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Creators/Authors contains: "Gordon, Arnold L."

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  1. Abstract

    High Salinity Shelf Water (HSSW) formed in the Ross Sea of Antarctica is a precursor to Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW), a water mass that constitutes the bottom limb of the global overturning circulation. HSSW production rates are poorly constrained, as in-situ observations are scarce. Here, we present high-vertical-and-temporal-resolution salinity time series collected in austral winter 2017 from a mooring in Terra Nova Bay (TNB), one of two major sites of HSSW production in the Ross Sea. We calculate an annual-average HSSW production rate of ~0.4Sv(106m3s−1), which we use to ground truth additional estimates across 2012–2021 made from parametrized net surface heat fluxes. We find sub-seasonal and interannual variability on the order of$$0.1$$0.1$${Sv}$$Sv, with a strong dependence on variability in open-water area that suggests a sensitivity of TNB HSSW production rates to changes in the local wind regime and offshore sea ice pack.

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  2. Abstract

    In this memoir I trace the trajectory from childhood to a career in physical oceanography. The trajectory was not based on a well thought out plan, but I had a sense of my interest in the ocean and atmosphere. One is faced with many career opportunities in life, choosing the best for you depends on your interest and talents. The better you understand them, the better you recognize “opportunity,” but be flexible, opportunity is never likely to be a perfect fit (it might actually be better fit to your “passion”). My research quest, as an observationalist, is to develop a clearer, conceptual, picture of ocean, how it “works,” with a tilt toward its role in the climate system. I have worked in the cold southern polar regions to the hot tropics, and in‐between; from the top to the bottom of the water column. Here I discuss a few discoveries that led to new insight into interocean exchange and deep ocean ventilation, which are now widely explored: Southern ocean: two modes of convection, along the margins of Antarctica and in the open ocean of the Weddell Sea; Agulhas Leakage: Indian Ocean invades the Atlantic, essential to the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation; The Indonesian Throughflow: tropical Pacific water spreads into Indian Ocean, part of the global interocean thermocline exchange.

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  3. This study investigates the variability of water mass transformation (WMT) within the Weddell Gyre (WG). The WG serves as a pivotal site for the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) and ocean ventilation because it is the primary origin of the largest volume of water mass in the global ocean, Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW). Recent mooring data suggest substantial seasonal and interannual variability of AABW properties exiting the WG, and studies have linked the variability to the large-scale climate forcings affecting wind stress in the WG region. However, the specific thermodynamic mechanisms that link variability in surface forcings to variability in water mass transformations and AABW export remain unclear. This study explores WMT variability via WMT volume budgets derived from Walin’s classic WMT framework, using three state-of-the-art, data-assimilating ocean reanalyses: Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean state estimate (ECCOv4), Southern Ocean State Estimate (SOSE) and Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA). From the model outputs, we diagnose a closed form of the water mass budget for AABW that explicitly accounts for transport across the WG boundary, surface forcing, interior mixing, and numerical mixing. We examine the annual mean climatology of the WMT budget terms, the seasonal climatology, and finally the interannual variability. In ECCO and SOSE, we see strong interannual variability in AABW volume budget. In SOSE, we find an accelerating loss of AABW, driven largely by interior mixing and changes in surface salt fluxes. ECCO shows a similar trend during a 3-yr time period beyond what is covered in SOSE, but also reveals such trends to be part of interannual variability over a much longer time period. Overall, ECCO provides the most useful timeseries for understanding the processes and mechanisms that drive WMT and export variability. SODA, in contrast, displays unphysically large variability in AABW volume, which we attribute to its data assimilation scheme. We examine correlations between the WMT budgets and large-scale climate indices, including ENSO and SAM; no strong relationships emerge, suggesting that these reanalysis products may not reproduce the AABW export pathways and mechanisms hypothesized from observations. 
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  4. Abstract

    Global mean sea level (GMSL) during intermediate interglacial Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3) (60–26 ka) has proven difficult to constrain. Paleo‐sea level estimates based on ice margin, modeling, and paleo‐shoreline reconstructions indicate that MIS 3 GMSL was substantially higher than reconstructed from deep‐ocean benthic foraminifera oxygen isotope (δ18O) and coral records, implying much smaller ice sheets during MIS 3. Here, we use the δ18O and Mg/Ca chemistry of surface and thermocline dwelling foraminifera in the Sulu Sea in the western Pacific margin to estimate relative changes of the influx of South China Sea surface flow through the Sulu Sea over the last 140 ka. We show that this South China Sea throughflow is controlled in part by changes in GMSL modulating the depth of the 36 m deep Karimata Strait at the southern end of the South China Sea. We constrain maximum allowable GMSL at the beginning and end of MIS 3 to −22 ± 6 and −29 ± 5 m, respectively, and minimum allowable GMSL during interglacial stages MIS 5c and 5a (117–72 ka) to range from −3 ± 8 to −8 ± 8 m and −11 ± 7 to −12 ± 7 m, respectively. Our results constrain MIS 3 GMSL, but do not rule out higher MIS 3 ice margin, modeling, and paleo‐shoreline‐based MIS 3 GMSL estimates or lower coral and seawater δ18O‐based estimates. Our results favor the highest MIS 5a and 5c GMSL estimates and confirm that the Sunda Shelf served as a land‐bridge for human and megafauna migration during MIS 3 when humans first arrived in Borneo.

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  5. Abstract

    The Maritime Continent (MC) is a low-latitude chokepoint of the world oceans with the Indonesian throughflow (ITF) linking the Indo-Pacific oceans, influencing global ocean circulation, climate, and biogeochemistry. While previous studies suggested that South-China-Sea freshwaters north of the MC intruding the Indonesian Seas weaken the ITF during boreal winter, the impact of the MC water cycle on the ITF has not been investigated. Here we use ocean-atmosphere-land satellite observations to reveal the dominant contribution of the MC monsoonal water cycle to boreal winter−spring freshening in the Java Sea through local precipitation and runoff from Kalimantan, Indonesia. We further demonstrate that the freshening corresponds to a reduced southward pressure gradient that would weaken the ITF. Therefore, the MC water cycle plays a critical role regulating ITF seasonality. The findings have strong implications to longer-term variations of the ITF associated with the variability and change of Indo-Pacific climate and MC water cycle.

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