice properties and circulation. This study investigates the extent of “back interaction” whereby these oceanic SAM anomalies feed back to the atmosphere. A comparison between atmosphere-only and full coupled climate models demonstrates that air–sea interactions in the coupled system act to increase the persistence of the SAM in the atmosphere. To identify the nature of feedback from the ocean to the atmosphere, ensemble experiments are carried out in both atmosphere-only and full coupled models whereby a continuous SAM-like sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly is imposed. Both coupled and uncoupled experiments show a direct thermal response that affects the lower-tropospheric temperature and surface meridional winds. An indirect upper troposphere–wide response is also seen whose characteristics are sensitive to the coupling. For the uncoupled experiment a negative-phase SAM SST perturbation produces an indirect atmospheric response that projects strongly onto the SAM. A positive-phase anomaly, however, shows little robust response away from the local heating at the surface. The coupled experiments, however, do show linearity with respect to the sign of the anomaly. However, the response is considerably weaker than the uncoupled case and the projection of the response onto the SAM mode is poorer. Nonetheless the authors find a clear persistence of the SAM at interseasonal time scales that relies on air–sea coupling and cannot be reproduced in unforced atmosphere-only experiments. This demonstrates that the ocean plays a role in modulating the Southern Annular Mode at these time scales.

Full access
Agus Santoso, Alexander Sen Gupta, and Matthew H. England

Abstract

The genesis of mixed layer temperature anomalies across the Indian Ocean are analyzed in terms of the underlying heat budget components. Observational data, for which a seasonal budget can be computed, and a climate model output, which provides improved spatial and temporal coverage for longer time scales, are examined. The seasonal climatology of the model heat budget is broadly consistent with the observational reconstruction, thus providing certain confidence in extending the model analysis to interannual time scales. To identify the dominant heat budget components, covariance analysis is applied based on the heat budget equation. In addition, the role of the heat budget terms on the generation and decay of temperature anomalies is revealed via a novel temperature variance budget approach. The seasonal evolution of the mixed layer temperature is found to be largely controlled by air–sea heat fluxes, except in the tropics where advection and entrainment are important. A distinct shift in the importance and role of certain heat budget components is shown to be apparent in moving from seasonal to interannual time scales. On these longer time scales, advection gains importance in generating and sustaining anomalies over extensive regions, including the trade wind and midlatitude wind regimes. On the other hand, air–sea heat fluxes tend to drive the evolution of thermal anomalies over subtropical regions including off northwestern Australia. In the tropics, however, they limit the growth of anomalies. Entrainment plays a role in the generation and maintenance of interannual anomalies over localized regions, particularly off Sumatra and over the Seychelles–Chagos Thermocline Ridge. It is further shown that the spatial distribution of the role and importance of these terms is related to oceanographic features of the Indian Ocean. Mixed layer depth effects and the influence of model biases are discussed.

Full access
Caroline C. Ummenhofer, Alexander Sen Gupta, and Matthew H. England

Abstract

Late twentieth-century trends in New Zealand precipitation are examined using observations and reanalysis data for the period 1979–2006. One of the aims of this study is to investigate the link between these trends and recent changes in the large-scale atmospheric circulation in the Southern Hemisphere. The contributions from changes in Southern Hemisphere climate modes, particularly the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the southern annular mode (SAM), are quantified for the austral summer season, December–February (DJF). Increasingly drier conditions over much of New Zealand can be partially explained by the SAM and ENSO. Especially over wide parts of the North Island and western regions of the South Island, the SAM potentially contributes up to 80% and 20%–50% to the overall decline in DJF precipitation, respectively. Over the North Island, the contribution of the SAM and ENSO to precipitation trends is of the same sign. In contrast, over the southwest of the South Island the two climate modes act in the opposite sense, though the effect of the SAM seems to dominate there during austral summer. The leading modes of variability in summertime precipitation over New Zealand are linked to the large-scale atmospheric circulation. The two dominant modes, explaining 64% and 9% of the overall DJF precipitation variability respectively, can be understood as local manifestations of the large-scale climate variability associated with the SAM and ENSO.

Full access
Shayne McGregor, Alexander Sen Gupta, and Matthew H. England

Abstract

A number of global surface wind datasets are available that are commonly used to examine climate variability or trends and as boundary conditions for ocean circulation models. However, discrepancies exist among these products. This study uses observed Archiving, Validation, and Interpretation of Satellite Oceanographic (AVISO) sea surface height anomalies (SSHAs) as a means to help constrain the fidelity of these products in the tropical region. Each wind stress product is used to force a linear shallow water model (SWM) and the resulting hindcast thermocline depth anomalies are converted to SSHAs. The resulting SSHAs are then assessed to see how well they reproduce the dominant EOF modes of observed variability and the regional (global mean removed) sea level trend (1993–2007) in each of the three ocean basins. While the results suggest that all wind datasets reproduce the observed interannual variability with reasonable fidelity, the two SWM hindcasts that produce the observed linear trend with the highest fidelity are those incorporating interim ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) and Wave- and Anemometer-Based Sea Surface Wind (WASWind) forcing. The role of surface wind forcing (i.e., upper ocean heat content redistribution) versus global mean sea level change (i.e., including the additional contributions of glacier and ice sheet melt along with ocean thermal expansion) on the recent dramatic increase in western equatorial Pacific island sea level is then reassessed. The results suggest that the recent sea level increase cannot be explained solely by wind stress forcing, regardless of the dataset used; rather, the global mean sea level signal is required to fully explain this observed recent abrupt sea level rise and to better explain the sea level variability of the last 50–60 years.

Full access
Alexander Sen Gupta, Agus Santoso, Andréa S. Taschetto, Caroline C. Ummenhofer, Jessica Trevena, and Matthew H. England

Abstract

Fidelity and projected changes in the climate models, used for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), are assessed with regard to the Southern Hemisphere extratropical ocean and sea ice systems. While individual models span different physical parameterizations and resolutions, a major component of intermodel variability results from surface wind differences. Projected changes to the surface wind field are also central in modifying future extratropical circulation and internal properties. A robust southward shift of the circumpolar current and subtropical gyres is projected, with a strong spinup of the Atlantic gyre. An associated increase in the core strength of the circumpolar circulation is evident; however, this does not translate into robust increases in Drake Passage transport. While an overarching oceanic warming is projected, the circulation-driven poleward shift of the temperature field explains much of the midlatitude warming pattern. The effect of this shift is less clear for salinity, where, instead, surface freshwater forcing dominates. Surface warming and high-latitude freshwater increases drive intensified stratification, and a shoaling and southward shift of the deep mixed layers. Despite large intermodel differences, there is also a robust weakening in bottom water formation and its northward outflow. At the same time the wind intensification invigorates the upwelling of deep water, transporting warm, salty water southward and upward, with major implications for sequestration and outgassing of CO2. A robust decrease is projected for both the sea ice concentration and the seasonal cycling of ice volume, potentially altering the salt and heat budget at high latitudes.

Full access
Alexander Sen Gupta, Nicolas C. Jourdain, Jaclyn N. Brown, and Didier Monselesan

Abstract

Climate models often exhibit spurious long-term changes independent of either internal variability or changes to external forcing. Such changes, referred to as model “drift,” may distort the estimate of forced change in transient climate simulations. The importance of drift is examined in comparison to historical trends over recent decades in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP). Comparison based on a selection of metrics suggests a significant overall reduction in the magnitude of drift from phase 3 of CMIP (CMIP3) to phase 5 of CMIP (CMIP5). The direction of both ocean and atmospheric drift is systematically biased in some models introducing statistically significant drift in globally averaged metrics. Nevertheless, for most models globally averaged drift remains weak compared to the associated forced trends and is often smaller than the difference between trends derived from different ensemble members or the error introduced by the aliasing of natural variability. An exception to this is metrics that include the deep ocean (e.g., steric sea level) where drift can dominate in forced simulations. In such circumstances drift must be corrected for using information from concurrent control experiments. Many CMIP5 models now include ocean biogeochemistry. Like physical models, biogeochemical models generally undergo long spinup integrations to minimize drift. Nevertheless, based on a limited subset of models, it is found that drift is an important consideration and must be accounted for. For properties or regions where drift is important, the drift correction method must be carefully considered. The use of a drift estimate based on the full control time series is recommended to minimize the contamination of the drift estimate by internal variability.

Full access
Caroline C. Ummenhofer, Alexander Sen Gupta, Matthew H. England, and Chris J. C. Reason

Abstract

Links between extreme wet conditions over East Africa and Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures (SST) are investigated during the core of the so-called short rain season in October–November. During periods of enhanced East African rainfall, Indian Ocean SST anomalies reminiscent of a tropical Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) event are observed. Ensemble simulations with an atmospheric general circulation model are used to understand the relative effect of local and large-scale Indian Ocean SST anomalies on above-average East African precipitation. The importance of the various tropical and subtropical IOD SST poles, both individually and in combination, is quantified. In the simulations, enhanced East African “short rains” are predominantly driven by the local warm SST anomalies in the western equatorial Indian Ocean, while the eastern cold pole of the tropical IOD is of lesser importance. The changed East African rainfall distribution can be explained by a reorganization of the atmospheric circulation induced by the SST anomalies. A reduction in sea level pressure over the western half of the Indian Ocean and converging wind anomalies over East Africa lead to moisture convergence and increased convective activity over the region. The pattern of large-scale circulation changes over the tropical Indian Ocean and adjacent landmasses is consistent with an anomalous strengthening of the Walker cell. The seasonal cycle of various indices related to the SST and the atmospheric circulation in the equatorial Indian Ocean are examined to assess their potential usefulness for seasonal forecasting.

Full access