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Steven R. Jayne

Abstract

A parameterization of vertical diffusivity in ocean general circulation models has been implemented in the ocean model component of the Community Climate System Model (CCSM). The parameterization represents the dynamics of the mixing in the abyssal ocean arising from the breaking of internal waves generated by the tides forcing stratified flow over rough topography. This parameterization is explored over a range of parameters and compared to the more traditional ad hoc specification of the vertical diffusivity.

Diapycnal mixing in the ocean is thought to be one of the primary controls on the meridional overturning circulation and the poleward heat transport by the ocean. When compared to the traditional approach with uniform mixing, the new mixing parameterization has a noticeable impact on the meridional overturning circulation; while the upper limb of the meridional overturning circulation appears to be only weakly impacted by the transition to the new parameterization, the deep meridional overturning circulation is significantly strengthened by the change. The poleward ocean heat transport does not appear to be strongly affected by the mixing in the abyssal ocean for reasonable parameter ranges. The transport of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current through the Drake Passage is related to the amount of mixing in the deep ocean. The new parameterization is found to be energetically consistent with the known constraints on the ocean energy budget.

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Stephanie Waterman and Steven R. Jayne

Abstract

The generation of time-mean recirculation gyres from the nonlinear rectification of an oscillatory, spatially localized vorticity forcing is examined analytically and numerically. Insights into the rectification mechanism are presented and the influence of the variations of forcing parameters, stratification, and mean background flow are explored. This exploration shows that the efficiency of the rectification depends on the properties of the energy radiation from the forcing, which in turn depends on the waves that participate in the rectification process. The particular waves are selected by the relation of the forcing parameters to the available free Rossby wave spectrum. An enhanced response is achieved if the parameters are such to select meridionally propagating waves, and a resonant response results if the forcing selects the Rossby wave with zero zonal group velocity and maximum meridional group velocity, which is optimal for producing rectified flows. Although formulated in a weakly nonlinear wave limit, simulations in a more realistic turbulent system suggest that this understanding of the mechanism remains useful in a strongly nonlinear regime with consideration of mean flow effects and wave–mean flow interaction now needing to be taken into account. The problem presented here is idealized but has general application in the understanding of eddy–eddy and eddy–mean flow interactions as the contrasting limit to that of spatially broad (basinwide) forcing and is relevant given that many sources of oceanic eddies are localized in space.

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Steven R. Jayne and Jochem Marotzke

Abstract

Some of the interactions and feedbacks between the atmosphere, thermohaline circulation, and sea ice are illustrated using a simple process model. A simplified version of the annual-mean coupled ocean–atmosphere box model of Nakamura, Stone, and Marotzke is modified to include a parameterization of sea ice. The model includes the thermodynamic effects of sea ice and allows for variable coverage. It is found that the addition of sea ice introduces feedbacks that have a destabilizing influence on the thermohaline circulation: Sea ice insulates the ocean from the atmosphere, creating colder air temperatures at high latitudes, which cause larger atmospheric eddy heat and moisture transports and weaker oceanic heat transports. These in turn lead to thicker ice coverage and hence establish a positive feedback. The results indicate that generally in colder climates, the presence of sea ice may lead to a significant destabilization of the thermohaline circulation. Brine rejection by sea ice plays no important role in this model’s dynamics. The net destabilizing effect of sea ice in this model is the result of two positive feedbacks and one negative feedback and is shown to be model dependent. To date, the destabilizing feedback between atmospheric and oceanic heat fluxes, mediated by sea ice, has largely been neglected in conceptual studies of thermohaline circulation stability, but it warrants further investigation in more realistic models.

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Steven R. Jayne and Robin Tokmakian

Abstract

Significant inertial oscillations are present in all primitive equation ocean general circulation models when they are forced with high-frequency (period order of days) wind stress fields. At specific latitudes the energy of the wind stress forcing near the frequency of the inertial oscillations excites large amplitudes in the surface kinetic energy. The frequently used strategy of subsampling model output at several day intervals then leads to aliasing of the energetic inertial currents into lower frequencies that vary with latitude, which severely corrupts even integral quantities like meridional heat transport. This note discusses the effect of forcing and sampling at short periods. Schemes are provided that will remove the aliased energy from the model fields stored for later analysis.

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Steven R. Jayne and Jochem Marotzke

Abstract

The rectified eddy heat transport is calculated from a global high-resolution ocean general circulation model. The eddy heat transport is found to be strong in the western boundary currents, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and the equatorial region. It is generally weak in the central gyres. It is also found to be largely confined to the upper 1000 m of the ocean model. The eddy heat transport is separated into its rotational and divergent components. The rotational component of the eddy heat transport is strong in the western boundary currents, while the divergent component is strongest in the equatorial region and Antarctic Circumpolar Current. In the equatorial region, the eddy heat transport is due to tropical instability waves, while in the western boundary currents and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current the large eddy heat transports arise from the meandering of the currents. Stammer's method for estimating the eddy heat transport from an eddy diffusivity derived from mixing length arguments, using altimetry data and the climatological temperature field, is tested and fails to reproduce the model's directly evaluated eddy heat transport in the equatorial regions, and possible reasons for the discrepancy are explored. However, in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current region and to a lesser extent in the western boundary currents, the model's eddy heat transport is shown to have some qualitative agreement with his estimate.

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Stephanie Waterman and Steven R. Jayne

Abstract

A theoretical study on the role of eddy-mean flow interactions in the time-mean dynamics of a zonally evolving, unstable, strongly inertial jet in a configuration and parameter regime that is relevant to oceanic western boundary current (WBC) jets is described. Progress is made by diagnosing the eddy effect on the time-mean circulation, examining the mechanism that permits the eddies to drive the time-mean recirculation gyres, and exploring the dependence of the eddy effect on system parameters.

It is found that the nature of the eddy-mean flow interactions in this idealized configuration is critically dependent on along-stream position, in particular relative to the along-stream evolving stability properties of the time-mean jet. Just after separation from the western boundary, eddies act to stabilize the jet through downgradient fluxes of potential vorticity (PV). Downstream of where the time-mean jet has (through the effect of the eddies) been stabilized, eddies act to drive the time-mean recirculations through the mechanism of an upgradient PV flux. This upgradient flux is permitted by an eddy enstrophy convergence downstream of jet stabilization, which results from the generation of eddies in the upstream region where the jet is unstable, the advection of that eddy activity along stream by the jet, and the dissipation of the eddies in the region downstream of jet stabilization. It is in this region of eddy decay that eddies drive the time-mean recirculations through the mechanism of nonlinear eddy rectification, resulting from the radiation of waves from a localized region. It is found that similar mechanisms operate in both barotropic and baroclinic configurations, although differences in the background PV gradient on which the eddies act implies that the recirculation-driving mechanism is more effective in the baroclinic case.

This study highlights the important roles that eddies play in the idealized WBC jet dynamics considered here of stabilizing the jet and driving the flanking recirculations. In the absence of eddy terms, the magnitude of the upper-ocean jet transport would be significantly less and the abyssal ocean recirculations (and their significant enhancement to the jet transport) would be missing altogether.

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Mary-Louise Timmermans and Steven R. Jayne

Abstract

The contemporary Arctic Ocean differs markedly from midlatitude, ice-free, and relatively warm oceans in the context of density-compensating temperature and salinity variations. These variations are invaluable tracers in the midlatitudes, revealing essential fundamental physical processes of the oceans, on scales from millimeters to thousands of kilometers. However, in the cold Arctic Ocean, temperature variations have little effect on density, and a measure of density-compensating variations in temperature and salinity (i.e., spiciness) is not appropriate. In general, temperature is simply a passive tracer, which implies that most of the heat transported in the Arctic Ocean relies entirely on the ocean dynamics determined by the salinity field. It is shown, however, that as the Arctic Ocean warms up, temperature will take on a new role in setting dynamical balances. Under continued warming, there exists the possibility for a regime shift in the mechanisms by which heat is transported in the Arctic Ocean. This may result in a cap on the storage of deep-ocean heat, having profound implications for future predictions of Arctic sea ice.

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Walter Munk, Matthew Dzieciuch, and Steven Jayne

Abstract

Orbital forcing has long been the subject of two quite separate communities: the tide community is concerned with the relatively rapid gravitational forces (periods up to 18.6 yr) and the climate community with the long-period Milankovitch insolation terms (exceeding 20 000 yr). The wide gap notwithstanding, the two subjects have much in common. Keeling and Whorf have proposed that the millennial climate variability is associated with high-frequency tidal forcing extending into the 10-octave gap by some nonlinear process. Here, the authors distinguish between two quite distinct processes for generating low frequencies: (i) the “traditional” analogy with eclipse cycles associated with near coincidence of the appropriate orbital alignment of the Sun, the Moon, and Earth, and (ii) sum and differences of tidal frequencies and their harmonics producing low beat frequencies. The first process is associated with long time intervals between extreme tides, but the events are of short duration and only marginally higher than conventional high tides. With proper nonlinearities, (ii) can lead to low-frequency tidal forcing. A few candidate frequencies in the centurial and millennial band are found, which prominently include the Keeling and Whorf forcing at 1795 yr. This is confirmed by a numerical experiment with a computer-generated tidal time series of 275 000 yr. Tidal forcing is very weak and an unlikely candidate for millennial variability; the Keeling and Whorf proposal is considered as the most likely among unlikely candidates.

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Steven R. Jayne and Nelson G. Hogg

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Previous numerical experiments with an unstable zonal jet on a β plane are extended to the reduced-gravity case. The strength of the resulting recirculation varies inversely with the combination β + 1/S where S is the Burger number and β the latitudinal variation of the Coriolis parameter. In addition, the centers of the antisymmetrically located gyres are located a distance from the jet inlet that varies inversely with the linear growth rate of small perturbations. An improved analytic model has also been constructed that predicts the recirculation strength and has the single unsupported assumption that the meridionally integrated potential vorticity anomaly be independent of zonal position.

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Luc Rainville, Steven R. Jayne, and Meghan F. Cronin

Abstract

Mooring measurements from the Kuroshio Extension System Study (June 2004–June 2006) and from the ongoing Kuroshio Extension Observatory (June 2004–present) are combined with float measurements of the Argo network to study the variability of the North Pacific Subtropical Mode Water (STMW) across the entire gyre, on time scales from days, to seasons, to a decade. The top of the STMW follows a seasonal cycle, although observations reveal that it primarily varies in discrete steps associated with episodic wind events. The variations of the STMW bottom depth are tightly related to the sea surface height (SSH), reflecting mesoscale eddies and large-scale variations of the Kuroshio Extension and recirculation gyre systems. Using the observed relationship between SSH and STMW, gridded SSH products and in situ estimates from floats are used to construct weekly maps of STMW thickness, providing nonbiased estimates of STMW total volume, annual formation and erosion volumes, and seasonal and interannual variability for the past decade. Year-to-year variations are detected, particularly a significant decrease of STMW volume in 2007–10 primarily attributable to a smaller volume formed. Variability of the heat content in the mode water region is dominated by the seasonal cycle and mesoscale eddies; there is only a weak link to STMW on interannual time scales, and no long-term trends in heat content and STMW thickness between 2002 and 2011 are detected. Weak lagged correlations among air–sea fluxes, oceanic heat content, and STMW thickness are found when averaged over the northwestern Pacific recirculation gyre region.

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