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  1. Abstract

    Based on velocity data from a long‐term moored observatory located at 0°N, 23°W we present evidence of a vertical asymmetry during the intraseasonal maxima of northward and southward upper‐ocean flow in the equatorial Atlantic Ocean. Periods of northward flow are characterized by a meridional velocity maximum close to the surface, while southward phases show a subsurface velocity maximum at about 40 m. We show that the observed asymmetry is caused by the local winds. Southerly wind stress at the equator drives northward flow near the surface and southward flow below that is superimposed on the Tropical Instability Wave (TIW) velocity field. This wind‐driven overturning cell, known as the Equatorial Roll, shows a distinct seasonal cycle linked to the seasonality of the meridional component of the south‐easterly trade winds. The superposition of vertical shear of the Equatorial Roll and TIWs causes asymmetric mixing during northward and southward TIW phases.

     
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  2. Abstract Uncertainties in ocean-mixing parameterizations are primary sources for ocean and climate modeling biases. Due to lack of process understanding, traditional physics-driven parameterizations perform unsatisfactorily in the tropics. Recent advances in the deep-learning method and the new availability of long-term turbulence measurements provide an opportunity to explore data-driven approaches to parameterizing oceanic vertical-mixing processes. Here, we describe a novel parameterization based on an artificial neural network trained using a decadal-long time record of hydrographic and turbulence observations in the tropical Pacific. This data-driven parameterization achieves higher accuracy than current parameterizations, demonstrating good generalization ability under physical constraints. When integrated into an ocean model, our parameterization facilitates improved simulations in both ocean-only and coupled modeling. As a novel application of machine learning to the geophysical fluid, these results show the feasibility of using limited observations and well-understood physical constraints to construct a physics-informed deep-learning parameterization for improved climate simulations. 
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  3. Abstract Microstructure observations in the Pacific cold tongue reveal that turbulence often penetrates into the thermocline, producing hundreds of watts per square meter of downward heat transport during nighttime and early morning. However, virtually all observations of this deep-cycle turbulence (DCT) are from 0°, 140°W. Here, a hierarchy of ocean process simulations, including submesoscale-permitting regional models and turbulence-permitting large-eddy simulations (LES) embedded in a regional model, provide insight into mixing and DCT at and beyond 0°, 140°W. A regional hindcast quantifies the spatiotemporal variability of subsurface turbulent heat fluxes throughout the cold tongue from 1999 to 2016. Mean subsurface turbulent fluxes are strongest (∼100 W m −2 ) within 2° of the equator, slightly (∼10 W m −2 ) stronger in the northern than Southern Hemisphere throughout the cold tongue, and correlated with surface heat fluxes ( r 2 = 0.7). The seasonal cycle of the subsurface heat flux, which does not covary with the surface heat flux, ranges from 150 W m −2 near the equator to 30 and 10 W m −2 at 4°N and 4°S, respectively. Aseasonal variability of the subsurface heat flux is logarithmically distributed, covaries spatially with the time-mean flux, and is highlighted in 34-day LES of boreal autumn at 0° and 3°N, 140°W. Intense DCT occurs frequently above the undercurrent at 0° and intermittently at 3°N. Daily mean heat fluxes scale with the bulk vertical shear and the wind stress, which together explain ∼90% of the daily variance across both LES. Observational validation of the scaling at 0°, 140°W is encouraging, but observations beyond 0°, 140°W are needed to facilitate refinement of mixing parameterization in ocean models. Significance Statement This work is a fundamental contribution to a broad community effort to improve global long-range weather and climate forecast models used for seasonal to longer-term prediction. Much of the predictability on seasonal time scales is derived from the slow evolution of the upper eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean as it varies between El Niño and La Niña conditions. This study presents state-of-the-art high-resolution regional numerical simulations of ocean turbulence and mixing in the eastern equatorial Pacific. The results inform future planning for field work as well as future efforts to refine the representation of ocean mixing in global forecast models. 
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