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Palóczy, A, Gille ST, McClean JL.  2018.  Oceanic heat delivery to the Antarctic continental shelf: Large-scale, low-frequency variability. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. : Wiley-Blackwell   10.1029/2018JC014345   Abstract

Onshore penetration of oceanic water across the Antarctic continental slope (ACS) plays a major role in global sea level rise by delivering heat to the Antarctic marginal seas, thus contributing to the basal melting of ice shelves. Here, the time-mean (Φmean) and eddy (Φeddy) components of the heat transport (Φ) across the 1000 m isobath along the entire ACS are investigated using a 0.1° global coupled ocean/sea ice simulation based on the Los Alamos Parallel Ocean Program (POP) and sea ice (CICE) models. Comparison with in situ hydrography shows that the model successfully represents the basic water mass structure, with a warm bias in the Circumpolar Deep Water layer. Segments of on-shelf Φ, with lengths of O(100-1000 km), are found along the ACS. The circumpolar integral of the annually-averaged Φ is O(20 TW), with Φeddy always on-shelf, while Φmean fluctuates between on-shelf and off-shelf. Stirring along isoneutral surfaces is often the dominant process by which eddies transport heat across the ACS, but advection of heat by both mean flow-topography interactions and eddies can also be significant depending on the along- and across-slope location. The seasonal and interannual variability of the circumpolarly-integrated Φmean is controlled by convergence of Ekman transport within the ACS. Prominent warming features at the bottom of the continental shelf (consistent with observed temperature trends) are found both during high-SAM and high-Ni??o 3.4 periods, suggesting that climate modes can modulate the heat transfer from the Southern Ocean to the ACS across the entire Antarctic margin.

Swart, NC, Gille ST, Fyfe JC, Gillett NP.  2018.  Recent Southern Ocean warming and freshening driven by greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion. Nature Geoscience.   10.1038/s41561-018-0226-1   Abstract

The Southern Ocean has, on average, warmed and freshened over the past several decades. As a primary global sink for anthropogenic heat and carbon, to understand changes in the Southern Ocean is directly relevant to predicting the future evolution of the global climate system. However, the drivers of these changes are poorly understood, owing to sparse observational sampling, large amplitude internal variability, modelling uncertainties and the competing influence of multiple forcing agents. Here we construct an observational synthesis to quantify the temperature and salinity changes over the Southern Ocean and combine this with an ensemble of co-sampled climate model simulations. Using a detection and attribution analysis, we show that the observed changes are inconsistent with the internal variability or the response to natural forcing alone. Rather, the observed changes are primarily attributable to human-induced greenhouse gas increases, with a secondary role for stratospheric ozone depletion. Physically, the simulated changes are primarily driven by surface fluxes of heat and freshwater. The consistency between the observed changes and our simulations provides increased confidence in the ability of climate models to simulate large-scale thermohaline change in the Southern Ocean.

Zilberman, NV, Roemmich DH, Gille ST, Gilson J.  2018.  Estimating the velocity and transport of Western Boundary current systems: A case study of the East Australian Current near Brisbane. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 35:1313-1329.   10.1175/jtech-d-17-0153.1   AbstractWebsite

Western boundary currents (WBCs) are highly variable narrow meandering jets, making assessment of their volume transports a complex task. The required high-resolution temporal and spatial measurements are available only at a limited number of sites. In this study a method is developed for improving estimates of the East Australian Current (EAC) mean transport and its low-frequency variability, using complementary modern datasets. The present calculation is a case study that will be extended to other subtropical WBCs. The method developed in this work will reduce uncertainties in estimates of the WBC volume transport and in the interannual mass and heat budgets of the meridional overturning circulations, improving our understanding of the response of WBCs to local and remote forcing on long time scales. High-resolution expendable bathythermograph (HR-XBT) profiles collected along a transect crossing the EAC system near Brisbane, Australia, are merged with coexisting profiles and parking-depth trajectories from Argo floats, and with altimetric sea surface height data. Using HR-XBT/Argo/altimetry data combined with Argo trajectory-based velocities at 1000 m, the 2004-15 mean poleward alongshore transport of the EAC is 19.5 +/- 2.0 Sv (1 Sv 10(6) m(3) s(-1)) of which 2.5 +/- 0.5 Sv recirculate equatorward just offshore of the EAC. These transport estimates are consistent in their mean and variability with concurrent and nearly collocated moored observations at 27 degrees S, and with earlier moored observations along 30 degrees S. Geostrophic transport anomalies in the EAC system, including the EAC recirculation, show a standard deviation of +/- 3.1 Sv at interannual time scales between 2004 and 2015.

Wang, T, Gille ST, Mazloff MR, Zilberman NV, Du Y.  2018.  Numerical simulations to project Argo float positions in the mid-depth and deep southwest Pacific. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology.   10.1175/jtech-d-17-0214.1   Abstract

Argo float trajectories are simulated in the Southwest Pacific Basin (170°E-165°W, 25°S-45°S) using velocity fields from a 1/12° Southern Ocean model and a Lagrangian particle tracking model programmed to represent the vertical motions of profiling Argo floats. The system is applied to simulate both core Argo floats (typically parked at 1000-m depth and profiling to 2000-m depth) and Deep Argo floats (parked 500 m above the seafloor). The goal is to estimate Probability Density Functions (PDFs) predicting future float positions. Differences are expected in the trajectory statistics, largely because of limitations in the temporal and spatial resolution of the model fields and uncertainties associated with a random walk component included in the particle advection scheme to represent this unresolved variability. Nonetheless, the core Argo float displacements over ~100-day time intervals are mostly consistent with the derived PDFs, particularly in regions with stable mid-layer flows. For the Deep Argo floats, which are released in the open ocean and parked near the bottom, the simulations predict an average total displacement of less than 50 km within 100 days, in good agreement with the Deep Argo floats deployed as part of a pilot study. The study explores both the representativeness and the predictability of float displacements, with an aim to contribute to planning for the float observing system.

Ogle, SE, Tamsitt V, Josey SA, Gille ST, Cerovecki I, Talley LD, Weller RA.  2018.  Episodic Southern Ocean heat loss and its mixed layer impacts revealed by the farthest south multiyear surface flux mooring. Geophysical Research Letters. 45:5002-5010.   10.1029/2017gl076909   AbstractWebsite

The Ocean Observatories Initiative air-sea flux mooring deployed at 54.08 degrees S, 89.67 degrees W, in the southeast Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean, is the farthest south long-term open ocean flux mooring ever deployed. Mooring observations (February 2015 to August 2017) provide the first in situ quantification of annual net air-sea heat exchange from one of the prime Subantarctic Mode Water formation regions. Episodic turbulent heat loss events (reaching a daily mean net flux of -294W/m(2)) generally occur when northeastward winds bring relatively cold, dry air to the mooring location, leading to large air-sea temperature and humidity differences. Wintertime heat loss events promote deep mixed layer formation that lead to Subantarctic Mode Water formation. However, these processes have strong interannual variability; a higher frequency of 2 sigma and 3 sigma turbulent heat loss events in winter 2015 led to deep mixed layers (>300m), which were nonexistent in winter 2016.

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. 123:3120-3143.   10.1002/2017jc013461   AbstractWebsite

The Southern Ocean is central to the global climate and the global carbon cycle, and to the climate's response to increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases, as it ventilates a large fraction of the global ocean volume. Global coupled climate models and earth system models, however, vary widely in their simulations of the Southern Ocean and its role in, and response to, the ongoing anthropogenic trend. Due to the region's complex water-mass structure and dynamics, Southern Ocean carbon and heat uptake depend on a combination of winds, eddies, mixing, buoyancy fluxes, and topography. Observationally based metrics are critical for discerning processes and mechanisms, and for validating and comparing climate and earth system models. New observations and understanding have allowed for progress in the creation of observationally based data/model metrics for the Southern Ocean. Metrics presented here provide a means to assess multiple simulations relative to the best available observations and observational products. Climate models that perform better according to these metrics also better simulate the uptake of heat and carbon by the Southern Ocean. This report is not strictly an intercomparison, but rather a distillation of key metrics that can reliably quantify the "accuracy" of a simulation against observed, or at least observable, quantities. One overall goal is to recommend standardization of observationally based benchmarks that the modeling community should aspire to meet in order to reduce uncertainties in climate projections, and especially uncertainties related to oceanic heat and carbon uptake. Plain Language Summary Observationally based metrics are essential for the standardized evaluation of climate and earth system models, and for reducing the uncertainty associated with future projections by those models.

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.

Villas Bôas, AB, Gille ST, Mazloff MR, Cornuelle BD.  2017.  Characterization of the deep-water surface wave variability in the California current region. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.   10.1002/2017JC013280   Abstract

Surface waves are crucial for the dynamics of the upper ocean not only because they mediate exchanges of momentum, heat, energy, and gases between the ocean and the atmosphere, but also because they determine the sea state. The surface wave field in a given region is set by the combination of local and remote forcing. The present work characterizes the seasonal variability of the deep–water surface wave field in the California Current region, as retrieved from over two decades of satellite altimetry data combined with wave buoys and wave model hindcast (WaveWatch III). In particular, the extent to which the local wind modulates the variability of the significant wave height, peak period, and peak direction is assessed. During spring/summer, regional–scale wind events of up to 10 m/s are the dominant forcing for waves off the California coast, leading to relatively short period waves (8-10 s) that come predominantly from the north–northwest. The wave climatology throughout the California Current region shows average significant wave heights exceeding 2 m during most of the year, which may have implications for the planning and retrieval methods of the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission.

Giglio, D, Gille ST, Subramanian AC, Nguyen S.  2017.  The role of wind gusts in upper ocean diurnal variability. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 122:7751-7764.   10.1002/2017jc012794   AbstractWebsite

Upper ocean processes play a key role in air-sea coupling, with variability on both short and long time scales. The diurnal cycle associated with diurnal solar insolation and nighttime cooling, may act, along with stochastic wind variability, on upper ocean temperatures and stratification resulting in a diurnal warm layer and a nonlinear rectified effect on longer time scales. This study describes diurnal changes in upper ocean temperature for a location in the equatorial Indian Ocean, using observations from the Dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation field campaign, a high vertical resolution 1-D process model, and a diurnal cycling scheme. Solar forcing is the main driver of diurnal variability in upper ocean temperature and stratification. Yet except during nighttime convection, winds with variability on the order of hours (here referred to as "wind gusts") regulate how fast surface water is mixed to greater depths when daily mean winds are weak. Wind gusts are much stronger than diurnal winds. Even using stochastic wind gusts but no diurnal winds as input in a 1-D process model yields an estimate of diurnal temperature that compares well with observations. A new version of the Large and Caron (2015) scheme (LC2015) provides an estimate of upper ocean diurnal temperature that is consistent with observations. LC2015 has the advantage of being suitable for implementation in a climate model, with the goal to improve SST estimates, hence the simulated heat flux at the air-sea interface. Yet LC2015 is not very sensitive to the inclusion or omission of the high-frequency component of the wind.

Chen, R, Gille ST, McClean JL.  2017.  Isopycnal eddy mixing across the Kuroshio Extension: Stable versus unstable states in an eddying model. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 122:4329-4345.   10.1002/2016jc012164   AbstractWebsite

The Kuroshio Extension (KE) jet transitions between stable and unstable states on interannual time scales. Cross-jet eddy mixing in the two states is contrasted in the KE region ( 28 degrees-40 degrees N,125 degrees-165 degrees E), using a global eddying 0.1 degrees configuration of the Parallel Ocean Program with online numerical particles. The 4 year period chosen (June 1994 to May 1998) covers a full cycle of the stable state, unstable state and the transition period. Large values of cross-jet eddy diffusivities within the KE jet are concentrated in the upper 1000 m. In the upper ocean, elevated cross-jet mixing within the KE jet is mainly concentrated in the downstream part of the KE jet, where the jet is weak but eddy activity is strong. The simulated time-mean KE jet is more intense and extends further east in the stable state than in the unstable state. Consequently, strong cross-jet mixing within the KE jet is located west of 150 degrees E during June 1996 to May 1997 (a typical unstable state), but east of 150 degrees E during June 1995 to May 1996 (a typical stable state). However, average mixing within the KE jet is indistinguishable in the typical stable and unstable states. In the deep ocean, mixing is strongly influenced by topography, and thus their horizontal structures have less inter-annual variability than in the upper ocean. One caveat is that results here cover one representative cycle of the two states. To obtain the climate mean mixing structures for the stable or unstable state, one would need numerical output covering a period much longer than 4 years.

van der Wiel, K, Gille ST, Smith SGL, Linden PF, Cenedese C.  2017.  Characteristics of colliding sea breeze gravity current fronts: a laboratory study. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 143:1434-1441.   10.1002/qj.3015   AbstractWebsite

Sea and land breeze circulations driven by surface temperature differences between land and sea often evolve into gravity currents with sharp fronts. Along narrow peninsulas, islands and enclosed seas, sea/land breeze fronts from opposing shorelines may converge and collide and may initiate deep convection and heavy precipitation. Here we investigate the collision of two sea breeze gravity current fronts in an analogue laboratory setting. We examine these collisions by means of 'lock-exchange' experiments in a rectangular channel. The effects of differences in gravity current density and height are studied. Upon collision, a sharp front separating the two currents develops. For symmetric collisions ( the same current densities and heights) this front is vertical and stationary. For asymmetric collisions ( density differences, similar heights) the front is tilted, changes shape in time and propagates in the same direction as the heavier current before the collision. Both symmetric and asymmetric collisions lead to upward displacement of fluid from the gravity currents and mixing along the plane of contact. The amount of mixing along the collision front decreases with asymmetry. Height differences impact post-collision horizontal propagation: there is significant propagation in the same direction as the higher current before collision, independent of density differences. Collisions of two gravity current fronts force sustained ascending motions which increase the potential for deep convection. From our experiments we conclude that this potential is larger in stationary collision fronts from symmetric sea breeze collisions than in propagating collision fronts from asymmetric sea breeze collisions.

Carranza, MM, Gille ST, Piola AR, Charo M, Romero SI.  2017.  Wind modulation of upwelling at the shelf-break front off Patagonia: Observational evidence. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 122:2401-2421.   10.1002/2016jc012059   AbstractWebsite

The South-Atlantic Patagonian shelf is the largest chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) hot spot in Southern Ocean color images. While a persistent 1500 km long band of high Chl-a along the shelf-break front (SBF) is indicative of upwelling, the mechanisms that drive it are not entirely known. Along-front wind oscillations can enhance upwelling and provide a nutrient pumping mechanism at shelf-break fronts of western boundary currents. Here we assess wind-induced upwelling at the SBF off Patagonia from daily satellite Chl-a and winds, historical hydrographic observations, cross-shelf Chl-a fluorescence transects from two cruises, and in situ winds and water column structure from a mooring site. Satellite Chl-a composites segregated by along-front wind direction indicate that surface Chl-a is enhanced at the SBF with southerly winds and suppressed with northerly winds. Northerly winds also result in enhanced Chl-a further offshore (similar to 25-50 km). Synoptic transects as well as mean hydrographic sections segregated by along-front winds show isopycnals tilted upward for southerly winds. Spring observations from the mooring also suggest that southerly winds destratify the water column and northerly winds restratify, in agreement with Ekman transport interacting with the front. Moreover, changes in water column temperature lag along-front wind forcing by 2-4 days. Our results suggest that oscillations in along-front winds, on timescales typical of atmospheric storms (2-10 days), can significantly modulate the upwelling and Chl-a concentrations at the SBF off Patagonia, revealing the importance of wind-induced upwelling for shelf-slope exchange at shelf-break fronts of western boundary currents.

Zilberman, NV, Roemmich DH, Gille ST.  2017.  The East Pacific Rise current: Topographic enhancement of the interior flow in the South Pacific Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters. 44:277-285.   10.1002/2016gl069039   AbstractWebsite

Observations of absolute velocity based on Argo float profiles and trajectories in the ocean interior show evidence for an equatorward current, the East Pacific Rise current, between 42 degrees S and 30 degrees S, along the western flank of the East Pacific Rise. The East Pacific Rise current carries predominantly intermediate water masses, including Subantarctic Mode Water and Antarctic Intermediate Water, and deeper waters, from the southern edge of the subtropical gyre toward the Equator. The 2004 to 2014 mean East Pacific Rise current transport extrapolated through the 0-2600m depth range is 8.11.6 sverdrup (Sv) (1 Sv=10(6)m(3)s(-1)), consistent with a wind-driven interior transport influenced by the East Pacific Rise topography. While deep ocean mixing and geothermal heating can both create pressure gradients that support geostrophic flows in the deep ocean, this study indicates that about half of the East Pacific Rise current transport is associated with topographic steering of the deep flow over the East Pacific Rise.

Rocha, CB, Gille ST, Chereskin TK, Menemenlis D.  2016.  Seasonality of submesoscale dynamics in the Kuroshio Extension. Geophysical Research Letters. 43:11304-11311.   10.1002/2016gl071349   AbstractWebsite

Recent studies show that the vigorous seasonal cycle of the mixed layer modulates upper ocean submesoscale turbulence. Here we provide model-based evidence that the seasonally changing upper ocean stratification in the Kuroshio Extension also modulates submesoscale (here 10-100 km) inertia-gravity waves. Summertime restratification weakens submesoscale turbulence but enhances inertia-gravity waves near the surface. Thus, submesoscale turbulence and inertia-gravity waves undergo vigorous out-of-phase seasonal cycles. These results imply a strong seasonal modulation of the accuracy of geostrophic velocity diagnosed from submesoscale sea surface height delivered by the Surface Water and Ocean Topography satellite mission.

Jones, JM, Gille ST, Goosse H, Abram NJ, Canziani PO, Charman DJ, Clem KR, Crosta X, de Lavergne C, Eisenman I, England MH, Fogt RL, Frankcombe LM, Marshall GJ, Masson-Delmotte V, Morrison AK, Orsi AJ, Raphael MN, Renwick JA, Schneider DP, Simpkins GR, Steig EJ, Stenni B, Swingedouw D, Vance TR.  2016.  Assessing recent trends in high-latitude Southern Hemisphere surface climate. Nature Climate Change. 6:917-926.   10.1038/nclimate3103   AbstractWebsite

Understanding the causes of recent climatic trends and variability in the high-latitude Southern Hemisphere is hampered by a short instrumental record. Here, we analyse recent atmosphere, surface ocean and sea-ice observations in this region and assess their trends in the context of palaeoclimate records and climate model simulations. Over the 36-year satellite era, significant linear trends in annual mean sea-ice extent, surface temperature and sea-level pressure are superimposed on large interannual to decadal variability. Most observed trends, however, are not unusual when compared with Antarctic palaeoclimate records of the past two centuries. With the exception of the positive trend in the Southern Annular Mode, climate model simulations that include anthropogenic forcing are not compatible with the observed trends. This suggests that natural variability overwhelms the forced response in the observations, but the models may not fully represent this natural variability or may overestimate the magnitude of the forced response.

Wang, J, Mazloff M, Gille ST.  2016.  The effect of the Kerguelen Plateau on the ocean circulation. Journal of Physical Oceanography.   10.1175/JPO-D-15-0216.1   Abstract

The Kerguelen Plateau is a major topographic feature in the Southern Ocean. Located in the Indian sector and spanning nearly 2,000 kilometers in the meridional direction from the polar to the Subantarctic region, it deflects the eastward flowing Antarctic Circumpolar Current and influences the physical circulation and biogeochemistry of the Southern Ocean. The Kerguelen Plateau is known to govern the local dynamics, but its impact on the large-scale ocean circulation has not been explored. By comparing global ocean numerical simulations with and without the Kerguelen Plateau we identify two major Kerguelen Plateau effects: 1) The plateau supports a local pressure field that pushes the Antarctic Circumpolar Current northward. This process reduces the warm water transport from the Indian to the Atlantic Oceans. 2) The plateau-generated pressure field shields the Weddell Gyre from the influence of the warmer Subantarctic and Subtropical waters. The first effect influences the strength of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and the Agulhas leakage, both of which are important elements in the global thermohaline circulation. The second effect results in a zonally asymmetric response of the subpolar gyres to Southern Hemisphere wind forcing.

Rodriguez, AR, Mazloff MR, Gille ST.  2016.  An oceanic heat transport pathway to the Amundsen Sea Embayment. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 121:3337-3349.   10.1002/2015jc011402   AbstractWebsite

The Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) on the West Antarctic coastline has been identified as a region of accelerated glacial melting. A Southern Ocean State Estimate (SOSE) is analyzed over the 2005-2010 time period in the Amundsen Sea region. The SOSE oceanic heat budget reveals that the contribution of parameterized small-scale mixing to the heat content of the ASE waters is small compared to advection and local air-sea heat flux, both of which contribute significantly to the heat content of the ASE waters. Above the permanent pycnocline, the local air-sea flux dominates the heat budget and is controlled by seasonal changes in sea ice coverage. Overall, between 2005 and 2010, the model shows a net heating in the surface above the pycnocline within the ASE. Sea water below the permanent pycnocline is isolated from the influence of air-sea heat fluxes, and thus, the divergence of heat advection is the major contributor to increased oceanic heat content of these waters. Oceanic transport of mass and heat into the ASE is dominated by the cross-shelf input and is primarily geostrophic below the permanent pycnocline. Diagnosis of the time-mean SOSE vorticity budget along the continental shelf slope indicates that the cross-shelf transport is sustained by vorticity input from the localized wind-stress curl over the shelf break.

Li, XC, Xie SP, Gille ST, Yoo C.  2016.  Atlantic-induced pan-tropical climate change over the past three decades. Nature Climate Change. 6:275-+.   10.1038/nclimate2840   AbstractWebsite

During the past three decades, tropical sea surface temperature (SST) has shown dipole-like trends, with warming over the tropical Atlantic and Indo-western Pacific but cooling over the eastern Pacific. Competing hypotheses relate this cooling, identified as a driver of the global warming hiatus(1,2), to the warming trends in either the Atlantic(3,4) or Indian Ocean(5). However, the mechanisms, the relative importance and the interactions between these teleconnections remain unclear. Using a state-of-the-art climate model, we show that the Atlantic plays a key role in initiating the tropical-wide teleconnection, and the Atlantic-induced anomalies contribute similar to 55-75% of the tropical SST and circulation changes during the satellite era. The Atlantic warming drives easterly wind anomalies over the Indo-western Pacific as Kelvin waves and westerly anomalies over the eastern Pacific as Rossby waves. The wind changes induce an Indo-western Pacific warming through the wind-evaporation-SST effect(6,7), and this warming intensifies the La Nina-type response in the tropical Pacific by enhancing the easterly trade winds and through the Bjerknes ocean dynamical processes(8). The teleconnection develops into a tropical-wide SST dipole pattern. This mechanism, supported by observations and a hierarchy of climate models, reveals that the tropical ocean basins are more tightly connected than previously thought.

Rocha, CB, Chereskin TK, Gille ST, Menemenlis D.  2016.  Mesoscale to submesoscale wavenumber spectra in Drake Passage. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 46:601-620.   10.1175/jpo-d-15-0087.1   AbstractWebsite

This study discusses the upper-ocean (0-200 m) horizontal wavenumber spectra in the Drake Passage from 13 yr of shipboard ADCP measurements, altimeter data, and a high-resolution numerical simulation. At scales between 10 and 200 km, the ADCP kinetic energy spectra approximately follow a k(-3) power law. The observed flows are more energetic at the surface, but the shape of the kinetic energy spectra is independent of depth. These characteristics resemble predictions of isotropic interior quasigeostrophic turbulence. The ratio of across-track to along-track kinetic energy spectra, however, significantly departs from the expectation of isotropic interior quasigeostrophic turbulence. The inconsistency is dramatic at scales smaller than 40 km. A Helmholtz decomposition of the ADCP spectra and analyses of synthetic and numerical model data show that horizontally divergent, ageostrophic flows account for the discrepancy between the observed spectra and predictions of isotropic interior quasigeostrophic turbulence. In Drake Passage, ageostrophic motions appear to be dominated by inertia-gravity waves and account for about half of the near-surface kinetic energy at scales between 10 and 40 km. Model results indicate that ageostrophic flows imprint on the sea surface, accounting for about half of the sea surface height variance between 10 and 40 km.

Shao, AE, Gille ST, Mecking S, Thompson L.  2015.  Properties of the Subantarctic Front and Polar Front from the skewness of sea level anomaly. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 120:5179-5193.   10.1002/2015jc010723   AbstractWebsite

The region of the Southern Ocean that encompasses the Subantarctic Front (SAF) to the north and the Polar Front (PF) to the south contains most of the transport of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Here skewness of sea level anomaly (SLA) from 1992 to 2013 is coupled with a meandering Gaussian jetw model to estimate the mean position, meridional width, and the percent variance that each front contributes to total SLA variability. The SAF and PF have comparable widths (85 km) in the circumpolar average, but their widths differ significantly in the East Pacific Basin (85 and 60 km, respectively). Interannual variability in the positions of the SAF and PF are also estimated using annual subsets of the SLA data from 1993 to 2012. The PF position has enhanced variability near strong topographic features such as the Kerguelen Plateau, the Campbell Plateau east of New Zealand, and downstream of Drake Passage. Neither the SAF nor the PF showed a robust meridional trend over the 20 year period. The Southern Annular Mode was significantly correlated with basin-averaged SAF and PF positions in the East Pacific and with the PF south of Australia. A correlation between the PF and the basin-scale wind stress curl anomaly was also found in the western extratropical Pacific but not in other basins.

Chen, R, Gille ST, McClean JL, Flierl GR, Griesel A.  2015.  A multi-wavenumber theory for eddy diffusivities and its application to the southeast Pacific (DIMES) region. Journal of Physical Oceanography. : American Meteorological Society   10.1175/JPO-D-14-0229.1   Abstract

AbstractA multi-wavenumber theory is formulated to represent eddy diffusivities. It expands on earlier single-wavenumber theories and includes the wide range of wavenumbers encompassed in eddy motions. In the limiting case in which ocean eddies are only composed of a single wavenumber, the multi-wavenumber theory is equivalent to the single wavenumber theory, and both show mixing suppression by the eddy propagation relative to the mean flow. The multi-wavenumber theory was tested in a region of the Southern Ocean (70°S ? 45°S, 110°W ? 20°W) that covers the Drake Passage and includes the tracer/float release locations during the Diapycnal and Isopycnal Mixing Experiment in the Southern Ocean (DIMES). Cross-stream eddy diffusivities and mixing lengths were estimated in this region from the single-wavenumber theory, from the multi-wavenumber theory, and from floats deployed in a global 1/10° Parallel Ocean Program (POP) simulation. Compared to the single-wavenumber theory, the horizontal structures of cross-stream mixing lengths from the multi-wavenumber theory agree better with the simulated float-based estimates at almost all depth levels. The multi-wavenumber theory better represents the vertical structure of cross-stream mixing lengths both inside and outside the Antarctica Circumpolar Current (ACC). Both the single-wavenumber and multi-wavenumber theories represent the horizontal structures of cross-stream diffusivities, which resemble the eddy kinetic energy patterns.

Carranza, MM, Gille ST.  2015.  Southern Ocean wind-driven entrainment enhances satellite chlorophyll-a through the summer. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 120:304-323.   10.1002/2014jc010203   AbstractWebsite

Despite being the largest High Nitrate Low Chlorophyll (HNLC) region, the Southern Ocean sustains phytoplankton blooms through the summer, when presumably there is sufficient light, but nutrients in the euphotic zone have been depleted. Physical processes that can potentially supply nutrients from subsurface waters to the euphotic zone, and promote phytoplankton growth in the summer, have not been fully explored at the large scale. By means of a correlation analysis, this study combines high-resolution satellite observations of ocean color, winds and sea surface temperature, surface heat fluxes from reanalysis and Argo mixed-layer depth (MLD) estimates to explore the role of the atmospheric forcing (i.e., winds and surface heat fluxes) on upper ocean processes that may help sustain high satellite chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) through the summer. Two physical processes that can supply nutrients to the euphotic zone are: MLD deepening, caused by wind-mixing and/or surface cooling, and Ekman pumping driven by the wind stress curl. We find that high winds correlate with high Chl-a over broad open ocean areas, suggesting that transient MLD deepening through wind-mixing (i.e., wind-driven entrainment) helps sustain high Chl-a. Wind-driven entrainment plays a dominant role on time scales associated with atmospheric synoptic storms (i.e., <10 days) and has a larger influence on surface Chl-a than storm scale local Ekman pumping. Based on our analysis of statistically significant correlation patterns, we identify regions in the Southern Ocean where wind-induced entrainment may play a role in sustaining summer phytoplankton blooms.

Mazloff, MR, Gille ST, Cornuelle B.  2014.  Improving the geoid: Combining altimetry and mean dynamic topography in the California coastal ocean. Geophysical Research Letters. 41:8944-8952.   10.1002/2014gl062402   AbstractWebsite

Satellite gravity mapping missions, altimeters, and other platforms have allowed the Earth's geoid to be mapped over the ocean to a horizontal resolution of approximately 100km with an uncertainty of less than 10cm. At finer resolution this uncertainty increases to greater than 10cm. Achieving greater accuracy requires accurate estimates of the dynamic ocean topography (DOT). In this study two DOT estimates for the California Current System with uncertainties less than 10cm are used to solve for a geoid correction field. The derived field increases the consistency between the DOTs and along-track altimetric observations, suggesting it is a useful correction to the gravitational field. The correction is large compared to the dynamic ocean topography, with a magnitude of 15cm and significant structure, especially near the coast. The results are evidence that modern high-resolution dynamic ocean topography products can be used to improve estimates of the geoid.

Gille, ST, Carranza MM, Cambra R, Morrow R.  2014.  Wind-induced upwelling in the Kerguelen Plateau region. Biogeosciences. 11:6389-6400.   10.5194/bg-11-6389-2014   AbstractWebsite

In contrast to most of the Southern Ocean, the Kerguelen Plateau supports an unusually strong spring chlorophyll (Chl a) bloom, likely because the euphotic zone in the region is supplied with higher iron concentrations. This study uses satellite wind, sea surface temperature (SST), and ocean color data to explore the impact of wind-driven processes on upwelling of cold (presumably iron-rich) water to the euphotic zone. Results show that, in the Kerguelen region, cold SSTs correlate with high wind speeds, implying that wind-mixing leads to enhanced vertical mixing. Cold SSTs also correlate with negative wind-stress curl, implying that Ekman pumping can further enhance upwelling. In the moderate to high eddy kinetic energy (EKE) regions surrounding Kerguelen, we find evidence of coupling between winds and SST gradients associated with mesoscale eddies, which can locally modulate the wind-stress curl. This coupling introduces persistent wind-stress curl patterns and Ekman pumping around these long-lived eddies, which may modulate the evolution of Chl a in the downstream plume far offshore. Close to the plateau, this eddy coupling breaks down. Kerguelen has a significant wind shadow on its downwind side, which changes position depending on the prevailing wind and which generates a wind-stress curl dipole that shifts location depending on wind direction. This leads to locally enhanced Ekman pumping for a few hundred kilometers downstream from the Kerguelen Plateau; Chl a values tend to be more elevated in places where wind-stress curl induces Ekman upwelling than in locations of downwelling, although the estimated upwelling rates are too small for this relationship to derive from direct effects on upward iron supply, and thus other processes, which remain to be determined, must also be involved in the establishment of these correlations. During the October and November (2011) KErguelen Ocean and Plateau compared Study (KEOPS-2) field program, wind conditions were fairly typical for the region, with enhanced Ekman upwelling expected to the north of the Kerguelen Islands.

Gille, ST, Smith SGL.  2014.  When land breezes collide: Converging diurnal winds over small bodies of water. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 140:2573-2581.   10.1002/qj.2322   AbstractWebsite

Over enclosed and semi-enclosed bodies of water, the land-breeze/sea-breeze circulation is expected to be modified by the presence of opposing coastlines. These effects are studied using satellite scatterometer surface wind observations from the QuikSCAT and ADEOS-2 tandem mission from April-October 2003. Winds are studied for six bodies of water: the Red Sea, the Gulf of California, the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. These bodies of water are large enough for the geographic orientation of the diurnal winds relative to the coastline to match the expected orientation for a straight coastline. Land breezes from opposite coastlines converge in the middle of these bodies of water, and in some cases the convergence line is shifted substantially away from the midpoint between opposite coastlines. Displacements in the convergence line appear likely to be explained by differences in the strength of the diurnal winds emanating from opposite coastlines associated with differential heating or island/peninsula effects, and by geographic displacements associated with large-scale mean wind patterns.