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Delman, AS, McClean JL, Sprintall J, Talley LD, Bryan FO.  2018.  Process-specific contributions to anomalous Java mixed layer cooling during positive IOD events. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 123:4153-4176.   10.1029/2017jc013749   AbstractWebsite

Negative sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies associated with positive Indian Ocean Dipole (pIOD) events first appear in the seasonal upwelling zone along the southern coast of Java during May-July. The evolution of anomalous SSTs in this coastal region is analyzed by computing a temperature budget using output from a strongly eddy-active ocean general circulation model. The seasonal cooling south of Java in May-July is driven by a reduction in incoming shortwave radiation and by vertical mixing, consistent with earlier studies in the region; however, the model budget also shows an advective contribution that drives anomalous cooling at the onset of pIOD events. To identify which process(es) are responsible for the anomalous advective cooling during pIOD events, a novel process index regression method is used to estimate the contributions of wind stress, equatorial Kelvin waves, mesoscale eddies, and Lombok Strait flow to anomalous cooling south of Java. Using this method, wind stress forcing along the west coast of Sumatra is found to make the most substantial contribution to anomalous cooling south of Java, with lesser contributions from equatorially sourced Kelvin waves and local wind stress. Mesoscale eddies redistribute heat from the Lombok Strait outflow, and have an anomalous warming effect on the eastern side of the upwelling region. The process-specific temperature budget south of Java highlights the importance of wind stress forcing west of Sumatra relative to equatorial and local forcing, and explains most of the mixed layer temperature anomaly evolution associated with advection during pIOD events. Plain Language Summary Climate variations from year to year in much of the Indian Ocean region are controlled by a phenomenon called the Indian Ocean Dipole, which is similar to El Nino but centered on the Indian Ocean basin. The positive phase of the Indian Ocean Dipole, or pIOD, typically brings drought conditions to Indonesia and unusually heavy rainfall to east Africa. These pIOD events are caused in part by unusually strong cooling in sea surface temperatures south of the Indonesian island of Java, but the series of events that causes this strong cooling has not been well understood previously. This paper uses the results obtained from a high-resolution ocean model, together with a new method for analyzing these results, to study exactly how much sea surface cooling (or warming) is caused by specific processes in the Java region. The study finds that changes in wind patterns adjacent to the Indonesian island of Sumatra can explain nearly all of the unusual cooling that develops south of Java in years when these pIOD events happen. The analysis method introduced in this paper may be adapted to study how processes in the ocean or atmosphere cause changes in the Earth's climate system.

Johnson, KS, Plant JN, Dunne JP, Talley LD, Sarmiento JL.  2017.  Annual nitrate drawdown observed by SOCCOM profiling floats and the relationship to annual net community production. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 122:6668-6683.   10.1002/2017jc012839   AbstractWebsite

Annual nitrate cycles have been measured throughout the pelagic waters of the Southern Ocean, including regions with seasonal ice cover and southern hemisphere subtropical zones. Vertically resolved nitrate measurements were made using in situ ultraviolet spectrophotometer (ISUS) and submersible ultraviolet nitrate analyzer (SUNA) optical nitrate sensors deployed on profiling floats. Thirty-one floats returned 40 complete annual cycles. The mean nitrate profile from the month with the highest winter nitrate minus the mean profile from the month with the lowest nitrate yields the annual nitrate drawdown. This quantity was integrated to 200 m depth and converted to carbon using the Redfield ratio to estimate annual net community production (ANCP) throughout the Southern Ocean south of 30 degrees S. A well-defined, zonal mean distribution is found with highest values (3-4 mol C m(-2) yr(-1)) from 40 to 50 degrees S. Lowest values are found in the subtropics and in the seasonal ice zone. The area weighted mean was 2.9 mol C m(-2) yr(-1) for all regions south of 40 degrees S. Cumulative ANCP south of 50 degrees S is 1.3 Pg C yr(-1). This represents about 13% of global ANCP in about 14% of the global ocean area. Plain Language Summary This manuscript reports on 40 annual cycles of nitrate observed by chemical sensors on SOCCOM profiling floats. The annual drawdown in nitrate concentration by phytoplankton is used to assess the spatial variability of annual net community production in the Southern Ocean. This ANCP is a key component of the global carbon cycle and it exerts an important control on atmospheric carbon dioxide. We show that the results are consistent with our prior understanding of Southern Ocean ANCP, which has required decades of observations to accumulate. The profiling floats now enable annual resolution of this key process. The results also highlight spatial variability in ANCP in the Southern Ocean.

Billheimer, S, Talley LD.  2013.  Near cessation of Eighteen Degree Water renewal in the western North Atlantic in the warm winter of 2011-2012. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 118:6838-6853.   10.1002/2013jc009024   AbstractWebsite

The winter of 2011-2012 was a particularly weak season for the renewal of "Eighteen Degree Water" (EDW), the Subtropical Mode Water of the western North Atlantic, as demonstrated by Argo and repeat hydrography. Weak, late winter buoyancy forcing produced shallower than usual winter mixed layers throughout the subtropical gyre, failing to thoroughly ventilate the underlying mode water, and can likely be attributed to the coinciding high, positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The only region where EDW was renewed was in the far northeastern Sargasso Sea where it is understood that the Gulf Stream plays a central role in formation; no EDW formed over the large regions of the gyre where deep winter mixed layers driven by surface buoyancy loss normally create EDW. The present investigation evaluates 2011-2012 winter buoyancy content anomalies, surface buoyancy fluxes, and advection of buoyancy via the Gulf Stream and compares them with the previous seven winters that exhibited more vigorous EDW formation. The weak 2011-2012 formation did not result from increased Gulf Stream heat advection, and was also not driven by preconditioning as the buoyancy content of the region prior to the onset of winter forcing was not unusually high. Rather, the weak formation resulted from climatologically weak surface cooling late in winter. The winter of 2007-2008 also experienced particularly weak EDW formation under similar conditions, including a high NAO and weak late winter surface cooling.

Talley, LD.  1999.  Simple coupled midlatitude climate models. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 29:2016-2037.   10.1175/1520-0485(1999)029<2016:scmcm>;2   AbstractWebsite

A set of simple analytical models is presented and evaluated for interannual to decadal coupled ocean-atmosphere modes at midlatitudes. The atmosphere and ocean are each in Sverdrup balance at these long timescales. The atmosphere's temperature response to heating determines the spatial phase relation between SST and sea level pressure (SLP) anomalies. Vertical advection balancing heating produces high (low) SLP lying east of warm (cold) SST anomalies, as observed in the Antarctic circumpolar wave (ACW), the decadal North Pacific mode, and the interannual North Atlantic mode. Zonal advection in an atmosphere with a rigid lid produces low SLP east of warm SST. However, if an ad hoc equivalent barotropic atmospheric response is assumed, high SLP lies east of warm SST. Relaxation to heating produces behavior like the observed North Atlantic decadal pattern, with low SLP over warm SST. Meridional advection in the atmosphere cannot produce the observed SST/SLP patterns. The dominant balance in the oceans temperature equation determines the phase speed of the modes. The coupled mode is nondispersive in all models examined here, indicating the need for additional processes. For modes with an SST-SLP offset as observed in the ACW and North Pacific, Ekman convergence acting as a heat source causes eastward propagation relative to the mean ocean flow. Sverdrup response to Ekman convergence, acting on the mean meridional temperature gradient, causes westward propagation relative to the mean ocean Row. When the ocean temperature adjusts through surface heat flux alone, the mode is advected by the mean ocean flow and is damped. Relaxation to heating in the atmosphere, when operating with Sverdrup response in the ocean, produces the only complete solution presented here that exhibits growth, with an a-folding timescale of order (100 days). This solution appears appropriate for the North Atlantic decadal mode. In Northern Hemisphere basins, with meridional boundaries, the: same sets of dynamics create the observed SST-SLP phase relation. An additional factor is the creation of SST anomalies through variations in the western boundary current strengths, which are related to the zonally integrated wind stress curl over the whole basin. If barotropic and hence fast adjustment is assumed, the resulting positive feedback can maintain or strengthen the coupled anomalies in the North Pacific and interannual North Atlantic modes.