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Yeon S. Chang, Tamay M. Özgökmen, Hartmut Peters, and Xiaobiao Xu


The outflow of warm, salty, and dense water from the Red Sea into the western Gulf of Aden is numerically simulated using the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM). The pathways of the modeled overflow, temperature, salinity, velocity profiles from stations and across sections, and transport estimates are compared to those observed during the 2001 Red Sea Outflow Experiment. As in nature, the simulated outflow is funneled into two narrow channels along the seafloor. The results from the three-dimensional simulations show a favorable agreement with the observed temperature and salinity profiles along the channels. The volume transport of the modeled overflow increases with the increasing distance from the southern exit of the Bab el Mandeb Strait due to entrainment of ambient fluid, such that the modeled transport shows a reasonable agreement with that estimated from the observations. The initial propagation speed of the outflow is found to be smaller than the estimated interfacial wave speed. The slow propagation is shown to result from the roughness of the bottom topography characterized by a number of depressions that take time to be filled with outflow water. Sensitivities of the results to the horizontal grid spacing, different entrainment parameterizations, and forcing at the source location are investigated. Because of the narrow widths of the approximately 5 km of the outflow channels, a horizontal grid spacing of 1 km or less is required for model simulations to achieve a reasonable agreement with the observations. Comparison of two entrainment parameterizations, namely, TPX and K-profile parameterization (KPP), show that similar results are obtained at 1-km resolution. Overall, the simulation of the Red Sea outflow appears to be more strongly affected by the details of bottom topography and grid spacing needed to adequately resolve them than by parameterizations of diapycnal mixing.

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Jee-Hoon Jeong, Baek-Min Kim, Chang-Hoi Ho, and Yeon-Hee Noh


The variations in the wintertime precipitation over East Asia and the related large-scale circulation associated with the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) are examined. By analyzing the observed daily precipitation for the period 1974–2000, it is found that the MJO significantly modulates the distribution of precipitation over four East Asian countries; the precipitation rate difference between wet and dry periods over East Asia, when the centers of MJO convective activities are located over the Indian Ocean and western Pacific, respectively, reaches 3–4 mm day−1, which corresponds to the climatological winter-mean value.

Composite analysis with respect to the MJO suggests that the MJO–precipitation relation is mostly explained by the strong vertical motion anomalies near an entrance region of the East Asia upper-tropospheric jet and moisture supply in the lower troposphere. To elucidate different dynamic origins of the vertical motion generated by the MJO, diagnostic analysis of a generalized omega equation is adopted. It is revealed that about half of the vertical motion anomalies in East Asia are induced by the quasigeostrophic forcings by the MJO, while diabatic heating forcings explain a very small fraction, less than 10% of total anomalies.

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Sonya Legg, Bruce Briegleb, Yeon Chang, Eric P. Chassignet, Gokhan Danabasoglu, Tal Ezer, Arnold L. Gordon, Stephen Griffies, Robert Hallberg, Laura Jackson, William Large, Tamay M. Özgökmen, Hartmut Peters, Jim Price, Ulrike Riemenschneider, Wanli Wu, Xiaobiao Xu, and Jiayan Yang

Oceanic overflows are bottom-trapped density currents originating in semienclosed basins, such as the Nordic seas, or on continental shelves, such as the Antarctic shelf. Overflows are the source of most of the abyssal waters, and therefore play an important role in the large-scale ocean circulation, forming a component of the sinking branch of the thermohaline circulation. As they descend the continental slope, overflows mix vigorously with the surrounding oceanic waters, changing their density and transport significantly. These mixing processes occur on spatial scales well below the resolution of ocean climate models, with the result that deep waters and deep western boundary currents are simulated poorly. The Gravity Current Entrainment Climate Process Team was established by the U.S. Climate Variability and Prediction (CLIVAR) Program to accelerate the development and implementation of improved representations of overflows within large-scale climate models, bringing together climate model developers with those conducting observational, numerical, and laboratory process studies of overflows. Here, the organization of the Climate Process Team is described, and a few of the successes and lessons learned during this collaboration are highlighted, with some emphasis on the well-observed Mediterranean overflow. The Climate Process Team has developed several different overflow parameterizations, which are examined in a hierarchy of ocean models, from comparatively well-resolved regional models to the largest-scale global climate models.

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