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Huijie Xue, Fei Chai, and Neal R. Pettigrew

Abstract

The Princeton Ocean Model is used to study the circulation in the Gulf of Maine and its seasonal transition in response to wind, surface heat flux, river discharge, and the M 2 tide. The model has an orthogonal-curvature linear grid in the horizontal with variable spacing from 3 km nearshore to 7 km offshore and 19 levels in the vertical. It is initialized and forced at the open boundary with model results from the East Coast Forecast System. The first experiment is forced by monthly climatological wind and heat flux from the Comprehensive Ocean Atmosphere Data Set; discharges from the Saint John, Penobscot, Kennebec, and Merrimack Rivers are added in the second experiment; the semidiurnal lunar tide (M 2) is included as part of the open boundary forcing in the third experiment.

It is found that the surface heat flux plays an important role in regulating the annual cycle of the circulation in the Gulf of Maine. The spinup of the cyclonic circulation between April and June is likely caused by the differential heating between the interior gulf and the exterior shelf/slope region. From June to December, the cyclonic circulation continues to strengthen, but gradually shrinks in size. When winter cooling erodes the stratification, the cyclonic circulation penetrates deeper into the water column. The circulation quickly spins down from December to February as most of the energy is consumed by bottom friction. While inclusion of river discharge changes details of the circulation pattern, the annual evolution of the circulation is largely unaffected. On the other hand, inclusion of the tide results in not only the anticyclonic circulation on Georges Bank but also modifications to the seasonal circulation.

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Mengrong Ding, Pengfei Lin, Hailong Liu, and Fei Chai

Abstract

The authors study the long-term behaviors of eddy activity in the northeastern Pacific (NEP) and the dynamic mechanism behind them, using the third version of the mesoscale eddy trajectory dataset released by Chelton and Schlax as well as other observation and reanalysis datasets. Both the eddy kinetic energy (EKE) and eddy occurrence number (EON) present prominent increases, with interannual and decadal variabilities northeast of the Hawaiian–Emperor seamounts. The increasing EON is mainly due to the prolongation of eddy lifetimes associated with eddy intensification, particularly for anticyclonic eddies (AEs). The prolongation of eddy lifetimes results from weakened surface winds. The enhanced anticyclonic wind stress curl (WSC) injects more energy into the AEs in the study domain, providing a more suitable environment for their growth. The decadal climate modes, such as the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) and the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO), may also modulate eddy activity in the NEP by exerting fluctuations in the surface wind system.

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Feng Nan, Huijie Xue, Fei Chai, Dongxiao Wang, Fei Yu, Maochong Shi, Peifang Guo, and Peng Xiu

Abstract

Inferred from the satellite and in situ hydrographic data from the 1990s and 2000s, the Kuroshio intrusion into the South China Sea (SCS) had a weakening trend over the past two decades. Associated with the weakened Kuroshio intrusion, the Kuroshio loop and eddy activity southwest of Taiwan became weaker, whereas the water above the salinity minimum became less saline in the northern SCS. The sea surface height southwest of Taiwan increased at a slower rate compared to other regions of the SCS because of the weakened Kuroshio intrusion. Simulations using the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) Pacific model show that the strength of the Kuroshio intrusion into the SCS decreased from 1993 to 2010 with a negative trend, −0.24 sverdrups (Sv) yr−1 (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1), in the total Luzon Strait transport (LST). Although wind-induced Ekman transport through the Luzon Strait became weaker, the magnitude at 0.001 Sv yr−1 was too small to compensate for the negative trend of the LST. On the other hand, the piling up of the water induced by monsoon winds was an important mechanism for changing the pressure gradient across the Luzon Strait and eventually affecting the LST. The sea level gradient between the western Pacific and the SCS had a negative trend, −0.10 cm yr−1, corresponding to a negative trend in the geostrophic transport at −0.20 Sv yr−1. The Kuroshio transport east of Luzon Island also had a negative trend, which might also be linked to the weakening Kuroshio intrusion.

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Shijian Hu, Ying Zhang, Ming Feng, Yan Du, Janet Sprintall, Fan Wang, Dunxin Hu, Qiang Xie, and Fei Chai

Abstract

Variability of oceanic salinity, an indicator of the global hydrological cycle, plays an important role in the basin-scale ocean circulation. In this study, interannual to decadal variability of salinity in the upper layer of the Indian Ocean is investigated using Argo observations since 2004 and data assimilating model outputs (1992–2015). The southeastern Indian Ocean shows the strongest interannual to decadal variability of upper-ocean salinity in the Indian Ocean. Westward propagation of salinity anomalies along isopycnal surfaces is detected in the southern Indian Ocean and attributed to zonal salinity advection anomalies associated with the Indonesian Throughflow and the South Equatorial Current. Composite and salinity budget analyses show that horizontal advection is a major contributor to the interannual to decadal salinity variability of the southern Indian Ocean, and the local air–sea freshwater flux plays a secondary role. The Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) modulate the salinity variability in the southeastern Indian Ocean, with low salinity anomalies occurring during the negative phases of the PDO and ENSO and high salinity anomalies during their positive phases. The Indonesian Throughflow plays an essential role in transmitting the PDO- and ENSO-related salinity signals into the Indian Ocean. A statistical model is proposed based on the PDO index, which successfully predicts the southeastern Indian Ocean salinity variability with a lead time of 10 months.

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Arthur J. Miller, Michael A. Alexander, George J. Boer, Fei Chai, Ken Denman, David J. Erickson III, Robert Frouin, Albert J. Gabric, Edward A. Laws, Marlon R. Lewis, Zhengyu Liu, Ragu Murtugudde, Shoichiro Nakamoto, Douglas J. Neilson, Joel R. Norris, J. Carter Ohlmann, R. Ian Perry, Niklas Schneider, Karen M. Shell, and Axel Timmermann
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