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Academic Commons Search Resultsen-usShear dispersion in the thermocline and the saline intrusion
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:151679
Ou, Hsien Wang; Guan, Xiaorui; Chen, Dakehttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:14395Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 +0000Over the mid-Atlantic shelf of the North America, there is a pronounced shoreward intrusion of the saltier slope water along the seasonal thermocline, whose genesis remains unexplained. Taking note of the observed broad-band baroclinic motion, we postulate that it may propel the saline intrusion via the shear dispersion. Through an analytical model, we first examine the shear-induced isopycnal diffusivity ("shear diffusivity" for short) associated with the monochromatic forcing, which underscores its varied even anti-diffusive short-term behavior and the ineffectiveness of the internal tides in driving the shear dispersion. We then derive the spectral representation of the long-term "canonical" shear diffusivity, which is found to be the baroclinic power band-passed by a diffusivity window in the log-frequency space. Since the baroclinic power spectrum typically plateaus in the low-frequency band spanned by the diffusivity window, canonical shear diffusivity is simply 1/8 of this low-frequency plateau — independent of the uncertain diapycnal diffusivity. Applied to the mid-Atlantic shelf, this canonical shear diffusivity is about 20 m2 s−1, which is sufficient to account for the observed tracer dispersion or saline intrusion in the thermocline.Physical oceanographyhwo1Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Earth and Environmental SciencesArticlesA minimal model of the Atlantic Multidecadal Variability: its genesis and predictability
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:151685
Ou, Hsien Wanghttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:14397Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 +0000Through a box model of the subpolar North Atlantic, we examine the genesis and predictability of the Atlantic Multidecadal Variability (AMV), posited as a linear perturbation sustained by the stochastic atmosphere. Postulating a density-dependent thermohaline circulation (THC), the latter would strongly differentiate the thermal and saline damping, and facilitate a negative feedback between the two fields. This negative feedback preferentially suppresses the low-frequency thermal variance to render a broad multidecadal peak bounded by the thermal and saline damping time. We offer this "differential variance suppression" as an alternative paradigm of the AMV in place of the "damped oscillation"—the latter generally not allowed by the deterministic dynamics and in any event bears no relation to the thermal peak. With the validated dynamics, we then assess the AMV predictability based on the relative entropy—a difference of the forecast and climatological probability distributions, which decays through both error growth and dynamical damping. Since the stochastic forcing is mainly in the surface heat flux, the thermal noise grows rapidly and together with its climatological variance limited by the THC-aided thermal damping, they strongly curtail the thermal predictability. The latter may be prolonged if the initial thermal and saline anomalies are of the same sign, but even rare events of less than 1% chance of occurrence yield a predictable time that is well short of a decade; we contend therefore that the AMV is in effect unpredictable.Physical oceanographyhwo1Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Earth and Environmental SciencesArticlesA box model of the Arctic natural variability
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:151682
Ou, Hsien Wanghttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:14396Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 +0000We consider a box model of the Arctic system to examine its natural variability pertaining to the decadal Arctic Oscillation (AO) and the multidecadal Low-Frequency Oscillation (LFO). We distinguish the hierarchical order of the winter over the summer open-areas with only the former perturbing the sea-level pressure to effect coupled balances. From such balances, we discern two feedback loops on the winter open-area: a positive ice-flux feedback that elevates its overall variance and a negative buoyancy feedback that suppresses its low-frequency variance to render a decadal AO peak when subjected to white atmospheric noise. This negative buoyancy feedback may also reproduce observed phasing among LFO signals forced by the AMV (Atlantic Multidecadal Variability), thus resolving some outstanding questions. For the summer open-area, its variance is induced mainly by the winter forcings and insensitive to the base state. Its decadal signal merely reflects the preconditioning winter open-area, but its LFO variance is induced additionally and in comparable measure by the winter SAT (surface air temperature) through the latter’s effect on the melt duration and the first-year ice thickness. As such, the summer open-area signal is dominantly multidecadal, which moreover is several times its winter counterpart, consistent with the observed disparity. Although the model is extremely crude, its explicit solution allows quantitative comparison with observations and the generally positive outcome suggests that the model has isolated the essential physics of the Arctic natural variability of our concern.Physical oceanographyhwo1Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Earth and Environmental SciencesArticles