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Ryan T. Walker, David M. Holland, Byron R. Parizek, Richard B. Alley, Sophie M. J. Nowicki, and Adrian Jenkins

Abstract

Thermodynamic flowline and plume models for the ice shelf–ocean system simplify the ice and ocean dynamics sufficiently to allow extensive exploration of parameters affecting ice-sheet stability while including key physical processes. Comparison between geophysically and laboratory-based treatments of ice–ocean interface thermodynamics shows reasonable agreement between calculated melt rates, except where steep basal slopes and relatively high ocean temperatures are present. Results are especially sensitive to the poorly known drag coefficient, highlighting the need for additional field experiments to constrain its value. These experiments also suggest that if the ice–ocean interface near the grounding line is steeper than some threshold, further steepening of the slope may drive higher entrainment that limits buoyancy, slowing the plume and reducing melting; if confirmed, this will provide a stabilizing feedback on ice sheets under some circumstances.

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Christopher Sabine, Adrienne Sutton, Kelly McCabe, Noah Lawrence-Slavas, Simone Alin, Richard Feely, Richard Jenkins, Stacy Maenner, Christian Meinig, Jesse Thomas, Erik van Ooijen, Abe Passmore, and Bronte Tilbrook

Abstract

Current carbon measurement strategies leave spatiotemporal gaps that hinder the scientific understanding of the oceanic carbon biogeochemical cycle. Data products and models are subject to bias because they rely on data that inadequately capture mesoscale spatiotemporal (kilometers and days to weeks) changes. High-resolution measurement strategies need to be implemented to adequately evaluate the global ocean carbon cycle. To augment the spatial and temporal coverage of ocean–atmosphere carbon measurements, an Autonomous Surface Vehicle CO2 (ASVCO2) system was developed. From 2011 to 2018, ASVCO2 systems were deployed on seven Wave Glider and Saildrone missions along the U.S. Pacific and Australia’s Tasmanian coastlines and in the tropical Pacific Ocean to evaluate the viability of the sensors and their applicability to carbon cycle research. Here we illustrate that the ASVCO2 systems are capable of long-term oceanic deployment and robust collection of air and seawater pCO2 within ±2 μatm based on comparisons with established shipboard underway systems, with previously described Moored Autonomous pCO2 (MAPCO2) systems, and with companion ASVCO2 systems deployed side by side.

Open access
David A MacLeod, Rutger Dankers, Richard Graham, Kiswendsida Guigma, Luke Jenkins, Martin C. Todd, Augustine Kiptum, Mary Kilavi, Andrew Njogu, and Emmah Mwangi

Abstract

Equatorial East Africa (EEA) suffers from significant flood risks. These can be mitigated with preemptive action; however, currently available early warnings are limited to a few days’ lead time. Extending warnings using subseasonal climate forecasts could open a window for more extensive preparedness activity. However, before these forecasts can be used, the basis of their skill and relevance for flood risk must be established. Here we demonstrate that subseasonal forecasts are particularly skillful over EEA. Forecasts can skillfully anticipate weekly upper-quintile rainfall within a season, at lead times of 2 weeks and beyond. We demonstrate the link between the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and extreme rainfall events in the region, and confirm that leading forecast models accurately represent the EEA teleconnection to the MJO. The relevance of weekly rainfall totals for fluvial flood risk in the region is investigated using a long record of streamflow from the Nzoia River in western Kenya. Both heavy rainfall and high antecedent rainfall conditions are identified as key drivers of flood risk, with upper-quintile weekly rainfall shown to skillfully discriminate flood events. We additionally evaluate GloFAS global flood forecasts for the Nzoia basin. Though these are able to anticipate some flooding events with several weeks lead time, analysis suggests action based on these would result in a false alarm more than 50% of the time. Overall, these results build on the scientific evidence base that supports the use of subseasonal forecasts in EEA, and activities to advance their use are discussed.

Open access
Edward J. Zipser, Cynthia H. Twohy, Si-Chee Tsay, K. Lee Thornhill, Simone Tanelli, Robert Ross, T. N. Krishnamurti, Q. Ji, Gregory Jenkins, Syed Ismail, N. Christina Hsu, Robbie Hood, Gerald M. Heymsfield, Andrew Heymsfield, Jeffrey Halverson, H. Michael Goodman, Richard Ferrare, Jason P. Dunion, Michael Douglas, Robert Cifelli, Gao Chen, Edward V. Browell, and Bruce Anderson

In 2006, NASA led a field campaign to investigate the factors that control the fate of African easterly waves (AEWs) moving westward into the tropical Atlantic Ocean. Aircraft and surface-based equipment were based on Cape Verde's islands, helping to fill some of the data void between Africa and the Caribbean. Taking advantage of the international African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) program over the continent, the NASA-AMMA (NAMMA) program used enhanced upstream data, whereas NOAA aircraft farther west in the Atlantic studied several of the storms downstream. Seven AEWs were studied during AMMA, with at least two becoming tropical cyclones. Some of the waves that did not develop while being sampled near Cape Verde likely intensified in the central Atlantic instead. NAMMA observations were able to distinguish between the large-scale wave structure and the smaller-scale vorticity maxima that often form within the waves. A special complication of the east Atlantic environment is the Saharan air layer (SAL), which frequently accompanies the AEWs and may introduce dry air and heavy aerosol loading into the convective storm systems in the AEWs. One of the main achievements of NAMMA was the acquisition of a database of remote sensing and in situ observations of the properties of the SAL, enabling dynamic models and satellite retrieval algorithms to be evaluated against high-quality real data. Ongoing research with this database will help determine how the SAL influences cloud microphysics and perhaps also tropical cyclogenesis, as well as the more general question of recognizing the properties of small-scale vorticity maxima within tropical waves that are more likely to become tropical cyclones.

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C. L. Gentemann, Joel P. Scott, Piero L. F. Mazzini, Cassia Pianca, Santha Akella, Peter J. Minnett, Peter Cornillon, Baylor Fox-Kemper, Ivona Cetinić, T. Mike Chin, Jose Gomez-Valdes, Jorge Vazquez-Cuervo, Vardis Tsontos, Lisan Yu, Richard Jenkins, Sebastien De Halleux, Dave Peacock, and Nora Cohen

Abstract

From 11 April to 11 June 2018 a new type of ocean observing platform, the Saildrone surface vehicle, collected data on a round-trip, 60-day cruise from San Francisco Bay, down the U.S. and Mexican coast to Guadalupe Island. The cruise track was selected to optimize the science team’s validation and science objectives. The validation objectives include establishing the accuracy of these new measurements. The scientific objectives include validation of satellite-derived fluxes, sea surface temperatures, and wind vectors and studies of upwelling dynamics, river plumes, air–sea interactions including frontal regions, and diurnal warming regions. On this deployment, the Saildrone carried 16 atmospheric and oceanographic sensors. Future planned cruises (with open data policies) are focused on improving our understanding of air–sea fluxes in the Arctic Ocean and around North Brazil Current rings.

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