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Fontan, A, Cornuelle B.  2015.  Anisotropic response of surface circulation to wind forcing, as inferred from high-frequency radar currents in the southeastern Bay of Biscay. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 120:2945-2957.   10.1002/2014jc010671   AbstractWebsite

The short-term (less than 20 days) response of surface circulation to wind has been determined in waters of the southeastern Bay of Biscay, using wind impulse response (time domain) and transfer (frequency domain) functions relating high-frequency radar currents and reanalysis winds. The response of surface currents is amplified at the near-inertial frequency and the low-frequency and it varies spatially. The analysis indicates that the response of the ocean to the wind is slightly anisotropic, likely due to pressure gradients and friction induced by the bottom and coastline boundaries in this region. Thus, the transfer function at the near-inertial frequency decreases onshore due to the coastline inhibition of circularly polarized near-inertial motion. In contrast, the low-frequency transfer function is enhanced toward the coast as a result of the geostrophic balance between the cross-shore pressure gradient and the Coriolis forces. The transfer functions also vary with season. In summer, the current response to wind is expected to be stronger but shallower due to stratification; in winter, the larger mixed layer depth results in a weaker but deeper response. The results obtained are consistent with the theoretical description of wind-driven circulation and can be used to develop a statistical model with a broad range of applications including accurate oceanic forecasting and understanding of the coupled atmosphere-ocean influence on marine ecosystems.

Fujii, Y, Cummings J, Xue Y, Schiller A, Lee T, Balmaseda MA, Remy E, Masuda S, Brassington G, Alves O, Cornuelle B, Martin M, Oke P, Smith G, Yang XS.  2015.  Evaluation of the Tropical Pacific Observing System from the ocean data assimilation perspective. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 141:2481-2496.   10.1002/qj.2579   AbstractWebsite

The drastic reduction in the number of observation data from the Tropical Atmospheric Ocean (TAO)/Triangle Trans-Ocean Buoy Network (TRITON) array since 2012 has given rise to a need to assess the impact of those data in ocean data assimilation (DA) systems. This article provides a review of existing studies evaluating the impacts of data from the TAO/TRITON array and other components of the Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS) on current ocean DA systems used for a variety of operational and research applications. It can be considered as background information that can guide the evaluation exercise of TPOS. Temperature data from TAO/TRITON array are assimilated in most ocean DA systems which cover the tropical Pacific in order to constrain the ocean heat content, stratification, and circulation. It is shown that the impacts of observation data depend considerably on the system and application. The presence of model error often makes the results difficult to interpret. Nevertheless there is consensus that the data from TAO/TRITON generally have positive impacts complementary to Argo floats. In the equatorial Pacific, the impacts are generally around the same level or larger than those of Argo. We therefore conclude that, with the current configuration of TPOS, the loss of the TAO/TRITON data is having a significant detrimental impact on many applications based on ocean DA systems. This conclusion needs to be kept under review because the equatorial coverage by Argo is expected to improve in the future.

Furue, R, Jia YL, McCreary JP, Schneider N, Richards KJ, Muller P, Cornuelle BD, Avellaneda NM, Stammer D, Liu CY, Kohl A.  2015.  Impacts of regional mixing on the temperature structure of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Part 1: Vertically uniform vertical diffusion. Ocean Modelling. 91:91-111.   10.1016/j.ocemod.2014.10.002   AbstractWebsite

We investigate the sensitivity of numerical model solutions to regional changes in vertical diffusion. Specifically, we vary the background diffusion coefficient, kappa(b), within spatially distinct subregions of the tropical Pacific, assess the impacts of those changes, and diagnose the processes that account for them. Solutions respond to a diffusion anomaly, delta kappa(b), in three ways. Initially, there is a fast response (several months), due to the interaction of rapidly propagating, barotropic and gravity waves with eddies and other mesoscale features. It is followed by a local response (roughly one year), the initial growth and spatial pattern of which can be explained by one-dimensional (vertical) diffusion. At this stage, temperature and salinity anomalies are generated that are either associated with a change in density ("dynamical" anomalies) or without one ("spiciness" anomalies). In a final adjustment stage, the dynamical and spiciness anomalies spread to remote regions by radiation of Rossby and Kelvin waves and by advection, respectively. In near equilibrium solutions, dynamical anomalies are generally much larger in the latitude band of the forcing, but the impact of off equatorial forcing by delta kappa(b) on the equatorial temperature structure is still significant. Spiciness anomalies spread equator ward within the pycnocline, where they are carried to the equator as part of the subsurface branch of the Pacific Subtropical Cells, and spiciness also extends to the equator via western-boundary currents. Forcing near and at the equator generates strong dynamical anomalies, and sometimes additional spiciness anomalies, at pycnocline depths. The total response of the equatorial temperature structure to delta kappa(b) in various regions depends on the strength and spatial pattern of the generation of each signal within the forcing region as well as On the processes of its spreading to the equator.