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Creators/Authors contains: "Gille, Sarah T."

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  1. Abstract

    The core Argo array has operated with the design goal of uniform spatial distribution of 3° in latitude and longitude. Recent studies have acknowledged that spatial and temporal scales of variability in some parts of the ocean are not resolved by 3° sampling and have recommended increased core Argo density in the equatorial region, boundary currents, and marginal seas with an integrated vision of other Argo variants. Biogeochemical (BGC) Argo floats currently observe the ocean from a collection of pilot arrays, but recently funded proposals will transition these pilot arrays to a global array. The current BGC Argo implementation plan recommends uniform spatial distribution of BGC Argo floats. For the first time, we estimate the effectiveness of the existing BGC Argo array to resolve the anomaly from the mean using a subset of modeled, full-depth BGC fields. We also study the effectiveness of uniformly distributed BGC Argo arrays with varying float densities at observing the ocean. Then, using previous Argo trajectories, we estimate the Argo array’s future distribution and quantify how well it observes the ocean. Finally, using a novel technique for sequentially identifying the best deployment locations, we suggest the optimal array distribution for BGC Argo floats to minimize objective mapping uncertainty in a subset of BGC fields and to best constrain BGC temporal variability.

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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  3. Abstract Atmospheric rivers (ARs) result in precipitation over land and ocean. Rainfall on the ocean can generate a buoyant layer of freshwater that impacts exchanges between the surface and the mixed layer. These “fresh lenses” are important for weather and climate because they may impact the ocean stratification at all time scales. Here we use in situ ocean data, collocated with AR events, and a one-dimensional configuration of a general circulation model, to investigate the impact of AR precipitation on surface ocean salinity in the California Current System (CCS) on seasonal and event-based time scales. We find that at coastal and onshore locations the CCS freshens through the rainy season due to AR events, and years with higher AR activity are associated with a stronger freshening signal. On shorter time scales, model simulations suggest that events characteristic of CCS ARs can produce salinity changes that are detectable by ocean instruments (≥0.01 psu). Here, the surface salinity change depends linearly on rain rate and inversely on wind speed. Higher wind speeds ( U > 8 m s −1 ) induce mixing, distributing freshwater inputs to depths greater than 20 m. Lower wind speeds ( U ≤ 8 m s −1 ) allow freshwater lenses to remain at the surface. Results suggest that local precipitation is important in setting the freshwater seasonal cycle of the CCS and that the formation of freshwater lenses should be considered for identifying impacts of atmospheric variability on the upper ocean in the CCS on weather event time scales. Significance Statement Atmospheric rivers produce large amounts of rainfall. The purpose of this study is to understand how this rain impacts the surface ocean in the California Current System on seasonal and event time scales. Our results show that a greater precipitation over the rainy season leads to a larger decrease in salinity over time. On shorter time scales, these atmospheric river precipitation events commonly produce a surface salinity response that is detectable by ocean instruments. This salinity response depends on the amount of rainfall and the wind speed. In general, higher wind speeds will cause the freshwater input from rain to mix deeper, while lower wind speeds will have reduced mixing, allowing a layer of freshwater to persist at the surface. 
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  4. Abstract

    The Argo array provides nearly 4000 temperature and salinity profiles of the top 2000 m of the ocean every 10 days. Still, Argo floats will never be able to measure the ocean at all times, everywhere. Optimized Argo float distributions should match the spatial and temporal variability of the many societally important ocean features that they observe. Determining these distributions is challenging because float advection is difficult to predict. Using no external models, transition matrices based on existing Argo trajectories provide statistical inferences about Argo float motion. We use the 24 years of Argo locations to construct an optimal transition matrix that minimizes estimation bias and uncertainty. The optimal array is determined to have a 2° × 2° spatial resolution with a 90-day time step. We then use the transition matrix to predict the probability of future float locations of the core Argo array, the Global Biogeochemical Array, and the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) array. A comparison of transition matrices derived from floats using Argos system and Iridium communication methods shows the impact of surface displacements, which is most apparent near the equator. Additionally, we demonstrate the utility of transition matrices for validating models by comparing the matrix derived from Argo floats with that derived from a particle release experiment in the Southern Ocean State Estimate (SOSE).

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  5. Abstract

    We analyze 15‐year of observational data and a 5‐year Southern Ocean model simulation to quantify the transformation rates of Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) and the associated heat loss to the surface. This study finds that over the continental shelves of East Antarctica and the Weddell and Ross Seas, surface buoyancy fluxes transform ∼4.4 Sv of surface waters into CDW, providing a path for CDW to lose heat to the surface. In addition, ∼6.6 Sv of CDW are mixed with surface waters in the Weddell and Ross subpolar gyres. In contrast, enhanced stratification inhibits the outcropping of CDW isopycnals, reducing their transformation rates by a factor of ∼8 over the continental shelf and by a factor of ∼3 over the deeper ocean in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas. The CDW retains its offshore warm properties as it intrudes over the continental shelves, resulting in elevated bottom temperatures there. This analysis demonstrates the importance of processes in subpolar gyres to erode CDW and to facilitate further transformation on the continental shelves, significantly reducing the heat able to access ice shelf fronts. This sheltering effect is strongest in the western Weddell Sea and tends to diminish toward the east, which helps explain the large zonal differences in continental‐shelf bottom temperatures and the melt rates of Antarctic ice shelves.

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  6. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Southern Ocean (SO) surface winds are essential for ventilating the upper ocean by bringing heat and CO 2 to the ocean interior. The relationships between mixed-layer ventilation, the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), and the storm tracks remain unclear because processes can be governed by short-term wind events as well as long-term means. In this study, observed time-varying 5-day probability density functions (PDFs) of ERA5 surface winds and stresses over the SO are used in a singular value decomposition to derive a linearly independent set of empirical basis functions. The first modes of wind (72% of the total wind variance) and stress (74% of the total stress variance) are highly correlated with a standard SAM index ( r = 0.82) and reflect SAM’s role in driving cyclone intensity and, in turn, extreme westerly winds. This Joint PDFs of zonal and meridional wind show that southerly and less westerly winds associated with strong mixed-layer ventilation are more frequent during short and distinct negative SAM phases. The probability of these short-term events might be related to mid-latitude atmospheric circulation. The second mode describes seasonal changes in the wind variance (16% of the total variance) that are uncorrelated with the first mode. The analysis produces similar results when repeated using 5-day PDFs from a suite of scatterometer products. Differences between wind product PDFs resemble the first mode of the PDFs. Together, these results show a strong correlation between surface stress PDFs and the leading modes of atmospheric variability, suggesting that empirical modes can serve as a novel pathway for understanding differences and variability of surface stress PDFs. 
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  7. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Observations show that since the 1950s, the Southern Ocean has stored a large amount of anthropogenic heat and has freshened at the surface. These patterns can be attributed to two components of surface forcing: poleward-intensified westerly winds and increased buoyancy flux from freshwater and heat. Here we separate the effects of these two forcing components by using a novel partial-coupling technique. We show that buoyancy forcing dominates the overall response in the temperature and salinity structure of the Southern Ocean. Wind stress change results in changes in subsurface temperature and salinity that are closely related to intensified residual meridional overturning circulation. As an important result, we show that buoyancy and wind forcing result in opposing changes in salinity: the wind-induced surface salinity increase due to upwelling of saltier subsurface water offsets surface freshening due to amplification of the global hydrological cycle. Buoyancy and wind forcing further lead to different vertical structures of Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) transport change; buoyancy forcing causes an ACC transport increase (3.1 ± 1.6 Sv; 1 Sv ≡ 10 6 m 3 s −1 ) by increasing the meridional density gradient across the ACC in the upper 2000 m, while the wind-induced response is more barotropic, with the whole column transport increased by 8.7 ± 2.3 Sv. While previous research focused on the wind effect on ACC intensity, we show that surface horizontal current acceleration within the ACC is dominated by buoyancy forcing. These results shed light on how the Southern Ocean might change under global warming, contributing to more reliable future projections. 
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