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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  2. Abstract Antarctic glacial meltwater is thought to play an important role in determining large-scale Southern Ocean climate trends, yet recent modeling efforts have proceeded without a good understanding of how its vertical distribution in the water column is set. To rectify this, here we conduct new large-eddy simulations of the ascent of a buoyant meltwater plume after its escape from beneath an Antarctic ice shelf. We find that the meltwater’s settling depth is primarily a function of the buoyancy forcing per unit width of the source and the ambient stratification, consistent with the classical theory of turbulent buoyant plumes and in contrast to previous work that suggested an important role for centrifugal instability. Our results further highlight the significant role played by localized variability in stratification; this helps explain observed interannual variability in the vertical meltwater distribution near Pine Island Glacier. Because of the vast heterogeneity in mass loss rates and ambient conditions at different Antarctic ice shelves, a dynamic parameterization of meltwater settling depth may be crucial for accurately simulating high-latitude climate in a warming world; we discuss how this may be developed following this work, and where the remaining challenges lie.
  3. The ocean is a reservoir for CFC-11, a major ozone-depleting chemical. Anthropogenic production of CFC-11 dramatically decreased in the 1990s under the Montreal Protocol, which stipulated a global phase out of production by 2010. However, studies raise questions about current overall emission levels and indicate unexpected increases of CFC-11 emissions of about 10 Gg ⋅ yr −1 after 2013 (based upon measured atmospheric concentrations and an assumed atmospheric lifetime). These findings heighten the need to understand processes that could affect the CFC-11 lifetime, including ocean fluxes. We evaluate how ocean uptake and release through 2300 affects CFC-11 lifetimes, emission estimates, and the long-term return of CFC-11 from the ocean reservoir. We show that ocean uptake yields a shorter total lifetime and larger inferred emission of atmospheric CFC-11 from 1930 to 2075 compared to estimates using only atmospheric processes. Ocean flux changes over time result in small but not completely negligible effects on the calculated unexpected emissions change (decreasing it by 0.4 ± 0.3 Gg ⋅ yr −1 ). Moreover, it is expected that the ocean will eventually become a source of CFC-11, increasing its total lifetime thereafter. Ocean outgassing should produce detectable increases in global atmospheric CFC-11 abundances by themore »mid-2100s, with emission of around 0.5 Gg ⋅ yr −1 ; this should not be confused with illicit production at that time. An illustrative model projection suggests that climate change is expected to make the ocean a weaker reservoir for CFC-11, advancing the detectable change in the global atmospheric mixing ratio by about 5 yr.« less
  4. Abstract Drought frequency and intensity are projected to increase throughout the southeastern USA, the natural range of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.), and are expected to have major ecological and economic implications. We analyzed the carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions in tree ring cellulose of loblolly pine in a factorial drought (~30% throughfall reduction) and fertilization experiment, supplemented with trunk sap flow, allometry and microclimate data. We then simulated leaf temperature and applied a multi-dimensional sensitivity analysis to interpret the changes in the oxygen isotope data. This analysis found that the observed changes in tree ring cellulose could only be accounted for by inferring a change in the isotopic composition of the source water, indicating that the drought treatment increased the uptake of stored moisture from earlier precipitation events. The drought treatment also increased intrinsic water-use efficiency, but had no effect on growth, indicating that photosynthesis remained relatively unaffected despite 19% decrease in canopy conductance. In contrast, fertilization increased growth, but had no effect on the isotopic composition of tree ring cellulose, indicating that the fertilizer gains in biomass were attributable to greater leaf area and not to changes in leaf-level gas exchange. The multi-dimensional sensitivity analysis explored model behaviormore »under different scenarios, highlighting the importance of explicit consideration of leaf temperature in the oxygen isotope discrimination (Δ18Oc) simulation and is expected to expand the inference space of the Δ18Oc models for plant ecophysiological studies.« less
  5. A coordinated set of Arctic modeling experiments is proposed which explore how the Arctic responds to changes in external forcing. Our goal is to compute and compare 'Climate Response Functions' (CRFs) – the transient response of key observable indicators such as sea-ice extent, freshwater content of the Beaufort Gyre etc. – to abrupt 'step' changes in forcing fields across a number of Arctic models. Changes in wind, freshwater sources and inflows to the Arctic basin are considered. Convolutions of known or postulated time-series of these forcing fields with their respective CRFs then yields the (linear) response of these observables. This allows the project to inform, and interface directly with, Arctic observations and observers and IPCC models and the climate change community. Here we outline the rationale behind such experiments and illustrate our approach in the context of a coarse-resolution model of the Arctic based on the MITgcm. We conclude by outlining the expected benefits of such an activity and encourage other modeling groups to compute CRFs with their own models so that we might begin to document how robust they are to model formulation, resolution and parameterization.
  6. Abstract. A coordinated set of Arctic modelling experiments, which explore how the Arctic responds to changes in external forcing, is proposed. Our goal is to compute and compare climate response functions (CRFs) – the transient response of key observable indicators such as sea-ice extent, freshwater content of the Beaufort Gyre, etc. – to abrupt step changes in forcing fields across a number of Arctic models. Changes in wind, freshwater sources, and inflows to the Arctic basin are considered. Convolutions of known or postulated time series of these forcing fields with their respective CRFs then yield the (linear) response of these observables. This allows the project to inform, and interface directly with, Arctic observations and observers and the climate change community. Here we outline the rationale behind such experiments and illustrate our approach in the context of a coarse-resolution model of the Arctic based on the MITgcm. We conclude by summarizing the expected benefits of such an activity and encourage other modelling groups to compute CRFs with their own models so that we might begin to document their robustness to model formulation, resolution, and parameterization.