Schneider Niklas

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  • Article
    Coupled ocean–atmosphere offshore decay scale of cold SST signals along upwelling eastern boundaries
    (American Meteorological Society, 2016-11-03) Spall, Michael A. ; Schneider, Niklas
    A simple analytic model is developed to represent the offshore decay of cold sea surface temperature (SST) signals that originate from wind-driven upwelling at a coastal boundary. The model couples an oceanic mixed layer to an atmospheric boundary layer through wind stress and air–sea heat exchange. The primary mechanism that controls SST is a balance between Ekman advection and air–sea exchange. The offshore penetration of the cold SST signal decays exponentially with a length scale that is the product of the ocean Ekman velocity and a time scale derived from the air–sea heat flux and the radiative balance in the atmospheric boundary layer. This cold SST signal imprints on the atmosphere in terms of both the boundary layer temperature and surface wind. Nonlinearities due to the feedback between SST and atmospheric wind, baroclinic instability, and thermal wind in the atmospheric boundary layer all slightly modify this linear theory. The decay scales diagnosed from two-dimensional and three-dimensional eddy-resolving numerical ocean models are in close agreement with the theory, demonstrating that the basic physics represented by the theory remain dominant even in these more complete systems. Analysis of climatological SST off the west coast of the United States also shows a decay of the cold SST anomaly with scale roughly in agreement with the theory.
  • Article
    Understanding ENSO diversity
    (American Meteorological Society, 2015-06) Capotondi, Antonietta ; Wittenberg, Andrew T. ; Newman, Matthew ; Di Lorenzo, Emanuele ; Yu, Jin-Yi ; Braconnot, Pascale ; Cole, Julia ; Dewitte, Boris ; Giese, Benjamin ; Guilyardi, Eric ; Jin, Fei-Fei ; Karnauskas, Kristopher B. ; Kirtman, Benjamin ; Lee, Tong ; Schneider, Niklas ; Xue, Yan ; Yeh, Sang-Wook
    El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a naturally occurring mode of tropical Pacific variability, with global impacts on society and natural ecosystems. While it has long been known that El Niño events display a diverse range of amplitudes, triggers, spatial patterns, and life cycles, the realization that ENSO’s impacts can be highly sensitive to this event-to-event diversity is driving a renewed interest in the subject. This paper surveys our current state of knowledge of ENSO diversity, identifies key gaps in understanding, and outlines some promising future research directions.
  • Article
    Ocean mesoscale and frontal-scale ocean–atmosphere interactions and influence on large-scale climate: a review
    (American Meteorological Society, 2023-03-01) Seo, Hyodae ; O’Neill, Larry W. ; Bourassa, Mark A. ; Czaja, Arnaud ; Drushka, Kyla ; Edson, James B. ; Fox-Kemper, Baylor ; Frenger, Ivy ; Gille, Sarah T. ; Kirtman, Benjamin P. ; Minobe, Shoshiro ; Pendergrass, Angeline G. ; Renault, Lionel ; Roberts, Malcolm J. ; Schneider, Niklas ; Small, R. Justin ; Stoffelen, Ad ; Wang, Qing
    Abstract Two decades of high-resolution satellite observations and climate modeling studies have indicated strong ocean–atmosphere coupled feedback mediated by ocean mesoscale processes, including semipermanent and meandrous SST fronts, mesoscale eddies, and filaments. The air–sea exchanges in latent heat, sensible heat, momentum, and carbon dioxide associated with this so-called mesoscale air–sea interaction are robust near the major western boundary currents, Southern Ocean fronts, and equatorial and coastal upwelling zones, but they are also ubiquitous over the global oceans wherever ocean mesoscale processes are active. Current theories, informed by rapidly advancing observational and modeling capabilities, have established the importance of mesoscale and frontal-scale air–sea interaction processes for understanding large-scale ocean circulation, biogeochemistry, and weather and climate variability. However, numerous challenges remain to accurately diagnose, observe, and simulate mesoscale air–sea interaction to quantify its impacts on large-scale processes. This article provides a comprehensive review of key aspects pertinent to mesoscale air–sea interaction, synthesizes current understanding with remaining gaps and uncertainties, and provides recommendations on theoretical, observational, and modeling strategies for future air–sea interaction research. Significance Statement Recent high-resolution satellite observations and climate models have shown a significant impact of coupled ocean–atmosphere interactions mediated by small-scale (mesoscale) ocean processes, including ocean eddies and fronts, on Earth’s climate. Ocean mesoscale-induced spatial temperature and current variability modulate the air–sea exchanges in heat, momentum, and mass (e.g., gases such as water vapor and carbon dioxide), altering coupled boundary layer processes. Studies suggest that skillful simulations and predictions of ocean circulation, biogeochemistry, and weather events and climate variability depend on accurate representation of the eddy-mediated air–sea interaction. However, numerous challenges remain in accurately diagnosing, observing, and simulating mesoscale air–sea interaction to quantify its large-scale impacts. This article synthesizes the latest understanding of mesoscale air–sea interaction, identifies remaining gaps and uncertainties, and provides recommendations on strategies for future ocean–weather–climate research.