Southern ocean carbon and heat impact on climate.
Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences 381:2249 (2023) 20220056
Abstract:The Southern Ocean greatly contributes to the regulation of the global climate by controlling important heat and carbon exchanges between the atmosphere and the ocean. Rates of climate change on decadal timescales are therefore impacted by oceanic processes taking place in the Southern Ocean, yet too little is known about these processes. Limitations come both from the lack of observations in this extreme environment and its inherent sensitivity to intermittent processes at scales that are not well captured in current Earth system models. The Southern Ocean Carbon and Heat Impact on Climate programme was launched to address this knowledge gap, with the overall objective to understand and quantify variability of heat and carbon budgets in the Southern Ocean through an investigation of the key physical processes controlling exchanges between the atmosphere, ocean and sea ice using a combination of observational and modelling approaches. Here, we provide a brief overview of the programme, as well as a summary of some of the scientific progress achieved during its first half. Advances range from new evidence of the importance of specific processes in Southern Ocean ventilation rate (e.g. storm-induced turbulence, sea-ice meltwater fronts, wind-induced gyre circulation, dense shelf water formation and abyssal mixing) to refined descriptions of the physical changes currently ongoing in the Southern Ocean and of their link with global climate. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Heat and carbon uptake in the Southern Ocean: the state of the art and future priorities'.
Significance of diapycnal mixing within the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
AGU Advances Wiley 4:2 (2023) e2022AV000800
Abstract:Diapycnal mixing shapes the distribution of climatically important tracers, such as heat and carbon, as these are carried by dense water masses in the ocean interior. Here, we analyze a suite of observation-based estimates of diapycnal mixing to assess its role within the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). The rate of water mass transformation in the Atlantic Ocean's interior shows that there is a robust buoyancy increase in the North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW, neutral density γn ≃ 27.6–28.15), with a diapycnal circulation of 0.5–8 Sv between 48°N and 32°S in the Atlantic Ocean. Moreover, tracers within the southward-flowing NADW may undergo a substantial diapycnal transfer, equivalent to a vertical displacement of hundreds of meters in the vertical. This result, confirmed with a zonally averaged numerical model of the AMOC, indicates that mixing can alter where tracers upwell in the Southern Ocean, ultimately affecting their global pathways and ventilation timescales. These results point to the need for a realistic mixing representation in climate models in order to understand and credibly project the ongoing climate change.
Full-Depth Eddy Kinetic Energy in the Global Ocean Estimated From Altimeter and Argo Observations
GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS 50:15 (2023) ARTN e2023GL103114
Density staircases generated by symmetric instability in a cross-equatorial deep western boundary current
Fast mechanisms linking the Labrador Sea with subtropical Atlantic overturning
Climate Dynamics Springer 60:9-10 (2022) 2687-2712