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Rui-Jin Hu and J. Stuart Godfrey

Abstract

Present-day OGCMs give low values of annual mean net heat flux (AMNHF) in the tropical Indian Ocean, compared to climatologies. AMNHF generation is examined in an open-boundary model of this region with realistic coastlines. In the first two of three experiments only annual mean wind stresses were applied so that a modified form of the “minimum depth criterion” of the previous paper would be applicable. Area-integrated AMNHF was well below observed values, despite the fact that western boundary inflow was substantially deeper and colder than was expected from the modified minimum depth estimate. The model showed large “spikes” in the gradient of “depth-integrated steric height” (DISH) along the western boundary, coinciding with coastline steps (which were absent in the previous paper). Most diapycnal entrainment occurred next to the coast, near these steps. In a third experiment a seasonal cycle of wind stress was added to the same annual mean. Annual mean diapycnal mixing and entrainment increased and the western boundary inflow deepened, resulting in substantially greater AMNHF for the same annual mean Ekman transports. However, area-integrated AMNHF was still well below the mean of directly observed surface fluxes. The recirculation around the “Great Whirl” doubled, permitting more cold water crossing the equator in one year to mix with recirculated water generated in a previous year. Entrainment up to the surface thus went by stages, over more than one year. The increased Great Whirl was related to stronger annual mean curls of nonlinear terms in the momentum equation, while the deeper entrainment was caused by stronger annual mean diapycnal mixing. In all experiments, diapycnal mixing was primarily due to the “flux corrected transport” (FCT) advective scheme, which in effect replaces spurious convective overturn by numerical diffusion. More research is needed to solve such problems, but sensitivity of AMNHF in OGCMs to time-varying forcing—due to seasonal, intraseasonal, or baroclinic instability—may offer a new source of climate predictability.

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J. Stuart Godfrey, Rui-Jin Hu, Andreas Schiller, and R. Fiedler

Abstract

Annual mean net heat fluxes from ocean general circulation models (OGCMs) are systematically too low in the tropical Indian Ocean, compared to observations. In the models, only some of the geostrophic inflow replacing southward Ekman outflow is colder than the minimum sea surface temperature (MINSST). Observed heat fluxes imply that much more inflow is colder than MINSST. Since inflow below MINSST can only join the surface Ekman transport after diathermal warming, the OGCMs must underestimate diathermal effects.

A crude analog of the annual mean Indian Ocean heat budget was generated, using a rectangular box model with a deep “Indo–Pacific” gap at 7°–10°S in its eastern side. Wind stress was zonal and proportional to the Coriolis parameter, so Ekman transport was spatially constant and equaled Sverdrup transport. For three experiments, zonally integrated Ekman transport was steady and southward at 10 Sv (Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1). In steady state, a 10 Sv “Indonesian Throughflow” fed a northward western boundary current of 10 Sv, which turned eastward along the northern boundary at 10°N to feed the southward Ekman transport. Most diathermal mixing occurred within an intense eddy in the northwest corner. Some of the geostrophic inflow was at temperatures colder than MINSST (found at the northeast corner of the eddy); it must warm to MINSST via diathermal mixing. Northern boundary upwelling exceeded the 10-Sv Ekman transport. The excess warms as it recirculates around the eddy, apparently supplying the heat to warm inflow below MINSST. In an experiment using the “flux-corrected transport” (FCT) scheme, diathermal mixing occurred in the strongly sheared currents around the eddy. However the Richardson number never became low enough to drive strong diathermal mixing, perhaps because (like that of other published models) the present model’s vertical resolution was too coarse. In three experiments, the dominant mixing was caused by horizontal diffusion, spurious convective overturn, and numerical mixing invoked by the FCT scheme, respectively. All three mixing mechanisms are physically suspect; such model problems (if widespread) must be resolved before the mismatch between observed and modeled heat fluxes can be addressed. However, the fact that the density profile at the western boundary must be hydrostatically stable places a lower limit on the area-integrated heat fluxes. Results from the three main experiments—and from many published OGCMs—are quite close to this lower limit.

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Xin Li, Guodong Cheng, Shaomin Liu, Qing Xiao, Mingguo Ma, Rui Jin, Tao Che, Qinhuo Liu, Weizhen Wang, Yuan Qi, Jianguang Wen, Hongyi Li, Gaofeng Zhu, Jianwen Guo, Youhua Ran, Shuoguo Wang, Zhongli Zhu, Jian Zhou, Xiaoli Hu, and Ziwei Xu

A major research plan entitled “Integrated research on the ecohydrological process of the Heihe River Basin” was launched by the National Natural Science Foundation of China in 2010. One of the key aims of this research plan is to establish a research platform that integrates observation, data management, and model simulation to foster twenty-first-century watershed science in China. Based on the diverse needs of interdisciplinary studies within this research plan, a program called the Heihe Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research (HiWATER) was implemented. The overall objective of HiWATER is to improve the observability of hydrological and ecological processes, to build a world-class watershed observing system, and to enhance the applicability of remote sensing in integrated ecohydrological studies and water resource management at the basin scale. This paper introduces the background, scientific objectives, and experimental design of HiWATER. The instrumental setting and airborne mission plans are also outlined. The highlights are the use of a flux observing matrix and an eco-hydrological wireless sensor network to capture multiscale heterogeneities and to address complex problems, such as heterogeneity, scaling, uncertainty, and closing water cycle at the watershed scale. HiWATER was formally initialized in May 2012 and will last four years until 2015. Data will be made available to the scientific community via the Environmental and Ecological Science Data Center for West China. International scientists are welcome to participate in the field campaign and use the data in their analyses.

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