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M. Andres, A. Silvano, F. Straneo, and D. R. Watts

Abstract

A 1-yr experiment using a pressure-sensor-equipped inverted echo sounder (PIES) was conducted in Sermilik Fjord in southeastern Greenland (66°N, 38°E) from August 2011 to September 2012. Based on these high-latitude data, the interpretation of PIESs’ acoustic travel-time records from regions that are periodically ice covered were refined. In addition, new methods using PIESs for detecting icebergs and sea ice and for estimating iceberg drafts and drift speeds were developed and tested. During winter months, the PIES in Sermilik Fjord logged about 300 iceberg detections and recorded a 2-week period in early March of land-fast ice cover over the instrument site, consistent with satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery. The deepest icebergs in the fjord were found to have keel depths greater than approximately 350 m. Average and maximum iceberg speeds were approximately 0.2 and 0.5 m s−1, respectively. The maximum tidal range at the site was ±1.8 m and during neap tides the range was ±0.3 m, as shown by the PIES’s pressure record.

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Philip D. Watts, Myles R. Allen, and Timothy J. Nightingale

Abstract

The emission and reflection properties of a rough sea surface are investigated, with particular emphasis on the wavelengths and viewing geometry relevant to the Along Track Scanning Radiometer. The authors start from Fresnel's equations for a flat water surface and calculate the effect of changing sea state on direct emissivity and reflectivity. The authors then investigate the role of surface-emitted surface-reflected (SESR) radiation, which enhances emissivity at high wind speeds. The effect of foam and whitecaps at high wind speeds is referred to briefly in the appendix but essentially remains an unknown quantity.

Radiative transfer calculations that employ emissivity models also have to consider the reflection of downwelling radiance from the atmosphere. Although energy conservation requires that reflectivity is 1 minus emissivity, the variability of the sky brightness with zenith demands that one consider also the angular distribution of the reflected radiance. Additionally, the extended statistical model is used to investigate what one may call surface-reflected surface-reflected (SRSR) radiance.

It was found that the SESR and SRSR effects, and the reflection of the anisotropic sky radiance, together act to cancel the first-order effect of reduced emissivity with increasing wind speed, such that the approximation of constant emissivity and specular reflection is essentially valid for the Along Track Scanning Radiometer viewing geometry. Finally, parameterizations are derived for the variable emission and reflection of a rough sea surface that are suitable for fast radiative transfer models.

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D. A. Mitchell, M. Wimbush, D. R. Watts, and W. J. Teague

Abstract

The standard gravest empirical mode (GEM) technique for utilizing hydrography in concert with integral ocean measurements performs poorly in the southwestern Japan/East Sea (JES) because of a spatially variable seasonal signal and a shallow thermocline. This paper presents a new method that combines the U.S. Navy's Modular Ocean Data Assimilation System (MODAS) static climatology (which implicitly contains the mean seasonal signal) with historical hydrography to construct a “residual GEM” from which profiles of such parameters as temperature (T) and specific volume anomaly (δ) can be estimated from measurements of an integral quantity such as geopotential height or acoustic echo time (τ). This is called the residual GEM technique. In a further refinement, sea surface temperature (SST) measurements are included in the profile determinations. In the southwestern JES, profiles determined by the standard GEM technique capture 70% of the T variance and 64% of the δ variance, while the residual GEM technique using SST captures 89% of the T variance and 84% of the δ variance. The residual GEM technique was applied to optimally interpolated τ measurements from a two-dimensional array of pressure-gauge-equipped inverted echo sounders moored from June 1999 to July 2001 in the southwestern JES, resulting in daily 3D estimated fields of T and δ throughout the region. These estimates are compared with those from direct measurements and good agreement is found between them.

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D. A. Mitchell, W. J. Teague, M. Wimbush, D. R. Watts, and G. G. Sutyrin

Abstract

Current and temperature patterns in the Ulleung Basin of the Japan/East Sea are examined using acoustic travel-time measurements from an array of pressure-gauge-equipped inverted echo sounders moored between June 1999 and July 2001. The focus here is the formation and behavior of a persistent cold eddy observed south of Dok Island, referred to as the Dok Cold Eddy (DCE), and meandering of the Subpolar Front. The DCE is typically about 60 km in diameter and originates from the pinching off of a Subpolar Front meander between Ulleung and Dok Islands. After formation, the DCE dwells southwest of Dok Island for 1–6 months before propagating westward toward Korea, where it deflects the path of the East Korean Warm Current (EKWC). Four such DCE propagation events between January and June 2000 each deflected the EKWC, and after the fourth deflection the EKWC changed paths and flowed westward along the Japanese shelf as the “Offshore Branch” from June through November 2000. Beginning in March 2001, a deep, persistent meander of the Subpolar Front developed and oscillated with a period near 60 days, resulting in the deformation and northwestward displacement of the Ulleung Eddy. Satellite-altimeter data suggest that the Ulleung Eddy may have entered the northern Japan/East Sea. The evolution of this meander is compared with thin-jet nonlinear dynamics described by the modified Korteweg–deVries equation.

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Y. L. Firing, T. K. Chereskin, D. R. Watts, K. L. Tracey, and C. Provost

Abstract

Current and pressure-recording inverted echo sounders (CPIES) were deployed in an eddy-resolving local dynamics array (LDA) in the eddy-rich polar frontal zone (PFZ) in Drake Passage as part of the cDrake experiment. Methods are described for calculating barotropic and baroclinic geostrophic streamfunction and its first, second, and third derivatives by objective mapping of current, pressure, or geopotential height anomaly data from a two-dimensional array of CPIES like the cDrake LDA.

Modifications to previous methods result in improved dimensional error estimates on velocity and higher streamfunction derivatives. Simulations are used to test the reproduction of higher derivatives of streamfunction and to verify mapping error estimates. Three-day low-pass-filtered velocity in and around the cDrake LDA can be mapped with errors of 0.04 m s−1 at 4000 dbar, increasing to 0.13 m s−1 at the sea surface; these errors are small compared to typical speeds observed at these levels, 0.2 and 0.65 m s−1, respectively. Errors on vorticity are 9 × 10−6 s−1 near the surface, decreasing with depth to 3 × 10−6 s−1 at 4000 dbar, whereas vorticities in the PFZ eddy field are 4 × 10−5 s−1 (surface) to 1.3 × 10−5 s−1 (4000 dbar). Vorticity gradient errors range from 4 × 10−10 to 2 × 10−10 m −1 s−1, just under half the size of typical PFZ vorticity gradients. Comparisons between cDrake mapped temperature and velocity fields and independent observations (moored current and temperature, lowered acoustic Doppler current profiler velocity, and satellite-derived surface currents) help validate the cDrake method and results.

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Bo Qiu, Peter Hacker, Shuiming Chen, Kathleen A. Donohue, D. Randolph Watts, Humio Mitsudera, Nelson G. Hogg, and Steven R. Jayne

Abstract

Properties and seasonal evolution of North Pacific Ocean subtropical mode water (STMW) within and south of the Kuroshio Extension recirculation gyre are analyzed from profiling float data and additional hydrographic and shipboard ADCP measurements taken during 2004. The presence of an enhanced recirculation gyre and relatively low mesoscale eddy variability rendered this year favorable for the formation of STMW. Within the recirculation gyre, STMW formed from late-winter convection that reached depths greater than 450 m near the center of the gyre. The lower boundary of STMW, corresponding to σθ ≃ 25.5 kg m−3, was set by the maximum depth of the late-winter mixed layer. Properties within the deep portions of the STMW layer remained largely unchanged as the season progressed. In contrast, the upper boundary of the STMW layer eroded steadily as the seasonal thermocline deepened from late April to August. Vertical eddy diffusivity responsible for this erosion was estimated from a budget analysis of potential vorticity to be in the range of ∼2–5 × 10−4 m2 s−1. The latitudinal extent of the STMW formation was narrow, extending from 30°N to the Kuroshio Extension jet near 35°N. South of 30°N, STMW did not form locally but was transported from the recirculation gyre by lateral induction.

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K. Holmlund, J. Grandell, J. Schmetz, R. Stuhlmann, B. Bojkov, R. Munro, M. Lekouara, D. Coppens, B. Viticchie, T. August, B. Theodore, P. Watts, M. Dobber, G. Fowler, S. Bojinski, A. Schmid, K. Salonen, S. Tjemkes, D. Aminou, and P. Blythe

Capsule Summary

EUMETSAT will deploy its next generation geostationary satellite system, Meteosat Third Generation in the coming years. This article gives an overview of the instruments and capabilities of the new system.

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Enrique R. Vivoni, Hugo A. Gutiérrez-Jurado, Carlos A. Aragón, Luis A. Méndez-Barroso, Alex J. Rinehart, Robert L. Wyckoff, Julio C. Rodríguez, Christopher J. Watts, John D. Bolten, Venkataraman Lakshmi, and Thomas J. Jackson

Abstract

Relatively little is currently known about the spatiotemporal variability of land surface conditions during the North American monsoon, in particular for regions of complex topography. As a result, the role played by land–atmosphere interactions in generating convective rainfall over steep terrain and sustaining monsoon conditions is still poorly understood. In this study, the variation of hydrometeorological conditions along a large-scale topographic transect in northwestern Mexico is described. The transect field experiment consisted of daily sampling at 30 sites selected to represent variations in elevation and ecosystem distribution. Simultaneous soil and atmospheric variables were measured during a 2-week period in early August 2004. Transect observations were supplemented by a network of continuous sampling sites used to analyze the regional hydrometeorological conditions prior to and during the field experiment. Results reveal the strong control exerted by topography on the spatial and temporal variability in soil moisture, with distinct landscape regions experiencing different hydrologic regimes. Reduced variations at the plot and transect scale during a drydown period indicate that homogenization of hydrologic conditions occurred over the landscape. Furthermore, atmospheric variables are clearly linked to surface conditions, indicating that heating and moistening of the boundary layer closely follow spatial and temporal changes in hydrologic properties. Land–atmosphere interactions at the basin scale (∼100 km2), obtained via a technique accounting for topographic variability, further reveal the role played by the land surface in sustaining high atmospheric moisture conditions, with implications toward rainfall generation during the North American monsoon.

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