Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 9 of 9 items for

  • Author or Editor: Laura Jackson x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Laura Jackson and Michael Vellinga

Abstract

Multidecadal to centennial variability of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is investigated in a multi-thousand-year simulation of the third version of the Hadley Centre Coupled Model (HadCM3) and in an ensemble of general circulation models (GCMs) based on HadCM3 with perturbed physics. Large changes in the AMOC in the standard HadCM3 are strongly related to salinity anomalies in the deep-water formation regions, with anomalies arriving via two pathways. The first is from a coupled feedback in the equatorial Atlantic Ocean, described previously by Vellinga and Wu, and the second is from variability in the Arctic Ocean, possibly driven by stochastic sea level pressure. The low-frequency variability of the AMOC in HadCM3 is well predicted from salinity anomalies from these two pathways. The sensitivity of these processes to model physics is investigated using a small ensemble based on HadCM3 where parameters relating to physical processes are varied. The AMOC responds consistently to the salinity anomalies in the ensemble members. However, 1) the timing of the response depends on the background climate state and 2) some ensemble members have significantly larger AMOC and salinity variability than in standard HadCM3 simulations. In this small ensemble, the presence and strength of multidecadal to centennial AMOC variability is associated with the variability of salinity exported from the Arctic, with little multidecadal to centennial variability of either in the coldest members. This demonstrates how the background climate state can alter the frequency and strength of AMOC variability and is a first step toward understanding how AMOC variability differs within a multimodel context.

Full access
Laura Jackson, Chris W. Hughes, and Richard G. Williams

Abstract

The topographical control of western boundary currents within a basin and zonal jets in a channel is investigated in terms of the potential vorticity (PV) and barotropic vorticity (BV: the curl of the depth-integrated velocity) budgets using isopycnic, adiabatic wind–driven experiments. Along the western boundary, the wind-driven transport is returned across latitude lines by the bottom pressure torque, while friction is only important in altering the PV within an isopycnic layer and in allowing a closed circulation. These contrasting balances constrain the geometry of the flow through integral relationships for the BV and PV. For both homogenous and stratified basins with sloping sidewalls, the northward subtropical jet separates from the western wall and has opposing frictional torques on either side of the jet, which cancel in a zonal integral for BV but alter the PV within a layer streamline. In a channel with partial topographic barriers, the bottom pressure torque is again important in returning wind-driven flows along western boundaries and in transferring BV from neighboring wind-driven gyres into a zonal jet. The depth-integrated flow steered by topography controls where the bottom friction alters the PV, which can lead to different PV states being attained for separate subbasins along a channel.

Full access
Christopher D. Roberts, Freya K. Garry, and Laura C. Jackson

Abstract

The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is an important component of the North Atlantic climate system. Here, simulations from 10 coupled climate models are used to calculate patterns of sea surface temperature (SST) and subsurface density change associated with decadal AMOC variability. The models are evaluated using observational constraints and it is shown that all 10 models suffer from North Atlantic Deep Water transports that are too shallow, although the biases are least severe in the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4). In the models that best compare with observations, positive AMOC anomalies are associated with reduced Labrador Sea stratification and increased midocean (800–1800 m) densities in the subpolar gyre. Maximum correlations occur when AMOC anomalies lag Labrador Sea stratification and subsurface density anomalies by 2–6 yr and 0–3 yr, respectively. In all 10 models, North Atlantic warming follows positive AMOC anomalies, but the patterns and magnitudes of SST change are variable. A simple detection and attribution analysis is then used to evaluate the utility of Atlantic midocean density and Labrador Sea stratification indices for detecting changes to the AMOC in the presence of increasing CO2 concentrations. It is shown that trends in midocean density are identifiable (although not attributable) significantly earlier than trends in the AMOC. For this reason, subsurface density observations could be a useful complement to transport observations made at specific latitudes and may help with the more rapid diagnosis of basin-scale changes in the AMOC. Using existing observations, it is not yet possible to detect a robust trend in the AMOC using either midocean densities or transport observations from 26.5°N.

Full access
Dylan Oldenburg, Robert C. J. Wills, Kyle C. Armour, LuAnne Thompson, and Laura C. Jackson

Abstract

Ocean heat transport (OHT) plays a key role in climate and its variability. Here, we identify modes of low-frequency North Atlantic OHT variability by applying a low-frequency component analysis (LFCA) to output from three global climate models. The first low-frequency component (LFC), computed using this method, is an index of OHT variability that maximizes the ratio of low-frequency variance (occurring at decadal and longer time scales) to total variance. Lead–lag regressions of atmospheric and ocean variables onto the LFC time series illuminate the dominant mechanisms controlling low-frequency OHT variability. Anomalous northwesterly winds from eastern North America over the North Atlantic act to increase upper ocean density in the Labrador Sea region, enhancing deep convection, which later increases OHT via changes in the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). The strengthened AMOC carries warm, salty water into the subpolar gyre, reducing deep convection and weakening AMOC and OHT. This mechanism, where changes in AMOC and OHT are driven primarily by changes in Labrador Sea deep convection, holds not only in models where the climatological (i.e., time-mean) deep convection is concentrated in the Labrador Sea, but also in models where the climatological deep convection is concentrated in the Greenland–Iceland–Norwegian (GIN) Seas or the Irminger and Iceland Basins. These results suggest that despite recent observational evidence suggesting that the Labrador Sea plays a minor role in driving the climatological AMOC, the Labrador Sea may still play an important role in driving low-frequency variability in AMOC and OHT.

Full access
Graeme A. MacGilchrist, Helen L. Johnson, David P. Marshall, Camille Lique, Matthew Thomas, Laura C. Jackson, and Richard A. Wood

Abstract

A substantial fraction of the deep ocean is ventilated in the high-latitude North Atlantic. Consequently, the region plays a crucial role in transient climate change through the uptake of carbon dioxide and heat. However, owing to the Lagrangian nature of the process, many aspects of deep Atlantic Ocean ventilation and its representation in climate simulations remain obscure. We investigate the nature of ventilation in the high-latitude North Atlantic in an eddy-permitting numerical ocean circulation model using a comprehensive set of Lagrangian trajectory experiments. Backward-in-time trajectories from a model-defined North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) reveal the locations of subduction from the surface mixed layer at high spatial resolution. The major fraction of NADW ventilation results from subduction in the Labrador Sea, predominantly within the boundary current (~60% of ventilated NADW volume) and a smaller fraction arising from open ocean deep convection (~25%). Subsurface transformations—due in part to the model’s parameterization of bottom-intensified mixing—facilitate NADW ventilation, such that water subducted in the boundary current ventilates all of NADW, not just the lighter density classes. There is a notable absence of ventilation arising from subduction in the Greenland–Iceland–Norwegian Seas, due to the re-entrainment of those waters as they move southward. Taken together, our results emphasize an important distinction between ventilation and dense water formation in terms of the location where each takes place, and their concurrent sensitivities. These features of NADW ventilation are explored to understand how the representation of high-latitude processes impacts properties of the deep ocean in a state-of-the-science numerical simulation.

Open access
Sonya Legg, Bruce Briegleb, Yeon Chang, Eric P. Chassignet, Gokhan Danabasoglu, Tal Ezer, Arnold L. Gordon, Stephen Griffies, Robert Hallberg, Laura Jackson, William Large, Tamay M. Özgökmen, Hartmut Peters, Jim Price, Ulrike Riemenschneider, Wanli Wu, Xiaobiao Xu, and Jiayan Yang

Oceanic overflows are bottom-trapped density currents originating in semienclosed basins, such as the Nordic seas, or on continental shelves, such as the Antarctic shelf. Overflows are the source of most of the abyssal waters, and therefore play an important role in the large-scale ocean circulation, forming a component of the sinking branch of the thermohaline circulation. As they descend the continental slope, overflows mix vigorously with the surrounding oceanic waters, changing their density and transport significantly. These mixing processes occur on spatial scales well below the resolution of ocean climate models, with the result that deep waters and deep western boundary currents are simulated poorly. The Gravity Current Entrainment Climate Process Team was established by the U.S. Climate Variability and Prediction (CLIVAR) Program to accelerate the development and implementation of improved representations of overflows within large-scale climate models, bringing together climate model developers with those conducting observational, numerical, and laboratory process studies of overflows. Here, the organization of the Climate Process Team is described, and a few of the successes and lessons learned during this collaboration are highlighted, with some emphasis on the well-observed Mediterranean overflow. The Climate Process Team has developed several different overflow parameterizations, which are examined in a hierarchy of ocean models, from comparatively well-resolved regional models to the largest-scale global climate models.

Full access
Catherine A. Senior, John H. Marsham, Ségolène Berthou, Laura E. Burgin, Sonja S. Folwell, Elizabeth J. Kendon, Cornelia M. Klein, Richard G. Jones, Neha Mittal, David P. Rowell, Lorenzo Tomassini, Théo Vischel, Bernd Becker, Cathryn E. Birch, Julia Crook, Andrew J. Dougill, Declan L. Finney, Richard J. Graham, Neil C. G. Hart, Christopher D. Jack, Lawrence S. Jackson, Rachel James, Bettina Koelle, Herbert Misiani, Brenda Mwalukanga, Douglas J. Parker, Rachel A. Stratton, Christopher M. Taylor, Simon O. Tucker, Caroline M. Wainwright, Richard Washington, and Martin R. Willet

Abstract

Pan-Africa convection-permitting regional climate model simulations have been performed to study the impact of high resolution and the explicit representation of atmospheric moist convection on the present and future climate of Africa. These unique simulations have allowed European and African climate scientists to understand the critical role that the representation of convection plays in the ability of a contemporary climate model to capture climate and climate change, including many impact-relevant aspects such as rainfall variability and extremes. There are significant improvements in not only the small-scale characteristics of rainfall such as its intensity and diurnal cycle, but also in the large-scale circulation. Similarly, effects of explicit convection affect not only projected changes in rainfall extremes, dry spells, and high winds, but also continental-scale circulation and regional rainfall accumulations. The physics underlying such differences are in many cases expected to be relevant to all models that use parameterized convection. In some cases physical understanding of small-scale change means that we can provide regional decision-makers with new scales of information across a range of sectors. We demonstrate the potential value of these simulations both as scientific tools to increase climate process understanding and, when used with other models, for direct user applications. We describe how these ground-breaking simulations have been achieved under the U.K. Government’s Future Climate for Africa Programme. We anticipate a growing number of such simulations, which we advocate should become a routine component of climate projection, and encourage international coordination of such computationally and human-resource expensive simulations as effectively as possible.

Full access
Catherine A Senior, John H Marsham, Sègoléne Berthou, Laura E Burgin, Sonja S Folwell, Elizabeth J Kendon, Cornelia M Klein, Richard G Jones, Neha Mittal, David P Rowell, Lorenzo Tomassini, Thèo Vischel, Bernd Becker, Cathryn E Birch, Julia Crook, Andrew J Dougill, Declan L Finney, Richard J Graham, Neil C G Hart, Christopher D Jack, Lawrence S Jackson, Rachel James, Bettina Koelle, Herbert Misiani, Brenda Mwalukanga, Douglas J Parker, Rachel A Stratton, Christopher M Taylor, Simon O Tucker, Caroline M Wainwright, Richard Washington, and Martin R Willet

Abstract

Pan-Africa convection-permitting regional climate model simulations have been performed to study the impact of high resolution and the explicit representation of atmospheric moist convection on the present and future climate of Africa. These unique simulations have allowed European and African climate scientists to understand the critical role that the representation of convection plays in the ability of a contemporary climate model to capture climate and climate change, including many impact relevant aspects such as rainfall variability and extremes. There are significant improvements in not only the small-scale characteristics of rainfall such as its intensity and diurnal cycle, but also in the large-scale circulation. Similarly effects of explicit convection affect not only projected changes in rainfall extremes, dry-spells and high winds, but also continental-scale circulation and regional rainfall accumulations. The physics underlying such differences are in many cases expected to be relevant to all models that use parameterized convection. In some cases physical understanding of small-scale change mean that we can provide regional decision makers with new scales of information across a range of sectors. We demonstrate the potential value of these simulations both as scientific tools to increase climate process understanding and, when used with other models, for direct user applications. We describe how these ground-breaking simulations have been achieved under the UK Government’s Future Climate for Africa Programme. We anticipate a growing number of such simulations, which we advocate should become a routine component of climate projection, and encourage international co-ordination of such computationally, and human-resource expensive simulations as effectively as possible.

Full access
Randall M. Dole, J. Ryan Spackman, Matthew Newman, Gilbert P. Compo, Catherine A. Smith, Leslie M. Hartten, Joseph J. Barsugli, Robert S. Webb, Martin P. Hoerling, Robert Cifelli, Klaus Wolter, Christopher D. Barnet, Maria Gehne, Ronald Gelaro, George N. Kiladis, Scott Abbott, Elena Akish, John Albers, John M. Brown, Christopher J. Cox, Lisa Darby, Gijs de Boer, Barbara DeLuisi, Juliana Dias, Jason Dunion, Jon Eischeid, Christopher Fairall, Antonia Gambacorta, Brian K. Gorton, Andrew Hoell, Janet Intrieri, Darren Jackson, Paul E. Johnston, Richard Lataitis, Kelly M. Mahoney, Katherine McCaffrey, H. Alex McColl, Michael J. Mueller, Donald Murray, Paul J. Neiman, William Otto, Ola Persson, Xiao-Wei Quan, Imtiaz Rangwala, Andrea J. Ray, David Reynolds, Emily Riley Dellaripa, Karen Rosenlof, Naoko Sakaeda, Prashant D. Sardeshmukh, Laura C. Slivinski, Lesley Smith, Amy Solomon, Dustin Swales, Stefan Tulich, Allen White, Gary Wick, Matthew G. Winterkorn, Daniel E. Wolfe, and Robert Zamora

Abstract

Forecasts by mid-2015 for a strong El Niño during winter 2015/16 presented an exceptional scientific opportunity to accelerate advances in understanding and predictions of an extreme climate event and its impacts while the event was ongoing. Seizing this opportunity, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) initiated an El Niño Rapid Response (ENRR), conducting the first field campaign to obtain intensive atmospheric observations over the tropical Pacific during El Niño.

The overarching ENRR goal was to determine the atmospheric response to El Niño and the implications for predicting extratropical storms and U.S. West Coast rainfall. The field campaign observations extended from the central tropical Pacific to the West Coast, with a primary focus on the initial tropical atmospheric response that links El Niño to its global impacts. NOAA deployed its Gulfstream-IV (G-IV) aircraft to obtain observations around organized tropical convection and poleward convective outflow near the heart of El Niño. Additional tropical Pacific observations were obtained by radiosondes launched from Kiritimati , Kiribati, and the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown, and in the eastern North Pacific by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Global Hawk unmanned aerial system. These observations were all transmitted in real time for use in operational prediction models. An X-band radar installed in Santa Clara, California, helped characterize precipitation distributions. This suite supported an end-to-end capability extending from tropical Pacific processes to West Coast impacts. The ENRR observations were used during the event in operational predictions. They now provide an unprecedented dataset for further research to improve understanding and predictions of El Niño and its impacts.

Open access