Worden John

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  • Article
    Influence of nonseasonal river discharge on sea surface salinity and height
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-01-18) Chandanpurkar, Hrishikesh A. ; Lee, Tong ; Wang, Xiaochun ; Zhang, Hong ; Fournier, Séverine ; Fenty, Ian ; Fukumori, Ichiro ; Menemenlis, Dimitris ; Piecuch, Christopher G. ; Reager, John T. ; Wang, Ou ; Worden, John
    River discharge influences ocean dynamics and biogeochemistry. Due to the lack of a systematic, up-to-date global measurement network for river discharge, global ocean models typically use seasonal discharge climatology as forcing. This compromises the simulated nonseasonal variation (the deviation from seasonal climatology) of the ocean near river plumes and undermines their usefulness for interdisciplinary research. Recently, a reanalysis-based daily varying global discharge data set was developed, providing the first opportunity to quantify nonseasonal discharge effects on global ocean models. Here we use this data set to force a global ocean model for the 1992–2017 period. We contrast this experiment with another experiment (with identical atmospheric forcings) forced by seasonal climatology from the same discharge data set to isolate nonseasonal discharge effects, focusing on sea surface salinity (SSS) and sea surface height (SSH). Near major river mouths, nonseasonal discharge causes standard deviations in SSS (SSH) of 1.3–3 practical salinity unit (1–2.7 cm). The inclusion of nonseasonal discharge results in notable improvement of model SSS against satellite SSS near most of the tropical-to-midlatitude river mouths and minor improvement of model SSH against satellite or in-situ SSH near some of the river mouths. SSH changes associated with nonseasonal discharge can be explained by salinity effects on halosteric height and estimated accurately through the associated SSS changes. A recent theory predicting river discharge impact on SSH is found to perform reasonably well overall but underestimates the impact on SSH around the global ocean and has limited skill when applied to rivers near the equator and in the Arctic Ocean.