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Peter D. Killworth and Neil R. Edwards

Abstract

A model for a turbulent bottom boundary “slab” layer is described. The model is designed to fit under a standard, depth coordinate ocean general circulation model, with a view to improving its response both for local and climate problems. The depth of the layer varies temporally and spatially. Both analytical and numerical versions of the model conserve energy. The model is tested using a source of dense water on a slope, and performs satisfactorily, with the plume spreading far more than the equivalent case without a bottom layer.

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Andrew J. Willmott, Neil R. Edwards, and Peter D. Killworth

Abstract

The response of the deep ocean to periodic and steady forcing by mass sources is considered, in the presence of fluid loss, diffusion, and topography, which may or may not have regions of closed planetary vorticity. There can be a preexisting deep layer, or the forcing may produce one. The long-time response to forcing, which varies annually, is shown to have only a small periodic component, essentially because the mass loss by diapycnic transfer is weak. This is in qualitative agreement with observations of overflows, which show little seasonal signal. Ridges do not form an effective block to the flow, which can bypass the ridges, approximately following lines of constant planetary vorticity. A brief discussion of how fluid leaks out of closed planetary vorticity regions by diffusion is included.

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Neil R. Edwards, Andrew J. Willmott, and Peter D. Killworth

Abstract

A frictional geostrophic model is used to examine how the stability of the thermohaline circulation is affected by idealized topographic variations and the presence or absence of wind stress. If the flow exhibits collapses, the authors consider how topography and wind stress affect the ensuing oscillations. Large-scale slope up toward the north or the west can significantly destabilize the circulation by modifying the barotropic flow and reducing the depth of convection. Wind stress stabilizes the circulation by deepening the thermocline in the subtropical gyre. Wind driving can also radically reduce the period of oscillations by destabilizing the northern halocline in the collapsed phase. The overall period of the oscillation is usually governed by the time taken for diffusive warming to destabilize the deep ocean.

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Agatha M. de Boer, Anand Gnanadesikan, Neil R. Edwards, and Andrew J. Watson

Abstract

A wide body of modeling and theoretical scaling studies support the concept that changes to the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), whether forced by winds or buoyancy fluxes, can be understood in terms of a simple causative relation between the AMOC and an appropriately defined meridional density gradient (MDG). The MDG is supposed to translate directly into a meridional pressure gradient. Here two sets of experiments are performed using a modular ocean model coupled to an energy–moisture balance model in which the positive AMOC–MDG relation breaks down. In the first suite of seven model integrations it is found that increasing winds in the Southern Ocean cause an increase in overturning while the surface density difference between the equator and North Atlantic drops. In the second suite of eight model integrations the equation of state is manipulated so that the density is calculated at the model temperature plus an artificial increment ΔT that ranges from −3° to 9°C. (An increase in ΔT results in increased sensitivity of density to temperature gradients.) The AMOC in these model integrations drops as the MDG increases regardless of whether the density difference is computed at the surface or averaged over the upper ocean. Traditional scaling analysis can only produce this weaker AMOC if the scale depth decreases enough to compensate for the stronger MDG. Five estimates of the depth scale are evaluated and it is found that the changes in the AMOC can be derived from scaling analysis when using the depth of the maximum overturning circulation or estimates thereof but not from the pycnocline depth. These two depth scales are commonly assumed to be the same in theoretical models of the AMOC. It is suggested that the correlation between the MDG and AMOC breaks down in these model integrations because the depth and strength of the AMOC is influenced strongly by remote forcing such as Southern Ocean winds and Antarctic Bottom Water formation.

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J. Fishman, L. T. Iraci, J. Al-Saadi, K. Chance, F. Chavez, M. Chin, P. Coble, C. Davis, P. M. DiGiacomo, D. Edwards, A. Eldering, J. Goes, J. Herman, C. Hu, D. J. Jacob, C. Jordan, S. R. Kawa, R. Key, X. Liu, S. Lohrenz, A. Mannino, V. Natraj, D. Neil, J. Neu, M. Newchurch, K. Pickering, J. Salisbury, H. Sosik, A. Subramaniam, M. Tzortziou, J. Wang, and M. Wang

The Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events (GEO-CAPE) mission was recommended by the National Research Council's (NRC's) Earth Science Decadal Survey to measure tropospheric trace gases and aerosols and coastal ocean phytoplankton, water quality, and biogeochemistry from geostationary orbit, providing continuous observations within the field of view. To fulfill the mandate and address the challenge put forth by the NRC, two GEO-CAPE Science Working Groups (SWGs), representing the atmospheric composition and ocean color disciplines, have developed realistic science objectives using input drawn from several community workshops. The GEO-CAPE mission will take advantage of this revolutionary advance in temporal frequency for both of these disciplines. Multiple observations per day are required to explore the physical, chemical, and dynamical processes that determine tropospheric composition and air quality over spatial scales ranging from urban to continental, and over temporal scales ranging from diurnal to seasonal. Likewise, high-frequency satellite observations are critical to studying and quantifying biological, chemical, and physical processes within the coastal ocean. These observations are to be achieved from a vantage point near 95°–100°W, providing a complete view of North America as well as the adjacent oceans. The SWGs have also endorsed the concept of phased implementation using commercial satellites to reduce mission risk and cost. GEO-CAPE will join the global constellation of geostationary atmospheric chemistry and coastal ocean color sensors planned to be in orbit in the 2020 time frame.

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Kirsten Zickfeld, Michael Eby, Andrew J. Weaver, Kaitlin Alexander, Elisabeth Crespin, Neil R. Edwards, Alexey V. Eliseev, Georg Feulner, Thierry Fichefet, Chris E. Forest, Pierre Friedlingstein, Hugues Goosse, Philip B. Holden, Fortunat Joos, Michio Kawamiya, David Kicklighter, Hendrik Kienert, Katsumi Matsumoto, Igor I. Mokhov, Erwan Monier, Steffen M. Olsen, Jens O. P. Pedersen, Mahe Perrette, Gwenaëlle Philippon-Berthier, Andy Ridgwell, Adam Schlosser, Thomas Schneider Von Deimling, Gary Shaffer, Andrei Sokolov, Renato Spahni, Marco Steinacher, Kaoru Tachiiri, Kathy S. Tokos, Masakazu Yoshimori, Ning Zeng, and Fang Zhao

Abstract

This paper summarizes the results of an intercomparison project with Earth System Models of Intermediate Complexity (EMICs) undertaken in support of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). The focus is on long-term climate projections designed to 1) quantify the climate change commitment of different radiative forcing trajectories and 2) explore the extent to which climate change is reversible on human time scales. All commitment simulations follow the four representative concentration pathways (RCPs) and their extensions to year 2300. Most EMICs simulate substantial surface air temperature and thermosteric sea level rise commitment following stabilization of the atmospheric composition at year-2300 levels. The meridional overturning circulation (MOC) is weakened temporarily and recovers to near-preindustrial values in most models for RCPs 2.6–6.0. The MOC weakening is more persistent for RCP8.5. Elimination of anthropogenic CO2 emissions after 2300 results in slowly decreasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. At year 3000 atmospheric CO2 is still at more than half its year-2300 level in all EMICs for RCPs 4.5–8.5. Surface air temperature remains constant or decreases slightly and thermosteric sea level rise continues for centuries after elimination of CO2 emissions in all EMICs. Restoration of atmospheric CO2 from RCP to preindustrial levels over 100–1000 years requires large artificial removal of CO2 from the atmosphere and does not result in the simultaneous return to preindustrial climate conditions, as surface air temperature and sea level response exhibit a substantial time lag relative to atmospheric CO2.

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