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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 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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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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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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Steven R. Jayne and Nelson G. Hogg

Abstract

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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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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Casey R. Densmore, Steven R. Jayne, and Elizabeth R. Sanabia

Abstract

Airborne expendable bathythermographs (AXBTs) are air-launched, single-use temperature–depth probes that telemeter temperature observations as VHF-modulated frequencies. This study describes the AXBT Real-Time Editing System (ARES), which is composed of two components: the ARES Data Acquisition System, which receives telemetered temperature–depth profiles with no external hardware other than a VHF radio receiver, and the ARES Profile Editing System, which quality controls AXBT temperature–depth profiles. The ARES Data Acquisition System performs fast Fourier transforms on windowed segments of the demodulated signal transmitted from the AXBT. For each segment, temperature is determined from peak frequency and depth from elapsed time since profile start. Valid signals are distinguished from noise by comparing peak signal levels and signal-to-noise ratios to predetermined thresholds. When evaluated using 387 profiles, the ARES Data Acquisition System produced temperature–depth profiles nearly identical to those generated using a Sippican MK-21 processor, while reducing the amount of noise from VHF interference included in those profiles. The ARES Profile Editor applies a series of automated checks to identify and correct common profile discrepancies before displaying the profile on an editing interface that provides simple user controls to make additional corrections. When evaluated against 1177 tropical Atlantic and Pacific AXBT profiles, the ARES automated quality control system successfully corrected 87% of the profiles without any required manual intervention. Necessary future work includes improvements to the automated quality control algorithm and algorithm evaluation against a broader dataset of temperature–depth profiles from around the world across all seasons.

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Isabela Astiz Le Bras, Steven R. Jayne, and John M. Toole

Abstract

Motivated by the proximity of the Northern Recirculation Gyre and the deep western boundary current in the North Atlantic, an idealized model is used to investigate how recirculation gyres and a deep flow along a topographic slope interact. In this two-layer quasigeostrophic model, an unstable jet imposed in the upper layer generates barotropic recirculation gyres. These are maintained by an eddy-mean balance of potential vorticity (PV) in steady state. The authors show that the topographic slope can constrain the northern recirculation gyre meridionally and that the gyre’s adjustment to the slope leads to increased eddy PV fluxes at the base of the slope. When a deep current is present along the topographic slope in the lower layer, these eddy PV fluxes stir the deep current and recirculation gyre waters. Increased proximity to the slope dampens the eddy growth rate within the unstable jet, altering the geometry of recirculation gyre forcing and leading to a decrease in overall eddy PV fluxes. These mechanisms may shape the circulation in the western North Atlantic, with potential feedbacks on the climate system.

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