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Keith B. Rodgers
,
Petra Friederichs
, and
Mojib Latif

Abstract

A 1000-yr integration of a coupled ocean–atmosphere model (ECHO-G) has been analyzed to describe decadal to multidecadal variability in equatorial Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) and thermocline depth (Z20), and their relationship to decadal modulations of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) behavior. Although the coupled model is characterized by an unrealistically regular 2-yr ENSO period, it exhibits significant modulations of ENSO amplitude on decadal to multidecadal time scales.

The authors' main finding is that the structures in SST and Z20 characteristic of tropical Pacific decadal variability (TPDV) in the model are due to an asymmetry between the anomaly patterns associated with the model's El Niño and La Niña states, with this asymmetry reflecting a nonlinearity in ENSO variability. As a result, the residual (i.e., the sum) of the composite El Niño and La Niña patterns exhibits a nonzero dipole structure across the equatorial Pacific, with positive perturbation values in the east and negative values in the west for SST and Z20. During periods when ENSO variability is strong, this difference manifests itself as a rectified change in the mean state.

For comparison, a similar analysis was applied to a gridded SST dataset spanning the period 1871–1999. The data confirms that the asymmetry between the SST anomaly patterns associated with El Niño and La Niña for the model is realistic. However, ENSO in the observations is weaker and not as regular as in the model, and thus the changes due to ENSO asymmetries for the observations can only be detected in the Niño-12 region.

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Daniele Iudicone
,
Keith B. Rodgers
,
Richard Schopp
, and
Gurvan Madec

Abstract

Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) occupies the intermediate horizon of most of the world oceans. Formed in the Southern Ocean, it is characterized by a relative salinity minimum. With a new, denser in situ National Oceanographic Data Center dataset, the authors have reanalyzed the export characteristics of AAIW from the Southern Ocean into the South Pacific Ocean. These new data show that part of the AAIW is exported from the subpolar frontal region by the large-scale circulation through an exchange window of 10° width situated east of 90°W in the southeast corner of the Pacific basin. This suggests the origin of this water to be in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. A set of numerical modeling experiments has been used to reproduce these observed features and to demonstrate that the dynamics of the exchange window is controlled by the basin-scale meridional pressure gradient. The exchange of AAIW between the Southern and Pacific Oceans must therefore be understood in the context of the large basin-scale dynamical balance rather than simply local effects.

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Wilco Hazeleger
,
Richard Seager
,
Martin Visbeck
,
Naomi Naik
, and
Keith Rodgers

Abstract

Transient eddies in the atmosphere induce a poleward transport of heat and moisture. A moist static energy budget of the surface layer is determined from the NCEP reanalysis data to evaluate the impact of the storm track. It is found that the transient eddies induce a cooling and drying of the surface layer with a monthly mean maximum of 60 W m−2. The cooling in the midlatitudes extends zonally over the entire basin. The impact of this cooling and drying on surface heat fluxes, sea surface temperature (SST), water mass transformation, and vertical structure of the Pacific is investigated using an ocean model coupled to an atmospheric mixed layer model. The cooling by atmospheric storms is represented by adding an eddy-induced transfer velocity to the mean velocity in an atmospheric mixed layer model. This is based on a parameterization of tracer transport by eddies in the ocean. When the atmospheric mixed layer model is coupled to an ocean model, realistic SSTs are simulated. The SST is up to 3 K lower due to the cooling by storms. The additional cooling leads to enhanced transformation rates of water masses in the midlatitudes. The enhanced shallow overturning cells affect even tropical regions. Together with realistic SST and deep winter mixed layer depths, this leads to formation of homogeneous water masses in the upper North Pacific, in accordance to observations.

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Katsuya Toyama
,
Keith B. Rodgers
,
Bruno Blanke
,
Daniele Iudicone
,
Masao Ishii
,
Olivier Aumont
, and
Jorge L. Sarmiento

Abstract

We evaluate the output from a widely used ocean carbon cycle model to identify the subduction and obduction (reemergence) rates of anthropogenic carbon (Cant) for climatological conditions during the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) era in 1995 using a new set of Lagrangian diagnostic tools. The principal scientific value of the Lagrangian diagnostics is in providing a new means to connect Cant reemergence pathways to the relatively rapid renewal time scales of mode waters through the overturning circulation. Our main finding is that for this model with 2.04 PgC yr−1 of uptake of Cant via gas exchange, the subduction and obduction rates across the base of the mixed layer (MLbase) are 4.96 and 4.50 PgC yr−1, respectively, which are twice as large as the gas exchange at the surface. Given that there is net accumulation of 0.17 PgC yr−1 in the mixed layer itself, this implies the residual downward Cant transport of 1.40 PgC yr−1 across the MLbase is associated with diffusion. Importantly, the net patterns for subduction and obduction transports of Cant mirror the large-scale patterns for transport of water volume, thereby illustrating the processes controlling Cant uptake. Although the net transfer across the MLbase by compensating subduction and obduction is relatively smaller than the diffusion, the localized pattern of Cant subduction and obduction implies significant regional impacts. The median time scale for reemergence of obducting particles is short (<10 yr), indicating that reemergence should contribute to limiting future carbon uptake through its contribution to perturbing the Revelle factor for surface waters.

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Yassir A. Eddebbar
,
Keith B. Rodgers
,
Matthew C. Long
,
Aneesh C. Subramanian
,
Shang-Ping Xie
, and
Ralph F. Keeling

Abstract

The oceanic response to recent tropical eruptions is examined in Large Ensemble (LE) experiments from two fully coupled global climate models, the Community Earth System Model (CESM) and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Earth System Model (ESM2M), each forced by a distinct volcanic forcing dataset. Following the simulated eruptions of Agung, El Chichón, and Pinatubo, the ocean loses heat and gains oxygen and carbon, in general agreement with available observations. In both models, substantial global surface cooling is accompanied by El Niño–like equatorial Pacific surface warming a year after the volcanic forcing peaks. A mechanistic analysis of the CESM and ESM2M responses to Pinatubo identifies remote wind forcing from the western Pacific as a major driver of this El Niño–like response. Following eruption, faster cooling over the Maritime Continent than adjacent oceans suppresses convection and leads to persistent westerly wind anomalies over the western tropical Pacific. These wind anomalies excite equatorial downwelling Kelvin waves and the upwelling of warm subsurface anomalies in the eastern Pacific, promoting the development of El Niño conditions through Bjerknes feedbacks a year after eruption. This El Niño–like response drives further ocean heat loss through enhanced equatorial cloud albedo, and dominates global carbon uptake as upwelling of carbon-rich waters is suppressed in the tropical Pacific. Oxygen uptake occurs primarily at high latitudes, where surface cooling intensifies the ventilation of subtropical thermocline waters. These volcanically forced ocean responses are large enough to contribute to the observed decadal variability in oceanic heat, carbon, and oxygen.

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Isla R. Simpson
,
Nan Rosenbloom
,
Gokhan Danabasoglu
,
Clara Deser
,
Stephen G. Yeager
,
Christina S. McCluskey
,
Ryohei Yamaguchi
,
Jean-Francois Lamarque
,
Simone Tilmes
,
Michael J. Mills
, and
Keith B. Rodgers

Abstract

Single-forcing large ensembles are a relatively new tool for quantifying the contributions of different anthropogenic and natural forcings to the historical and future projected evolution of the climate system. This study introduces a new single-forcing large ensemble with the Community Earth System Model, version 2 (CESM2), which can be used to separate the influences of greenhouse gases, anthropogenic aerosols, biomass burning aerosols, and all remaining forcings on the evolution of the Earth system from 1850 to 2050. Here, the forced responses of global near-surface temperature and associated drivers are examined in CESM2 and compared with those in a single-forcing large ensemble with CESM2’s predecessor, CESM1. The experimental design, the imposed forcing, and the model physics all differ between the CESM1 and CESM2 ensembles. In CESM1, an “all-but-one” approach was used whereby everything except the forcing of interest is time evolving, while in CESM2 an “only” approach is used, whereby only the forcing of interest is time evolving. This experimental design choice is shown to matter considerably for anthropogenic aerosol-forced change in CESM2, due to state dependence of cryospheric albedo feedbacks and nonlinearity in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) response to forcing. This impact of experimental design is, however, strongly dependent on the model physics and/or the imposed forcing, as the same sensitivity to experimental design is not found in CESM1, which appears to be an inherently less nonlinear model in both its AMOC behavior and cryospheric feedbacks.

Restricted access
Eric D. Galbraith
,
Eun Young Kwon
,
Anand Gnanadesikan
,
Keith B. Rodgers
,
Stephen M. Griffies
,
Daniele Bianchi
,
Jorge L. Sarmiento
,
John P. Dunne
,
Jennifer Simeon
,
Richard D. Slater
,
Andrew T. Wittenberg
, and
Isaac M. Held

Abstract

The distribution of radiocarbon (14C) in the ocean and atmosphere has fluctuated on time scales ranging from seasons to millennia. It is thought that these fluctuations partly reflect variability in the climate system, offering a rich potential source of information to help understand mechanisms of past climate change. Here, a long simulation with a new, coupled model is used to explore the mechanisms that redistribute 14C within the earth system on interannual to centennial time scales. The model, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Climate Model version 2 (GFDL CM2) with Modular Ocean Model version 4p1(MOM4p1) at coarse-resolution (CM2Mc), is a lower-resolution version of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory’s CM2M model, uses no flux adjustments, and is run here with a simple prognostic ocean biogeochemistry model including 14C. The atmospheric 14C and radiative boundary conditions are held constant so that the oceanic distribution of 14C is only a function of internal climate variability. The simulation displays previously described relationships between tropical sea surface 14C and the model equivalents of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and Indonesian Throughflow. Sea surface 14C variability also arises from fluctuations in the circulations of the subarctic Pacific and Southern Ocean, including North Pacific decadal variability and episodic ventilation events in the Weddell Sea that are reminiscent of the Weddell Polynya of 1974–76. Interannual variability in the air–sea balance of 14C is dominated by exchange within the belt of intense “Southern Westerly” winds, rather than at the convective locations where the surface 14C is most variable. Despite significant interannual variability, the simulated impact on air–sea exchange is an order of magnitude smaller than the recorded atmospheric 14C variability of the past millennium. This result partly reflects the importance of variability in the production rate of 14C in determining atmospheric 14C but may also reflect an underestimate of natural climate variability, particularly in the Southern Westerly winds.

Full access
Benjamin D. Santer
,
Stephen Po-Chedley
,
Nicole Feldl
,
John C. Fyfe
,
Qiang Fu
,
Susan Solomon
,
Mark England
,
Keith B. Rodgers
,
Malte F. Stuecker
,
Carl Mears
,
Cheng-Zhi Zou
,
Céline J. W. Bonfils
,
Giuliana Pallotta
,
Mark D. Zelinka
,
Nan Rosenbloom
, and
Jim Edwards

Abstract

Previous work identified an anthropogenic fingerprint pattern in T AC(x, t), the amplitude of the seasonal cycle of mid- to upper-tropospheric temperature (TMT), but did not explicitly consider whether fingerprint identification in satellite T AC(x, t) data could have been influenced by real-world multidecadal internal variability (MIV). We address this question here using large ensembles (LEs) performed with five climate models. LEs provide many different sequences of internal variability noise superimposed on an underlying forced signal. Despite differences in historical external forcings, climate sensitivity, and MIV properties of the five models, their T AC(x, t) fingerprints are similar and statistically identifiable in 239 of the 240 LE realizations of historical climate change. Comparing simulated and observed variability spectra reveals that consistent fingerprint identification is unlikely to be biased by model underestimates of observed MIV. Even in the presence of large (factor of 3–4) intermodel and inter-realization differences in the amplitude of MIV, the anthropogenic fingerprints of seasonal cycle changes are robustly identifiable in models and satellite data. This is primarily due to the fact that the distinctive, global-scale fingerprint patterns are spatially dissimilar to the smaller-scale patterns of internal T AC(x, t) variability associated with the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation and El Niño–Southern Oscillation. The robustness of the seasonal cycle detection and attribution results shown here, taken together with the evidence from idealized aquaplanet simulations, suggest that basic physical processes are dictating a common pattern of forced T AC(x, t) changes in observations and in the five LEs. The key processes involved include GHG-induced expansion of the tropics, lapse-rate changes, land surface drying, and sea ice decrease.

Free access
Ryohei Yamaguchi
,
Ji-Eun Kim
,
Keith B. Rodgers
,
Karl Stein
,
Axel Timmermann
,
Sun-Seon Lee
,
Lei Huang
,
Malte F. Stuecker
,
John T. Fasullo
,
Gokhan Danabasoglu
,
Clara Deser
,
Jean-Francois Lamarque
,
Nan A. Rosenbloom
, and
Jim Edwards

Abstract

Biomass burning aerosol (BBA) emissions in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP6) historical forcing fields have enhanced temporal variability during the years 1997–2014 compared to earlier periods. Recent studies document that the corresponding inhomogeneous shortwave forcing over this period can cause changes in clouds, permafrost, and soil moisture, which contribute to a net terrestrial Northern Hemisphere warming relative to earlier periods. Here, we investigate the ocean response to the hemispherically asymmetric warming, using a 100-member ensemble of the Community Earth System Model version 2 Large Ensemble forced by two different BBA emissions (CMIP6 default and temporally smoothed over 1990–2020). Differences between the two subensemble means show that ocean temperature anomalies occur during periods of high BBA variability and subsequently persist over multiple decades. In the North Atlantic, surface warming is efficiently compensated for by decreased northward oceanic heat transport due to a slowdown of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. In the North Pacific, surface warming is compensated for by an anomalous cross-equatorial cell (CEC) that reduces northward oceanic heat transport. The heat that converges in the South Pacific through the anomalous CEC is shunted into the subsurface and contributes to formation of long-lasting ocean temperature anomalies. The anomalous CEC is maintained through latitude-dependent contributions from narrow western boundary currents and basinwide near-surface Ekman transport. These results indicate that interannual variability in forcing fields may significantly change the background climate state over long time scales, presenting a potential uncertainty in CMIP6-class climate projections forced without interannual variability.

Open access