Publications

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2018
Yi, DLL, Gan BL, Wu LX, Miller AJ.  2018.  The North Pacific Gyre Oscillation and Mechanisms of Its Decadal Variability in CMIP5 Models. Journal of Climate. 31:2487-2509.   10.1175/jcli-d-17-0344.1   AbstractWebsite

Based on the Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA) product and 37 models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) database, the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO) and its decadal generation mechanisms are evaluated by studying the second leading modes of North Pacific sea surface height (SSH) and sea level pressure (SLP) as well as their dynamical connections. It is found that 17 out of 37 models can well simulate the spatial pattern and decadal time scales (10-30 yr) of the NPGO mode, which resembles the observation-based SODA results. Dynamical connections between the oceanic mode (NPGO) and the atmospheric mode [North Pacific Oscillation (NPO)] are strongly evident in both SODA and the 17 models. In particular, about 30%-40% of the variance of the NPGO variability, which generally exhibits a preferred time scale, can be explained by the NPO variability, which has no preferred time scale in most models. Two mechanisms of the decadal NPGO variability that had been proposed by previous studies are evaluated in SODA and the 17 models: 1) stochastic atmospheric forcing and oceanic spatial resonance and 2) low-frequency atmospheric teleconnections excited by the equatorial Pacific. Evaluation reveals that these two mechanisms are valid in SODA and two models (CNRM-CM5 and CNRM-CM5.2), whereas two models (CMCC-CM and CMCC-CMS) prefer the first mechanism and another two models (CMCC-CESM and IPSL-CM5B-LR) prefer the second mechanism. The other 11 models have no evident relations with the proposed two mechanisms, suggesting the need for a fundamental understanding of the decadal NPGO variability in the future.

2011
Song, H, Miller AJ, Cornuelle BD, Di Lorenzo E.  2011.  Changes in upwelling and its water sources in the California Current System driven by different wind forcing. Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans. 52:170-191.   10.1016/j.dynatmoce.2011.03.001   AbstractWebsite

In the California Current System (CCS), upwelling is one of the most important features that enrich the coastal ecosystem. It is highly dependent on both wind stress and wind stress curl, because they contribute to the upwelling system through Ekman transport away from the coast and Ekman pumping as a result of the surface divergence, respectively. Various wind stress products are known to contain sharply different patterns of wind stress, and well-resolved wind forcing products have been shown to drive stronger upwelling due to their better-resolved wind stress curl in previous studies. However, sensitivities of upwelling to changes in wind stress patterns, and each of their control to the source waters and paths of the upwelling cells, are not yet well known for the CCS. Here we study these effects using the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) and its adjoint model under idealized wind stress forcing patterns representing three widely-used products in addition to a constant wind stress field (no curl): the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis, the QuikSCAT satellite observations, and the Regional Spectral Model (RSM) downscaling. Changes in currents and isopycnal patterns during the upwelling season are first studied in ROMS under the four different wind stress fields. The model simulations show that the locations of the core of the equatorward flow and the gradient of the cross-shore isopycnals are controlled by the wind stress curl field. The core of the equatorward flow is found under negative wind stress curl, and a deeper upwelling cell is found as the gradient from positive and negative wind stress curl increases. Source waters for the upwelling in each of the four wind stress patterns are investigated using the ROMS adjoint model. The simulations follow a passive tracer backward in time and track the source waters for upwelling in two key areas of interest: inshore and offshore of the Point Sur region of California. The upwelling source waters depend strongly on the depth of the upwelling cell and the alongshore current location. We further relate these results to recent studies of the observed trends in upwelling favorable winds and consequent wind stress curl changes in the CCS. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

2009
Di Lorenzo, E, Fiechter J, Schneider N, Bracco A, Miller AJ, Franks PJS, Bograd SJ, Moore AM, Thomas AC, Crawford W, Pena A, Hermann AJ.  2009.  Nutrient and salinity decadal variations in the central and eastern North Pacific. Geophysical Research Letters. 36   10.1029/2009gl038261   AbstractWebsite

Long-term timeseries of upper ocean salinity and nutrients collected in the Alaskan Gyre along Line P exhibit significant decadal variations that are shown to be in phase with variations recorded in the Southern California Current System by the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigation (CalCOFI). We present evidence that these variations are linked to the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO)-a climate mode of variability that tracks changes in strength of the central and eastern branches of the North Pacific gyres and of the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension (KOE). The NPGO emerges as the leading mode of low-frequency variability for salinity and nutrients. We reconstruct the spatial expressions of the salinity and nutrient modes over the northeast Pacific using a regional ocean model hindcast from 1963-2004. These modes exhibit a large-scale coherent pattern that predicts the in-phase relationship between the Alaskan Gyre and California Current timeseries. The fact that large-amplitude, low-frequency fluctuations in salinity and nutrients are spatially phase-locked and correlated with a measurable climate index (the NPGO) open new avenues for exploring and predicting the effects of long-term climate change on marine ecosystem dynamics. Citation: Di Lorenzo, E., et al. (2009), Nutrient and salinity decadal variations in the central and eastern North Pacific, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L14601, doi:10.1029/2009GL038261.

2008
Di Lorenzo, E, Schneider N, Cobb KM, Franks PJS, Chhak K, Miller AJ, McWilliams JC, Bograd SJ, Arango H, Curchitser E, Powell TM, Riviere P.  2008.  North Pacific Gyre Oscillation links ocean climate and ecosystem change. Geophysical Research Letters. 35   10.1029/2007gl032838   AbstractWebsite

Decadal fluctuations in salinity, nutrients, chlorophyll, a variety of zooplankton taxa, and fish stocks in the Northeast Pacific are often poorly correlated with the most widely-used index of large- scale climate variability in the region - the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). We define a new pattern of climate change, the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO) and show that its variability is significantly correlated with previously unexplained fluctuations of salinity, nutrients and chlorophyll. Fluctuations in the NPGO are driven by regional and basin-scale variations in wind-driven upwelling and horizontal advection - the fundamental processes controlling salinity and nutrient concentrations. Nutrient fluctuations drive concomitant changes in phytoplankton concentrations, and may force similar variability in higher trophic levels. The NPGO thus provides a strong indicator of fluctuations in the mechanisms driving planktonic ecosystem dynamics. The NPGO pattern extends beyond the North Pacific and is part of a global-scale mode of climate variability that is evident in global sea level trends and sea surface temperature. Therefore the amplification of the NPGO variance found in observations and in global warming simulations implies that the NPGO may play an increasingly important role in forcing global-scale decadal changes in marine ecosystems.

2006
Auad, G, Miller A, Di Lorenzo E.  2006.  Long-term forecast of oceanic conditions off California and their biological implications. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 111   10.1029/2005jc003219   AbstractWebsite

[1] The impact of global warming due to an increased content of atmospheric CO(2) is studied by forcing a numerical eddy-resolving ocean model with wind stresses, heat fluxes, and open boundary conditions obtained from a state-of-the-art coupled model. Specifically, we have compared the 1986 - 1996 and 2040 - 2050 decades to describe and analyze the changes attained by several oceanographic variables in the California Current System. A richer atmosphere in CO(2) leads to increased sea surface and near-surface temperatures in the model domain and to an increased stratification along the coast that, however, is not strong enough to overcome the effect of increased upwelling favorable winds. A mild oceanic cooling is forecast below the 70-m depth, in agreement with recent studies of global warming trends. Near-surface vertical velocities increase by about 30% in April, but our simulations also forecast anomalous offshore transports in most of the coastal areas. The eddy kinetic energy decreases, on an annual mean, along the California Current main path with maximum negative anomalies in winter. The upward displacement of the 26.5 isopycnal surface, especially in the northern half of our study area, leads to an increase in the concentration of nutrients in the subsurface. The agreement between some results of this forecasting study and recent published findings would suggest that the current global warming trend would persist in the study area with similar changes to those observed over the last half century.

2004
Di Lorenzo, E, Miller AJ, Neilson DJ, Cornuelle BD, Moisan JR.  2004.  Modelling observed California Current mesoscale eddies and the ecosystem response. International Journal of Remote Sensing. 25:1307-1312.   10.1080/01431160310001592229   AbstractWebsite

Satellite and in situ observations are used to test model dynamics for the California Current System (CCS). The model and data are combined to reconstruct the mesoscale ocean structure during a given three-week period. The resulting physical flow field is used to drive a 3D ecosystem model to interpret SeaWiFS and in situ chlorophyll-a (chl-a) variations. With this approach a more complete and consistent picture of the physical and ecosystem processes of the CCS is obtained, providing the basis for addressing fundamental questions about dynamics and predictability of the coastal ocean.