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L. D. Talley

Abstract

The linear stability of thin, quasi-geostrophic, two-layer zonal jets on the β-plane is considered. The meridional structure of the jets is approximated in such a way as to allow an exact dispersion relation to be found. Necessary conditions for instability and energy integrals are extended to these piece-wise continuous profiles. The linearly unstable modes which arise can be related directly to instabilities arising from the vertical and horizontal shear. It is found empirically that the necessary conditions for instability are sufficient for the cases considered. Attention is focused on unstable modes that penetrate far into the locally stable ocean interior and which are found when conditions allow the jet instability phase speeds to overlap the far-field. free-wave phase speeds. These radiating instabilities exist in addition to more unstable waves which are trapped within a few deformation radii of the jet. The growth rates of the radiating instabilities depend strongly on the size of the overlap of instability and free-wave phase speeds. The extreme cases of this are westward jets which have vigorously growing, radiating instabilities and purely eastward jets which do not radiate at all. Radiating instabilities are divided into two types: a subset of the jets' main unstable waves near marginal stability and instabilities which appear to be destabilized free waves of the interior ocean. It is suggested that the fully developed field of instabilities of a zonal current consists of the most unstable, trapped waves directly in the current with a shift to less unstable, radiating waves some distance from the current. A brief comparison of the model results with observations south of the Gulf Stream is made.

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L. D. Talley

Abstract

The linear stability of zonal, parallel shear flow on a beta-plane is discussed. While the localized shear region supports unstable waves, the far-field can support Rossby waves because of the ambient potential-vorticity gradient. An infinite zonal flow with a continuous cross-stream velocity gradient is approximated with segments of uniform flow, joined together by segments of uniform potential vorticity. This simplification allows an exact dispersion relation to be found. There are two classes of linearly unstable solutions. One type is trapped to the source of energy and has large growth rates. The second type is weaker instabilities which excite Rossby waves in the far-field: the influence of these weaker instabilities extends far beyond that of the most unstable waves.

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L. D. Talley

Abstract

The heat transported meridionally in the Pacific Ocean is calculated from the surface heat budgets of Clark and Weare and others; both budgets were based on Bunker's method with different radiation formulas. The meridional heat transport is also calculated from the surface heat budget of Esbensen and Kushnir, who used Budyko's method. The heat transport is southward at most latitudes if the numbers of Clark and of Weare are used. It is northward in the North Pacific and southward in the South Pacific if Eshensen and Kushnir's numbers are used. Systematic errors in both calculations appear to be so large that confident determination of even the sign of the heat transport in the North Pacific is not possible. The amount of heat transported poleward by all oceans is obtained from the Pacific Ocean calculation and transports in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans based on Bunker's surface heat fluxes.

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M. S. McCartney and L. D. Talley

Abstract

A box Model of warm-to-cold-water conversion in the northern North Atlantic is developed and used to estimate conversion rates, given water mass temperatures, conversion paths and rate of air-sea heat exchange. The northern North Atlantic is modeled by three boxes, each required to satisfy heat and mass balance statements. The boxes represent the Norwegian Sea, and a two-layer representation of the open subpolar North Atlantic. In the Norwegian Sea box, warm water enters from the south, is cooled in the cyclonic gyre of the Norwegian–Greenland Sea, and the colder water returns southwards to the open subpolar North Atlantic. Some exchange with the North Polar Sea also is included. The open subpolar North Atlantic has two boxes. In the abyssal box, the dense overflows from the Norwegian Sea flow south, entraining warm water from the upper-ocean box. In the upper-ocean box, warm water enters from the south, supplying the warm water for an upper ocean cyclonic circulation that culminates in production by convection of Labrador Sea Water, and also the warm water that is entrained into the abyss, and the warm water that continues north into the Norwegian Sea. Our estimates are that 14 × 106 m3 s−1 of warm (11.5°C) water flows north to the west of Ireland, with about a third of this branching into the Norwegian Sea. The production rate for Labrador Sea Water is 8.5 × 106 m3 s−1), and this combines with a flow of dense Norwegian Sea Overflow waters (with entrained warmer waters) at 2.5 × 106 m3 s−1 to give a Deep Western Boundary Current of 11 × 106 m3 s−1. The total southward flow east of Newfoundland is this plus 4 × 106 m3 s−1 of cold less dense Labrador Current waters (there is a net southward flow between Newfoundland and Ireland of about 1 × 106 m3 s−1 supplied by northward flow through the Bering Strait, passing through the North Polar Sea to enter the Norwegian Sea.

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L. D. Talley and M. S. McCartney

Abstract

Labrador Sea Water is the final product of the cyclonic circulation of Subpolar Mode Water in the open northern North Atlantic (McCartney and Talley, 1982). The temperature and salinity of the convectively formed Subpolar Mode Water decrease from 14.7°C, 36.08‰ to 3.4°C, 34.88‰ on account of the cumulative effects of excess precipitation and cooling. The coldest Mode Water is Labrador Sea Water, which spreads at mid-depths and is found throughout the North Atlantic Ocean north of 40°N and along its western boundary to 18°N.

A vertical minimum in potential vorticity is used as the primary tracer for Labrador Sea Water. Labrador Sea Water is advected in three main directions out of the Labrador Sea: 1) northeastward into the Irminger Sea, 2) southeastward across the Atlantic beneath the North Atlantic current, and 3) southward past Newfoundland with the Labrador Current and thence westward into the Slope Water region, crossing under the Gulf Stream off Cape Hatteras.

The Labrador Sea Water core is nearly coincident with an isopycnal which also intersects the lower part of the Mediterranean Water, whose high salinity and high potential vorticity balance the low salinity and low potential vorticity of the Labrador Sea Water. Nearly isopycnal mixing between them produces the upper part of the North Atlantic Deep Water.

A 27-year data set from the Labrador Sea at Ocean Weather Station Bravo shows decade-long changes in the temperature, salinity, density and formation rate of Labrador Sea Water, indicating that Labrador Sea Water property distributions away from the Labrador Sea are in part due to changes in the source.

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He Wang, Julie L. McClean, and Lynne D. Talley

Abstract

The Arabian Sea, influenced by the Indian monsoon, has many unique features including its basin scale seasonally reversing surface circulation and the Great Whirl, a seasonal anti-cyclonic system appearing during the southwest monsoon close to the western boundary. To establish a comprehensive dynamical picture of the Arabian Sea, we utilize numerical model output and design a full vorticity budget that includes a fully-decomposed nonlinear term. The ocean general circulation model has 0.1° resolution and is mesoscale eddy-resolving in the region. In the western boundary current system, we highlight the role of nonlinear eddies in the life cycle of the Great Whirl. The nonlinear eddy term is of leading order importance in this feature’s vorticity balance. Specifically, it contributes to the Great Whirl’s persistence in boreal fall after the weakening of the southwesterly winds. In the open ocean, Sverdrup dynamics and annual Rossby waves are found to dominate the vorticity balance; the latter is considered as a key factor in the formation of the Great Whirl and the sea-sonal reversal of the western boundary current. In addition, we discuss different forms of vertically-integrated vorticity equations in the model and argue that the bottom pressure torque term can be interpreted analogously as friction in the western boundary and vortex stretching in the open ocean.

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Andrey Y. Shcherbina, Daniel L. Rudnick, and Lynne D. Talley

Abstract

The feasibility of ice-draft profiling using an upward-looking bottom-mounted acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) is demonstrated. Ice draft is determined as the difference between the instrument depth, derived from high-accuracy pressure data, and the distance to the lower ice surface, determined by the ADCP echo travel time. Algorithms for the surface range estimate from the water-track echo intensity profiles, data quality control, and correction procedures have been developed. Sources of error in using an ADCP as an ice profiler were investigated using the models of sound signal propagation and reflection. The effects of atmospheric pressure changes, sound speed variation, finite instrument beamwidth, hardware signal processing, instrument tilt, beam misalignment, and vertical sensor offset are quantified. The developed algorithms are tested using the data from the winter-long ADCP deployment on the northwestern shelf of the Okhotsk Sea.

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Lynne D. Talley, Joseph L. Reid, and Paul E. Robbins

Abstract

The meridional overturning circulation for the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans is computed from absolute geostrophic velocity estimates based on hydrographic data and from climatological Ekman transports. The Atlantic overturn includes the expected North Atlantic Deep Water formation (including Labrador Sea Water and Nordic Sea Overflow Water), with an amplitude of about 18 Sv through most of the Atlantic and an error of the order of 3–5 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1). The Lower Circumpolar Deep Water (Antarctic Bottom Water) flows north with about 8 Sv of upwelling and a southward return in the South Atlantic, and 6 Sv extending to and upwelling in the North Atlantic. The northward flow of 8 Sv in the upper layer in the Atlantic (sea surface through the Antarctic Intermediate Water) is transformed to lower density in the Tropics before losing buoyancy in the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Current. The Pacific overturning streamfunction includes 10 Sv of Lower Circumpolar Deep Water flowing north into the South Pacific to upwell and return southward as Pacific Deep Water, and a North Pacific Intermediate Water cell of 2 Sv. The northern North Pacific has no active deep water formation at the sea surface, but in this analysis there is downwelling from the Antarctic Intermediate Water into the Pacific Deep Water, with upwelling in the Tropics. For global Southern Hemisphere overturn across 30°S, the overturning is separated into a deep and a shallow overturning cell. In the deep cell, 22–27 Sv of deep water flows southward and returns northward as bottom water. In the shallow cell, 9 Sv flows southward at low density and returns northward just above the intermediate water density. In all three oceans, the Tropics appear to dominate upwelling across isopycnals, including the migration of the deepest waters upward to the thermocline in the Indian and Pacific. Estimated diffusivities associated with this tropical upwelling are the same order of magnitude in all three oceans.

It is shown that vertically varying diffusivity associated with topography can produce deep downwelling in the absence of external buoyancy loss. The rate of such downwelling for the northern North Pacific is estimated as 2 Sv at most, which is smaller than the questionable downwelling derived from the velocity analysis.

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Andrew S. Delman, Julie L. McClean, Janet Sprintall, Lynne D. Talley, Elena Yulaeva, and Steven R. Jayne

Abstract

Eddy–mean flow interactions along the Kuroshio Extension (KE) jet are investigated using a vorticity budget of a high-resolution ocean model simulation, averaged over a 13-yr period. The simulation explicitly resolves mesoscale eddies in the KE and is forced with air–sea fluxes representing the years 1995–2007. A mean-eddy decomposition in a jet-following coordinate system removes the variability of the jet path from the eddy components of velocity; thus, eddy kinetic energy in the jet reference frame is substantially lower than in geographic coordinates and exhibits a cross-jet asymmetry that is consistent with the baroclinic instability criterion of the long-term mean field. The vorticity budget is computed in both geographic (i.e., Eulerian) and jet reference frames; the jet frame budget reveals several patterns of eddy forcing that are largely attributed to varicose modes of variability. Eddies tend to diffuse the relative vorticity minima/maxima that flank the jet, removing momentum from the fast-moving jet core and reinforcing the quasi-permanent meridional meanders in the mean jet. A pattern associated with the vertical stretching of relative vorticity in eddies indicates a deceleration (acceleration) of the jet coincident with northward (southward) quasi-permanent meanders. Eddy relative vorticity advection outside of the eastward jet core is balanced mostly by vertical stretching of the mean flow, which through baroclinic adjustment helps to drive the flanking recirculation gyres. The jet frame vorticity budget presents a well-defined picture of eddy activity, illustrating along-jet variations in eddy–mean flow interaction that may have implications for the jet’s dynamics and cross-frontal tracer fluxes.

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R. L. Beadling, J. L. Russell, R. J. Stouffer, M. Mazloff, L. D. Talley, P. J. Goodman, J. B. Sallée, H. T. Hewitt, P. Hyder, and Amarjiit Pandde

Abstract

The air–sea exchange of heat and carbon in the Southern Ocean (SO) plays an important role in mediating the climate state. The dominant role the SO plays in storing anthropogenic heat and carbon is a direct consequence of the unique and complex ocean circulation that exists there. Previous generations of climate models have struggled to accurately represent key SO properties and processes that influence the large-scale ocean circulation. This has resulted in low confidence ascribed to twenty-first-century projections of the state of the SO from previous generations of models. This analysis provides a detailed assessment of the ability of models contributed to the sixth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) to represent important observationally based SO properties. Additionally, a comprehensive overview of CMIP6 performance relative to CMIP3 and CMIP5 is presented. CMIP6 models show improved performance in the surface wind stress forcing, simulating stronger and less equatorward-biased wind fields, translating into an improved representation of the Ekman upwelling over the Drake Passage latitudes. An increased number of models simulate an Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) transport within observational uncertainty relative to previous generations; however, several models exhibit extremely weak transports. Generally, the upper SO remains biased warm and fresh relative to observations, and Antarctic sea ice extent remains poorly represented. While generational improvement is found in many metrics, persistent systematic biases are highlighted that should be a priority during model development. These biases need to be considered when interpreting projected trends or biogeochemical properties in this region.

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