Publications

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2019
Freeman, NM, Munro DR, Sprintall J, Mazloff MR, Purkey S, Rosso I, DeRanek CA, Sweeney C.  2019.  The observed seasonal cycle of macronutrients in Drake Passage: relationship to fronts and utility as a model metric. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.   10.1029/2019JC015052   AbstractWebsite

Abstract The Drake Passage Time-series (DPT) is used to quantify the spatial and seasonal variability of historically under-sampled, biogeochemically-relevant properties across the Drake Passage. From 2004–2017, discrete ship-based observations of surface macronutrients (silicate, nitrate, and phosphate), temperature, and salinity have been collected 5–8 times per year as part of the DPT program. Using the DPT and Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) front locations derived from concurrent expendable bathythermograph (XBT) data, the distinct physical and biogeochemical characteristics of ACC frontal zones are characterized. Biogeochemical-Argo floats in the region confirm that the near-surface sampling scheme of the DPT robustly captures mixed-layer biogeochemistry. While macronutrient concentrations consistently increase toward the Antarctic continent, their meridional distribution, variability, and biogeochemical gradients are unique across physical ACC fronts, suggesting a combination of physical and biological processes controlling nutrient availability and nutrient front location. The Polar Front is associated with the northern expression of the Silicate Front (nSF), marking the biogeographically-relevant location between silicate-poor and silicate-rich waters. South of the nSF, the silicate-to-nitrate ratio increases, with the sharpest gradient in silicate associated with the Southern ACC Front (i.e., the southern SF). Nutrient cycling is an important control on variability in the surface ocean partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2). The robust characterization of the spatio-temporal variability of nutrients presented here highlights the utility of biogeochemical time-series for diagnosing and potentially reducing biases in modeling Southern Ocean pCO2 variability, and by inference, air-sea CO2 flux.

2018
Mazloff, MR, Cornuelle BD, Gille ST, Verdy A.  2018.  Correlation lengths for estimating the large-scale carbon and heat content of the Southern Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 123:883-901.   10.1002/2017jc013408   AbstractWebsite

The spatial correlation scales of oceanic dissolved inorganic carbon, heat content, and carbon and heat exchanges with the atmosphere are estimated from a realistic numerical simulation of the Southern Ocean. Biases in the model are assessed by comparing the simulated sea surface height and temperature scales to those derived from optimally interpolated satellite measurements. While these products do not resolve all ocean scales, they are representative of the climate scale variability we aim to estimate. Results show that constraining the carbon and heat inventory between 35 degrees S and 70 degrees S on time-scales longer than 90 days requires approximately 100 optimally spaced measurement platforms: approximately one platform every 20 degrees longitude by 6 degrees latitude. Carbon flux has slightly longer zonal scales, and requires a coverage of approximately 30 degrees by 6 degrees. Heat flux has much longer scales, and thus a platform distribution of approximately 90 degrees by 10 degrees would be sufficient. Fluxes, however, have significant subseasonal variability. For all fields, and especially fluxes, sustained measurements in time are required to prevent aliasing of the eddy signals into the longer climate scale signals. Our results imply a minimum of 100 biogeochemical-Argo floats are required to monitor the Southern Ocean carbon and heat content and air-sea exchanges on time-scales longer than 90 days. However, an estimate of formal mapping error using the current Argo array implies that in practice even an array of 600 floats (a nominal float density of about 1 every 7 degrees longitude by 3 degrees latitude) will result in nonnegligible uncertainty in estimating climate signals.

Giglio, D, Lyubchich V, Mazloff MR.  2018.  Estimating Oxygen in the Southern Ocean using Argo Temperature and Salinity. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. : Wiley-Blackwell   10.1029/2017JC013404   AbstractWebsite

Abstract An Argo based estimate of Oxygen (O2) at 150 m is presented for the Southern Ocean (SO) from Temperature (T), Salinity (S), and O2 Argo profiles collected during 2008?2012. The method is based on a supervised machine learning algorithm known as Random Forest (RF) regression, and provides an estimate for O2 given T, S, location and time information. The method is validated by attempting to reproduce the Southern Ocean State Estimate (SOSE) O2 field using synthetic data sampled from SOSE. The RF mapping shows skill in the majority of the domain, but is problematic in eastern boundary regions. Maps of O2 at 150 m derived from observed profiles suggest that SOSE and the World Ocean Atlas 2013 climatology may overestimate annual mean O2 in the SO, both on a global and basin scale. A large regional bias is found east of Argentina, where high O2 values in the Argo based estimate are confined closer to the coast compared to other products. SOSE may also underestimate the annual cycle of O2. Evaluation of the RF based method demonstrates its potential to improve understanding of O2 annual mean fields and variability from sparse O2 measurements. This implies the algorithm will also be effective for mapping other biogeochemical variables (e.g. nutrients and carbon). Furthermore, our RF evaluation results can be used to inform the design of future enhancements to the current array of O2 profiling floats.

Masich, J, Mazloff MR, Chereskin TK.  2018.  Interfacial Form Stress in the Southern Ocean State Estimate. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. : Wiley-Blackwell   10.1029/2018JC013844   AbstractWebsite

Abstract The wind stress that drives the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) exits the fluid via topographic form stress (TFS) at the sea floor; interfacial form stress (IFS) is thought to carry much of this momentum from source to sink. These form stresses combine to help set the strength and structure of the Southern Ocean meridional overturning circulation (MOC), a key nexus of heat and gas exchange between the deep ocean and the atmosphere. For the first time in a general circulation model, we calculate the time?varying, three?dimensional IFS field directly from zonal pressure gradients across vertical perturbations in isopycnal layer interfaces. We confirm previous findings that IFS compensates wind stress at the surface and topographic form stress at the seafloor in the Drake Passage latitudes. We find that zonal and time?mean IFS is primarily responsible for this surface wind stress compensation, with some contribution from transient eddy IFS. Mean, standing eddy, and transient eddy IFS combine to compensate topographic form stress at depth. Both standing and transient eddy IFS concentrate at stationary meanders along the ACC, and transient eddy IFS dominates standing eddy IFS in regions of high eddy kinetic energy. Finally, total IFS changes sign from balancing eastward wind stress to balancing westward topographic form stress around 28.1 kg m?3, close to the upper limit of Antarctic Bottom Water, indicating the role of buoyancy forcing in setting the structure of the IFS field.

Russell, JL, Kamenkovich I, Bitz C, Ferrari R, Gille ST, Goodman PJ, Hallberg R, Johnson K, Khazmutdinova K, Marinov I, Mazloff M, Riser S, Sarmiento JL, Speer K, Talley LD, Wanninkhof R.  2018.  Metrics for the Evaluation of the Southern Ocean in Coupled Climate Models and Earth System Models. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.   10.1002/2017JC013461   AbstractWebsite

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Briggs, EM, Martz TR, Talley LD, Mazloff MR, Johnson KS.  2018.  Physical and Biological Drivers of Biogeochemical Tracers Within the Seasonal Sea Ice Zone of the Southern Ocean From Profiling Floats. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.   10.1002/2017JC012846   AbstractWebsite

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Tamsitt, V, Abernathey RP, Mazloff MR, Wang J, Talley LD.  2018.  Transformation of Deep Water Masses Along Lagrangian Upwelling Pathways in the Southern Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.   10.1002/2017JC013409   AbstractWebsite

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2017
Rosso, I, Mazloff MR, Verdy A, Talley LD.  2017.  Space and time variability of the Southern Ocean carbon budget. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. 122:7407-7432.   10.1002/2016JC012646   AbstractWebsite

Abstract The upper ocean dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration is regulated by advective and diffusive transport divergence, biological processes, freshwater, and air‐sea CO2 fluxes. The relative importance of these mechanisms in the Southern Ocean is uncertain, as year‐round observations in this area have been limited. We use a novel physical‐biogeochemical state estimate of the Southern Ocean to construct a closed DIC budget of the top 650 m and investigate the spatial and temporal variability of the different components of the carbon system. The dominant mechanisms of variability in upper ocean DIC depend on location and time and space scales considered. Advective transport is the most influential mechanism and governs the local DIC budget across the 10 day–5 year timescales analyzed. Diffusive effects are nearly negligible. The large‐scale transport structure is primarily set by upwelling and downwelling, though both the lateral ageostrophic and geostrophic transports are significant. In the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the carbon budget components are also influenced by the presence of topography and biological hot spots. In the subtropics, evaporation and air‐sea CO2 flux primarily balances the sink due to biological production and advective transport. Finally, in the subpolar region sea ice processes, which change the seawater volume and thus the DIC concentration, compensate the large impact of the advective transport and modulate the timing of biological activity and air‐sea CO2 flux.

2016
Jones, DC, Meijers AJS, Shuckburgh E, Sallée J-B, Haynes P, Karczewska E, Mazloff MR.  2016.  How does Subantarctic Mode Water ventilate the Southern Hemisphere subtropics? Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. :n/a–n/a.   10.1002/2016JC011680   AbstractWebsite

In several regions north of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), deep wintertime convection refreshes pools of weakly stratified subsurface water collectively referred to as Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW). SAMW ventilates the subtropical thermocline on decadal timescales, providing nutrients for low-latitude productivity and potentially trapping anthropogenic carbon in the deep ocean interior for centuries. In this work, we investigate the spatial structure and timescales of mode water export and associated thermocline ventilation. We use passive tracers in an eddy-permitting, observationally-informed Southern Ocean model to identify the pathways followed by mode waters between their formation regions and the areas where they first enter the subtropics. We find that the pathways followed by the mode water tracers are largely set by the mean geostrophic circulation. Export from the Indian and Central Pacific mode water pools is primarily driven by large-scale gyre circulation, whereas export from the Australian and Atlantic pools is heavily influenced by the ACC. Export from the Eastern Pacific mode water pool is driven by a combination of deep boundary currents and subtropical gyre circulation. More than 50% of each mode water tracer reaches the subtropical thermocline within 50 years, with significant variability between pools. The Eastern Pacific pathway is especially efficient, with roughly 80% entering the subtropical thermocline within 50 years. The time required for 50% of the mode water tracers to leave the Southern Ocean domain varies significantly between mode water pools, from 9 years for the Indian mode water pool to roughly 40 years for the Central Pacific mode water pool. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

2015
Masich, J, Chereskin TK, Mazloff MR.  2015.  Topographic form stress in the Southern Ocean State Estimate. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. 120:7919–7933.   10.1002/2015JC011143   AbstractWebsite

We diagnose the Southern Ocean momentum balance in a 6 year, eddy-permitting state estimate of the Southern Ocean. We find that 95% of the zonal momentum input via wind stress at the surface is balanced by topographic form stress across ocean ridges, while the remaining 5% is balanced via bottom friction and momentum flux divergences at the northern and southern boundaries of the analysis domain. While the time-mean zonal wind stress field exhibits a relatively uniform spatial distribution, time-mean topographic form stress concentrates at shallow ridges and across the continents that lie within the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) latitudes; nearly 40% of topographic form stress occurs across South America, while the remaining 60% occurs across the major submerged ridges that underlie the ACC. Topographic form stress can be divided into shallow and deep regimes: the shallow regime contributes most of the westward form stress that serves as a momentum sink for the ACC system, while the deep regime consists of strong eastward and westward form stresses that largely cancel in the zonal integral. The time-varying form stress signal, integrated longitudinally and over the ACC latitudes, tracks closely with the wind stress signal integrated over the same domain; at zero lag, 88% of the variance in the 6 year form stress time series can be explained by the wind stress signal, suggesting that changes in the integrated wind stress signal are communicated via rapid barotropic response down to the level of bottom topography.

2013
van Sebille, E, Spence P, Mazloff MR, England MH, Rintoul SR, Saenko OA.  2013.  Abyssal connections of Antarctic Bottom Water in a Southern Ocean State Estimate. Geophysical Research Letters. 40:2177–2182.   10.1002/grl.50483   AbstractWebsite

Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) is formed in a few locations around the Antarctic continent, each source with distinct temperature and salinity. After formation, the different AABW varieties cross the Southern Ocean and flow into the subtropical abyssal basins. It is shown here, using the analysis of Lagrangian trajectories within the Southern Ocean State Estimate (SOSE) model, that the pathways of the different sources of AABW have to a large extent amalgamated into one pathway by the time it reaches 31°S in the deep subtropical basins. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current appears to play an important role in the amalgamation, as 70% of the AABW completes at least one circumpolar loop before reaching the subtropical basins. This amalgamation of AABW pathways suggests that on decadal to centennial time scales, changes to properties and formation rates in any of the AABW source regions will be conveyed to all three subtropical abyssal basins.

2012
Griesel, A, Mazloff MR, Gille ST.  2012.  Mean dynamic topography in the Southern Ocean: Evaluating Antarctic Circumpolar Current transport. J. Geophys. Res.. 117:2156-2202.: AGU   10.1029/2011JC007573   Abstract

Mean Dynamic Ocean Topography (MDT) is the difference between the time-averaged sea surface height and the geoid. Combining sea level and geoid measurements, which are both attained primarily by satellite, is complicated by ocean variability and differences in resolved spatial scales. Accurate knowledge of the MDT is particularly difficult in the Southern Ocean as this region is characterized by high temporal variability, relatively short spatial scales, and a lack of in situ gravity observations. In this study, four recent Southern Ocean MDT products are evaluated along with an MDT diagnosed from a Southern Ocean state estimate. MDT products differ in some locations by more than the nominal error bars. Attempts to decrease this discrepancy by accounting for temporal differences in the time period each product represents were unsuccessful, likely due to issues regarding resolved spatial scales. The mean mass transport of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) system can be determined by combining the MDT products with climatological ocean density fields. On average, MDT products predict higher ACC transports than inferred from observations. More importantly, the MDT products imply an unrealistic lack of mass conservation that cannot be explained by the a priori uncertainties. MDT estimates can possibly be improved by accounting for an ocean mass balance constraint.