Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 6 of 6 items for

  • Author or Editor: Erik van Sebille x
  • All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Wilbert Weijer and Erik van Sebille

Abstract

The impact of Agulhas leakage variability on the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) in the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) is investigated. In this model an advective connection exists that transports salinity anomalies from the Agulhas region into the North Atlantic on decadal (30–40 yr) time scales. However, there is no identifiable impact of Agulhas leakage on the strength of the AMOC, suggesting that the salinity variations are too weak to significantly modify the stratification in the North Atlantic. It is argued that this study is inconclusive with respect to an impact of Agulhas leakage on the AMOC. Salinity biases leave the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans too homogeneous, in particular erasing the observed salinity front in the Agulhas retroflection region. Consequently, salinity variability in the southeastern South Atlantic is found to be much weaker than observed.

Full access
Erik van Sebille and Peter Jan van Leeuwen

Abstract

The adiabatic transit time of wave energy radiated by an Agulhas ring released in the South Atlantic Ocean to the North Atlantic Ocean is investigated in a two-layer ocean model. Of particular interest is the arrival time of baroclinic energy in the northern part of the Atlantic, because it is related to variations in the meridional overturning circulation. The influence of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is also studied, because it allows for the conversion from barotropic to baroclinic wave energy and the generation of topographic waves. Barotropic energy from the ring is present in the northern part of the model basin within 10 days. From that time, the barotropic energy keeps rising to attain a maximum 500 days after initiation. This is independent of the presence or absence of a ridge in the model basin. Without a ridge in the model, the travel time of the baroclinic signal is 1300 days. This time is similar to the transit time of the ring from the eastern to the western coast of the model basin. In the presence of the ridge, the baroclinic signal arrives in the northern part of the model basin after approximately 10 days, which is the same time scale as that of the barotropic signal. It is apparent that the ridge can facilitate the energy conversion from barotropic to baroclinic waves and the slow baroclinic adjustment can be bypassed. The meridional overturning circulation, parameterized in two ways as either a purely barotropic or a purely baroclinic phenomenon, also responds after 1300 days. The ring temporarily increases the overturning strength. The presence of the ridge does not alter the time scales.

Full access
Erik van Sebille, Lisa M. Beal, and William E. Johns

Abstract

The advective transit time of temperature–salinity anomalies from the Agulhas region to the regions of deep convection in the North Atlantic Ocean is an important time scale in climate, because it has been linked to variability in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Studying this transit time scale is difficult, because most observational and high-resolution model data are too short for assessment of the global circulation on decadal to centennial time scales. Here, results are presented from a technique to obtain thousands of “supertrajectories” of any required length using a Monte Carlo simulation. These supertrajectories allow analysis of the circulation patterns and time scales based on Lagrangian data: in this case, observational surface drifter trajectories from the Global Drifter Program and Lagrangian data from the high-resolution OGCM for the Earth Simulator (OFES). The observational supertrajectories can only be used to study the two-dimensional (2D) surface flow, whereas the numerical supertrajectories can be used to study the full three-dimensional circulation. Results for the surface circulation indicate that the supertrajectories starting in the Agulhas Current and ending in the North Atlantic take at least 4 yr and most complete the journey in 30–40 yr. This time scale is, largely because of convergence and subduction in the subtropical gyres, longer than the 10–25 yr it takes the 3D numerical supertrajectories to complete the journey.

Full access
Paul Spence, Erik van Sebille, Oleg A. Saenko, and Matthew H. England

Abstract

This study uses a global ocean eddy-permitting climate model to explore the export of abyssal water from the Southern Ocean and its sensitivity to projected twenty-first-century poleward-intensifying Southern Ocean wind stress. The abyssal flow pathways and transport are investigated using a combination of Lagrangian and Eulerian techniques. In an Eulerian format, the equator- and poleward flows within similar abyssal density classes are increased by the wind stress changes, making it difficult to explicitly diagnose changes in the abyssal export in a meridional overturning circulation framework. Lagrangian particle analyses are used to identify the major export pathways of Southern Ocean abyssal waters and reveal an increase in the number of particles exported to the subtropics from source regions around Antarctica in response to the wind forcing. Both the Lagrangian particle and Eulerian analyses identify transients as playing a key role in the abyssal export of water from the Southern Ocean. Wind-driven modifications to the potential energy component of the vorticity balance in the abyss are also found to impact the Southern Ocean barotropic circulation.

Full access
Matthijs den Toom, Henk A. Dijkstra, Wilbert Weijer, Matthew W. Hecht, Mathew E. Maltrud, and Erik van Sebille

Abstract

The strongly eddying version of the Parallel Ocean Program (POP) is used in two 45-yr simulations to investigate the response of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) to strongly enhanced freshwater input due to Greenland melting, with an integrated flux of 0.5 Sverdrups (Sv; 1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1). For comparison, a similar set of experiments is performed using a noneddying version of POP. The aim is to identify the signature of the salt advection feedback in the two configurations. For this reason, surface salinity is not restored in these experiments. The freshwater input leads to a quantitatively comparable reduction of the overturning strength in the two models. To examine the importance of transient effects in the relation between AMOC strength and density distribution, the results of the eddy-resolving model are related to water mass transformation theory. The freshwater forcing leads to a reduction of the rate of light to dense water conversion in the North Atlantic, but there is no change in dense to light transformation elsewhere, implying that high density layers are continuously deflating. The main focus of the paper is on the effect of the AMOC reduction on the basinwide advection of freshwater. The low-resolution model results show a change of the net freshwater advection that is consistent with the salt advection feedback. However, for the eddy-resolving model, the net freshwater advection into the Atlantic basin appears to be unaffected, despite the significant change in the large-scale velocity structure.

Full access
Wilbert Weijer, Bernadette M. Sloyan, Mathew E. Maltrud, Nicole Jeffery, Matthew W. Hecht, Corinne A. Hartin, Erik van Sebille, Ilana Wainer, and Laura Landrum

Abstract

The new Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4), provides a powerful tool to understand and predict the earth’s climate system. Several aspects of the Southern Ocean in the CCSM4 are explored, including the surface climatology and interannual variability, simulation of key climate water masses (Antarctic Bottom Water, Subantarctic Mode Water, and Antarctic Intermediate Water), the transport and structure of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and interbasin exchange via the Agulhas and Tasman leakages and at the Brazil–Malvinas Confluence. It is found that the CCSM4 has varying degrees of accuracy in the simulation of the climate of the Southern Ocean when compared with observations. This study has identified aspects of the model that warrant further analysis that will result in a more comprehensive understanding of ocean–atmosphere–ice dynamics and interactions that control the earth’s climate and its variability.

Full access