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Bruno Blanke and Stéphane Raynaud

Abstract

Three-dimensional monthly velocity fields from an ocean general circulation model are used to study the annual mean mass balance of the Pacific Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC). Eulerian diagnostics are used to evaluate the various meridional, vertical, and zonal mass fluxes related to the EUC. There are several distinct regimes along the equator, showing clear asymmetries between the western and eastern parts of the basin, and between the northern and southern edges of the EUC. Meridional fluxes are decomposed into pure Ekman divergence and geostrophic convergence, and it is shown that the asymmetries are mainly related to the spatial structure of the Ekman divergence, and thus to that of the trade winds. Lagrangian calculations are used to evaluate accurately the mass transfers between various sections of the EUC and between the EUC domain and the Tropics. The authors show that geostrophic convergence only ventilates the upper layers of the EUC and that the EUC really is a tongue of water flowing from the western Pacific to the Galapagos Islands and beyond. Finally, Lagrangian integrations extended to extratropical regions show that the EUC contributes to an exchange of water between the southern and northern Pacific (and the Indian Ocean through the Indonesian Throughflow): The equatorial zonal pressure gradient draws water from the western boundary currents that originate mostly in the south subtropical gyre. The poleward Ekman divergence associated with the equatorial upwelling distributes EUC water over the surface, with significant recirculation within the EUC (more than 15% of the total transport at 150°W).

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Rong-Hua Zhang, Richard Kleeman, Stephen E. Zebiak, Noel Keenlyside, and Stephane Raynaud

Abstract

An empirical model for the temperature of subsurface water entrained into the ocean mixed layer (Te) is presented and evaluated to improve sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) simulations in an intermediate ocean model (IOM) of the tropical Pacific. An inverse modeling approach is adopted to estimate Te from an SSTA equation using observed SST and simulated upper-ocean currents. A relationship between Te and sea surface height (SSH) anomalies is then obtained by utilizing a singular value decomposition (SVD) of their covariance. This empirical scheme is able to better parameterize Te anomalies than other local schemes and quite realistically depicts interannual variability of Te, including a nonlocal phase lag relation of Te variations relative to SSH anomalies over the central equatorial Pacific. An improved Te parameterization naturally leads to better depiction of the subsurface effect on SST variability by the mean upwelling of subsurface temperature anomalies. As a result, SSTA simulations are significantly improved in the equatorial Pacific; a comparison with other schemes indicates that systematic errors of the simulated SSTAs are significantly small—apparently due to the optimized empirical Teparameterization. Cross validation and comparisons with other model simulations are made to illustrate the robustness and effectiveness of the scheme. In particular it is demonstrated that the empirical Te model constructed from one historical period can be successfully used to improve SSTA simulations in another.

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