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David A. Smeed

Abstract

Two-layer hydraulic models have proven to be extremely useful in understanding a number of exchange flows through straits, for example, the Strait of Gibraltar. There are, though, some strait flows that cannot be represented by a two-layer model. A very striking example is the Bab al Mandab. In the exchange between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, three distinct water masses are observed in the strait during summer. The wintertime flow is, though, very different, with only two layers observed in the strait.

In this paper a three-layer model of hydraulically controlled exchange flows is described The model can represent exchange flows that are controlled with respect to either the first or second (or both) internal modes. A number of different examples are discussed.

The model is able to explain the qualitative features of the seasonal variation of the flow in the Bab al Mandab. In particular, the reversal of the direction of flow of the surface layer and the intrusion into the Red Sea of cold intermediate water from the Gulf of Aden during the summer months can be explained by upwelling in the Gulf of Aden forced by the southwest monsoon.

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Peter D. Killworth, David A. Smeed, and A. J. George Nurser

Abstract

This paper discusses the errors in surface tracer and flux fields in ocean models induced by using approximate surface boundary conditions involving relaxation toward observed values rather than more physically realistic conditions that involve (often inaccurate) surface fluxes. The authors show theoretically and with a global model example that where there is a net annual surface flux of tracer (balanced by advection), (i) the annual mean surface tracer field is biased compared with the observations and (ii) the annual mean tracer flux is also biased if the surface tracer field has a feedback on the surface tracer advection or diffusion. As previously shown, the amplitude of the annual cycle of tracers is also decreased. The global model indicates that temperature offsets of 1°–2°C (or even greater) and heat flux errors of 30 W m−2 occur in regions of strong advection, such as the equatorial upwelling zone, western boundary currents, and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. These are all areas crucial for the thermohaline circulation, so that the use of such boundary conditions is likely to yield incorrect estimates for climate simulation models. Zonally integrated meridional heat fluxes may be in error by up to 25%.

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Jesse M. Cusack, Alberto C. Naveira Garabato, David A. Smeed, and James B. Girton

Abstract

Lee waves are thought to play a prominent role in Southern Ocean dynamics, facilitating a transfer of energy from the jets of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current to microscale, turbulent motions important in water mass transformations. Two EM-APEX profiling floats deployed in the Drake Passage during the Diapycnal and Isopycnal Mixing Experiment (DIMES) independently measured a 120 ± 20-m vertical amplitude lee wave over the Shackleton Fracture Zone. A model for steady EM-APEX motion is developed to calculate absolute vertical water velocity, augmenting the horizontal velocity measurements made by the floats. The wave exhibits fluctuations in all three velocity components of over 15 cm s−1 and an intrinsic frequency close to the local buoyancy frequency. The wave is observed to transport energy and horizontal momentum vertically at respective peak rates of 1.3 ± 0.2 W m−2 and 8 ± 1 N m−2. The rate of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation is estimated using both Thorpe scales and a method that isolates high-frequency vertical kinetic energy and is found to be enhanced within the wave to values of order 10−7 W kg−1. The observed vertical flux of energy is significantly larger than expected from idealized numerical simulations and also larger than observed depth-integrated dissipation rates. These results provide the first unambiguous observation of a lee wave in the Southern Ocean with simultaneous measurements of its energetics and dynamics.

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J. Alexander Brearley, Katy L. Sheen, Alberto C. Naveira Garabato, David A. Smeed, and Stephanie Waterman

Abstract

Mesoscale eddies are universal features of the ocean circulation, yet the processes by which their energy is dissipated remain poorly understood. One hypothesis argues that the interaction of strong geostrophic flows with rough bottom topography effects an energy transfer between eddies and internal waves, with the breaking of these waves causing locally elevated dissipation focused near the sea floor. This study uses hydrographic and velocity data from a 1-yr mooring cluster deployment in the Southern Ocean to test this hypothesis. The moorings were located over a small (~10 km) topographic obstacle to the east of Drake Passage in a region of high eddy kinetic energy, and one was equipped with an ADCP at 2800-m depth from which internal wave shear variance and dissipation rates were calculated. Examination of the ADCP time series revealed a predominance of upward-propagating internal wave energy and a significant correlation (r = 0.45) between shear variance levels and subinertial near-bottom current speeds. Periods of strong near-bottom flow coincided with increased convergence of eddy-induced interfacial form stress in the bottom 1500 m. Predictions of internal wave energy radiation were made from theory using measured near-bottom current speeds, and the mean value of wave radiation (5.3 mW m−2) was sufficient to support the dissipated power calculated from the ADCP. A significant temporal correlation was also observed between radiated and dissipated power. Given the ubiquity of strong eddy flows and rough topography in the Southern Ocean, the transfer from eddy to internal wave energy is likely to be an important term in closing the ocean energy budget.

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Harry L. Bryden, William E. Johns, Brian A. King, Gerard McCarthy, Elaine L. McDonagh, Ben I. Moat, and David A. Smeed

Abstract

Northward ocean heat transport at 26°N in the Atlantic Ocean has been measured since 2004. The ocean heat transport is large—approximately 1.25 PW, and on interannual time scales it exhibits surprisingly large temporal variability. There has been a long-term reduction in ocean heat transport of 0.17 PW from 1.32 PW before 2009 to 1.15 PW after 2009 (2009–16) on an annual average basis associated with a 2.5-Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) drop in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). The reduction in the AMOC has cooled and freshened the upper ocean north of 26°N over an area following the offshore edge of the Gulf Stream/North Atlantic Current from the Bahamas to Iceland. Cooling peaks south of Iceland where surface temperatures are as much as 2°C cooler in 2016 than they were in 2008. Heat uptake by the atmosphere appears to have been affected particularly along the path of the North Atlantic Current. For the reduction in ocean heat transport, changes in ocean heat content account for about one-quarter of the long-term reduction in ocean heat transport while reduced heat uptake by the atmosphere appears to account for the remainder of the change in ocean heat transport.

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Jesse M. Cusack, J. Alexander Brearley, Alberto C. Naveira Garabato, David A. Smeed, Kurt L. Polzin, Nick Velzeboer, and Callum J. Shakespeare

Abstract

The physical mechanisms that remove energy from the Southern Ocean’s vigorous mesoscale eddy field are not well understood. One proposed mechanism is direct energy transfer to the internal wave field in the ocean interior, via eddy-induced straining and shearing of preexisting internal waves. The magnitude, vertical structure, and temporal variability of the rate of energy transfer between eddies and internal waves is quantified from a 14-month deployment of a mooring cluster in the Scotia Sea. Velocity and buoyancy observations are decomposed into wave and eddy components, and the energy transfer is estimated using the Reynolds-averaged energy equation. We find that eddies gain energy from the internal wave field at a rate of −2.2 ± 0.6 mW m−2, integrated from the bottom to 566 m below the surface. This result can be decomposed into a positive (eddy to wave) component, equal to 0.2 ± 0.1 mW m−2, driven by horizontal straining of internal waves, and a negative (wave to eddy) component, equal to −2.5 ± 0.6 mW m−2, driven by vertical shearing of the wave spectrum. Temporal variability of the transfer rate is much greater than the mean value. Close to topography, large energy transfers are associated with low-frequency buoyancy fluxes, the underpinning physics of which do not conform to linear wave dynamics and are thereby in need of further research. Our work suggests that eddy–internal wave interactions may play a significant role in the energy balance of the Southern Ocean mesoscale eddy and internal wave fields.

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Molly Baringer, Mariana B. Bif, Tim Boyer, Seth M. Bushinsky, Brendan R. Carter, Ivona Cetinić, Don P. Chambers, Lijing Cheng, Sanai Chiba, Minhan Dai, Catia M. Domingues, Shenfu Dong, Andrea J. Fassbender, Richard A. Feely, Eleanor Frajka-Williams, Bryan A. Franz, John Gilson, Gustavo Goni, Benjamin D. Hamlington, Zeng-Zhen Hu, Boyin Huang, Masayoshi Ishii, Svetlana Jevrejeva, William E. Johns, Gregory C. Johnson, Kenneth S. Johnson, John Kennedy, Marion Kersalé, Rachel E. Killick, Peter Landschützer, Matthias Lankhorst, Tong Lee, Eric Leuliette, Feili Li, Eric Lindstrom, Ricardo Locarnini, Susan Lozier, John M. Lyman, John J. Marra, Christopher S. Meinen, Mark A. Merrifield, Gary T. Mitchum, Ben Moat, Didier Monselesan, R. Steven Nerem, Renellys C. Perez, Sarah G. Purkey, Darren Rayner, James Reagan, Nicholas Rome, Alejandra Sanchez-Franks, Claudia Schmid, Joel P. Scott, Uwe Send, David A. Siegel, David A. Smeed, Sabrina Speich, Paul W. Stackhouse Jr., William Sweet, Yuichiro Takeshita, Philip R. Thompson, Joaquin A. Triñanes, Martin Visbeck, Denis L. Volkov, Rik Wanninkhof, Robert A. Weller, Toby K. Westberry, Matthew J. Widlansky, Susan E. Wijffels, Anne C. Wilber, Lisan Yu, Weidong Yu, and Huai-Min Zhang
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