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  1. Abstract Coastal polynyas in Antarctica are a window of air-sea energy exchange and an important source of Antarctic Bottom Water production. However, the relationship between the polynya area variation and the surrounding marine environment is yet to be fully understood. Here we quantify the influence of the volume of transiting consolidated ice on the Terra Nova Bay Polynya area with ice thickness data. Changes in transiting consolidated ice volume are shown to dominate the evolution and variation of the polynya during a typical polynya shrinking event that occurred between 19 June to 03 July, 2013, rather than katabatic winds or air temperature, which are commonly assumed to be the main drivers. Over the cold seasons from 2013 to 2020, the Terra Nova Bay Polynya area is highly correlated to the transiting consolidated ice volume. We demonstrate that thick transiting ice limits the polynya area by blocking the newly-formed sea ice from leaving. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. 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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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 16, 2024
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  5. Abstract. In this work, we integrated the WAVEWATCH III model into the regional coupled model SKRIPS (Scripps–KAUST Regional Integrated Prediction System). The WAVEWATCH III model is implemented with flexibility, meaning the coupled system can run with or without the wave component. In our implementations, we considered the effect of Stokes drift, Langmuir turbulence, sea surface roughness, and wave-induced momentum fluxes. To demonstrate the impact of coupling we performed a case study using a series of coupled and uncoupled simulations of Tropical Cyclone Mekunu, which occurred in the Arabian Sea in May 2018. We examined the model skill in these simulations and further investigated the impact of Langmuir turbulence in the coupled system. Because of the chaotic nature of the atmosphere, we ran an ensemble of 20 members for each coupled and uncoupled experiment. We found that the characteristics of the tropical cyclone are not significantly different due to the effect of surface waves when using different parameterizations, but the coupled models better capture the minimum pressure and maximum wind speed compared with the benchmark stand-alone Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Moreover, in the region of the cold wake, when Langmuir turbulence is considered in the coupled system, the sea surface temperature is about 0.5 ∘C colder, and the mixed layer is about 20 m deeper. This indicates the ocean model is sensitive to the parameterization of Langmuir turbulence in the coupled simulations. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. Abstract

    Forecasting Antarctic atmospheric, oceanic, and sea ice conditions on subseasonal to seasonal scales remains a major challenge. During both the freezing and melting seasons current operational ensemble forecasting systems show a systematic overestimation of the Antarctic sea-ice edge location. The skill of sea ice cover prediction is closely related to the accuracy of cloud representation in models, as the two are strongly coupled by cloud radiative forcing. In particular, surface downward longwave radiation (DLW) deficits appear to be a common shortcoming in atmospheric models over the Southern Ocean. For example, a recent comparison of ECMWF reanalysis 5th generation (ERA5) global reanalysis with the observations from McMurdo Station revealed a year-round deficit in DLW of approximately 50 Wm−2in marine air masses due to model shortages in supercooled cloud liquid water. A comparison with the surface DLW radiation observations from the Ocean Observatories Initiative mooring in the South Pacific at 54.08° S, 89.67° W, for the time period January 2016–November 2018, confirms approximately 20 Wm−2deficit in DLW in ERA5 well north of the sea-ice edge. Using a regional ocean model, we show that when DLW is artificially increased by 50 Wm−2in the simulation driven by ERA5 atmospheric forcing, the predicted sea ice growth agrees much better with the observations. A wide variety of sensitivity tests show that the anomalously large, predicted sea-ice extent is not due to limitations in the ocean model and that by implication the cause resides with the atmospheric forcing.

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