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Peiran Yang, Zhao Jing, Bingrong Sun, Lixin Wu, Bo Qiu, Ping Chang, Sanjiv Ramachandran, and Chunxin Yuan

Abstract

Encountering of energetic ocean eddies and atmosphere storms makes the winter Kuroshio extension a hotspot for air–sea interactions. This second part investigates the regulation of vertical eddy heat transport Q T in the winter Kuroshio extension mixed layer by different types of air–sea interactions, including the atmosphere synoptic forcing, eddy thermal feedback resulting from eddy-induced surface heat flux anomalies, and eddy current feedback from eddy current’s imprint on wind stress. Atmosphere synoptic forcing modulates intraseasonal variation of Q T by boosting its component contributed by the turbulent thermal wind balance QTTTW during strong cooling events associated with intense winds. In addition, the magnitude of Q T is influenced by the direction of synoptic wind stress primarily via QTTTW, with the latter exhibiting enhancement both in the downfront- and upfront-wind forcing. Enhanced QTTTW by the downfront-wind forcing is attributed to increased turbulent vertical viscosity and front intensity caused by the destabilizing wind-driven Ekman buoyancy flux, whereas interaction of uniform wind stress with smaller turbulent vertical viscosity at the front center than periphery (a so-called internal Ekman pumping) accounts for the increased QTTTW in the upfront-wind forcing. The eddy thermal feedback reduces Q T significantly through weakening the fronts. In contrast, the eddy current feedback exerts negligible influences on Q T, although it weakens eddy kinetic energy (EKE) evidently. This is due to the much reduced effect of eddy current feedback in damping the fronts compared to EKE and also due to the compensation from Ekman pumping induced by the eddy current feedback.

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Peiran Yang, Zhao Jing, Bingrong Sun, Lixin Wu, Bo Qiu, Ping Chang, and Sanjiv Ramachandran

Abstract

Oceanic eddies play a crucial role in transporting heat from the subsurface to surface ocean. However, dynamics responsible for the vertical eddy heat transport Q T have not been systematically understood, especially in the mixed layer of western boundary current extensions characterized by the coincidence of strong eddy activities and air–sea interactions. In this paper, the winter (December–March) Q T in the Kuroshio Extension is simulated using a 1-km regional ocean model. An omega equation based on the geostrophic momentum approximation and generalized to include the viscous and diabatic effects is derived and used to decompose the contribution of Q T from different dynamics. The simulated Q T exhibits a pronounced positive peak around the center of the mixed layer (~60 m). The value of Q T there exhibits multi-time-scale variations with irregularly occurring extreme events superimposed on a slowly varying seasonal cycle. The proposed omega equation shows good skills in reproducing Q T, capturing its spatial and temporal variations. Geostrophic deformation and vertical mixing of momentum are found to be the two major processes generating Q T in the mixed layer with the former and the latter accounting for its seasonal variation and extreme events, respectively. The mixed layer instability and the net effect of frontogenesis/frontolysis contribute comparably to the geostrophic deformation induced Q T. The contribution of Q T from vertical mixing of momentum can be understood on the basis of turbulent thermal wind balance.

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Sanjiv Ramachandran, Amit Tandon, Jennifer Mackinnon, Andrew J. Lucas, Robert Pinkel, Amy F. Waterhouse, Jonathan Nash, Emily Shroyer, Amala Mahadevan, Robert A. Weller, and J. Thomas Farrar

Abstract

Lateral submesoscale processes and their influence on vertical stratification at shallow salinity fronts in the central Bay of Bengal during the winter monsoon are explored using high-resolution data from a cruise in November 2013. The observations are from a radiator survey centered at a salinity-controlled density front, embedded in a zone of moderate mesoscale strain (0.15 times the Coriolis parameter) and forced by winds with a downfront orientation. Below a thin mixed layer, often ≤10 m, the analysis shows several dynamical signatures indicative of submesoscale processes: (i) negative Ertel potential vorticity (PV); (ii) low-PV anomalies with O(1–10) km lateral extent, where the vorticity estimated on isopycnals and the isopycnal thickness are tightly coupled, varying in lockstep to yield low PV; (iii) flow conditions susceptible to forced symmetric instability (FSI) or bearing the imprint of earlier FSI events; (iv) negative lateral gradients in the absolute momentum field (inertial instability); and (v) strong contribution from differential sheared advection at O(1) km scales to the growth rate of the depth-averaged stratification. The findings here show one-dimensional vertical processes alone cannot explain the vertical stratification and its lateral variability over O(1–10) km scales at the radiator survey.

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Dan Fu, Justin Small, Jaison Kurian, Yun Liu, Brian Kauffman, Abishek Gopal, Sanjiv Ramachandran, Zhi Shang, Ping Chang, Gokhan Danabasoglu, Katherine Thayer-Calder, Mariana Vertenstein, Xiaohui Ma, Hengkai Yao, Mingkui Li, Zhao Xu, Xiaopei Lin, Shaoqing Zhang, and Lixin Wu

Abstract

The development of high-resolution, fully coupled, regional Earth system model systems is important for improving our understanding of climate variability, future projections, and extreme events at regional scales. Here we introduce and present an overview of the newly developed Regional Community Earth System Model (R-CESM). Different from other existing regional climate models, R-CESM is based on the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2) framework. We have incorporated the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model and Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) into CESM2 as additional components. As such, R-CESM can be conveniently used as a regional dynamical downscaling tool for the global CESM solutions or/and as a standalone high-resolution regional coupled model. The user interface of R-CESM follows that of CESM, making it readily accessible to the broader community. Among countless potential applications of R-CESM, we showcase here a few preliminary studies that illustrate its novel aspects and value. These include 1) assessing the skill of R-CESM in a multiyear, high-resolution, regional coupled simulation of the Gulf of Mexico; 2) examining the impact of WRF and CESM ocean–atmosphere coupling physics on tropical cyclone simulations; and 3) a convection-permitting simulation of submesoscale ocean–atmosphere interactions. We also discuss capabilities under development such as (i) regional refinement using a high-resolution ROMS nested within global CESM and (ii) “online” coupled data assimilation. Our open-source framework (publicly available at https://github.com/ihesp/rcesm1) can be easily adapted to a broad range of applications that are of interest to the users of CESM, WRF, and ROMS.

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Andrey Y. Shcherbina, Miles A. Sundermeyer, Eric Kunze, Eric D’Asaro, Gualtiero Badin, Daniel Birch, Anne-Marie E. G. Brunner-Suzuki, Jörn Callies, Brandy T. Kuebel Cervantes, Mariona Claret, Brian Concannon, Jeffrey Early, Raffaele Ferrari, Louis Goodman, Ramsey R. Harcourt, Jody M. Klymak, Craig M. Lee, M.-Pascale Lelong, Murray D. Levine, Ren-Chieh Lien, Amala Mahadevan, James C. McWilliams, M. Jeroen Molemaker, Sonaljit Mukherjee, Jonathan D. Nash, Tamay Özgökmen, Stephen D. Pierce, Sanjiv Ramachandran, Roger M. Samelson, Thomas B. Sanford, R. Kipp Shearman, Eric D. Skyllingstad, K. Shafer Smith, Amit Tandon, John R. Taylor, Eugene A. Terray, Leif N. Thomas, and James R. Ledwell

Abstract

Lateral stirring is a basic oceanographic phenomenon affecting the distribution of physical, chemical, and biological fields. Eddy stirring at scales on the order of 100 km (the mesoscale) is fairly well understood and explicitly represented in modern eddy-resolving numerical models of global ocean circulation. The same cannot be said for smaller-scale stirring processes. Here, the authors describe a major oceanographic field experiment aimed at observing and understanding the processes responsible for stirring at scales of 0.1–10 km. Stirring processes of varying intensity were studied in the Sargasso Sea eddy field approximately 250 km southeast of Cape Hatteras. Lateral variability of water-mass properties, the distribution of microscale turbulence, and the evolution of several patches of inert dye were studied with an array of shipboard, autonomous, and airborne instruments. Observations were made at two sites, characterized by weak and moderate background mesoscale straining, to contrast different regimes of lateral stirring. Analyses to date suggest that, in both cases, the lateral dispersion of natural and deliberately released tracers was O(1) m2 s–1 as found elsewhere, which is faster than might be expected from traditional shear dispersion by persistent mesoscale flow and linear internal waves. These findings point to the possible importance of kilometer-scale stirring by submesoscale eddies and nonlinear internal-wave processes or the need to modify the traditional shear-dispersion paradigm to include higher-order effects. A unique aspect of the Scalable Lateral Mixing and Coherent Turbulence (LatMix) field experiment is the combination of direct measurements of dye dispersion with the concurrent multiscale hydrographic and turbulence observations, enabling evaluation of the underlying mechanisms responsible for the observed dispersion at a new level.

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Hemantha W. Wijesekera, Emily Shroyer, Amit Tandon, M. Ravichandran, Debasis Sengupta, S. U. P. Jinadasa, Harindra J. S. Fernando, Neeraj Agrawal, K. Arulananthan, G. S. Bhat, Mark Baumgartner, Jared Buckley, Luca Centurioni, Patrick Conry, J. Thomas Farrar, Arnold L. Gordon, Verena Hormann, Ewa Jarosz, Tommy G. Jensen, Shaun Johnston, Matthias Lankhorst, Craig M. Lee, Laura S. Leo, Iossif Lozovatsky, Andrew J. Lucas, Jennifer Mackinnon, Amala Mahadevan, Jonathan Nash, Melissa M. Omand, Hieu Pham, Robert Pinkel, Luc Rainville, Sanjiv Ramachandran, Daniel L. Rudnick, Sutanu Sarkar, Uwe Send, Rashmi Sharma, Harper Simmons, Kathleen M. Stafford, Louis St. Laurent, Karan Venayagamoorthy, Ramasamy Venkatesan, William J. Teague, David W. Wang, Amy F. Waterhouse, Robert Weller, and Caitlin B. Whalen

Abstract

Air–Sea Interactions in the Northern Indian Ocean (ASIRI) is an international research effort (2013–17) aimed at understanding and quantifying coupled atmosphere–ocean dynamics of the Bay of Bengal (BoB) with relevance to Indian Ocean monsoons. Working collaboratively, more than 20 research institutions are acquiring field observations coupled with operational and high-resolution models to address scientific issues that have stymied the monsoon predictability. ASIRI combines new and mature observational technologies to resolve submesoscale to regional-scale currents and hydrophysical fields. These data reveal BoB’s sharp frontal features, submesoscale variability, low-salinity lenses and filaments, and shallow mixed layers, with relatively weak turbulent mixing. Observed physical features include energetic high-frequency internal waves in the southern BoB, energetic mesoscale and submesoscale features including an intrathermocline eddy in the central BoB, and a high-resolution view of the exchange along the periphery of Sri Lanka, which includes the 100-km-wide East India Coastal Current (EICC) carrying low-salinity water out of the BoB and an adjacent, broad northward flow (∼300 km wide) that carries high-salinity water into BoB during the northeast monsoon. Atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) observations during the decaying phase of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) permit the study of multiscale atmospheric processes associated with non-MJO phenomena and their impacts on the marine boundary layer. Underway analyses that integrate observations and numerical simulations shed light on how air–sea interactions control the ABL and upper-ocean processes.

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