Phillips Helen E.
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ArticleMixing variability in the Southern Ocean(American Meteorological Society, 2015-04) Meyer, Amelie ; Sloyan, Bernadette M. ; Polzin, Kurt L. ; Phillips, Helen E. ; Bindoff, Nathaniel L.A key remaining challenge in oceanography is the understanding and parameterization of small-scale mixing. Evidence suggests that topographic features play a significant role in enhancing mixing in the Southern Ocean. This study uses 914 high-resolution hydrographic profiles from novel EM-APEX profiling floats to investigate turbulent mixing north of the Kerguelen Plateau, a major topographic feature in the Southern Ocean. A shear–strain finescale parameterization is applied to estimate diapycnal diffusivity in the upper 1600 m of the ocean. The indirect estimates of mixing match direct microstructure profiler observations made simultaneously. It is found that mixing intensities have strong spatial and temporal variability, ranging from O(10−6) to O(10−3) m2 s−1. This study identifies topographic roughness, current speed, and wind speed as the main factors controlling mixing intensity. Additionally, the authors find strong regional variability in mixing dynamics and enhanced mixing in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current frontal region. This enhanced mixing is attributed to dissipating internal waves generated by the interaction of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and the topography of the Kerguelen Plateau. Extending the mixing observations from the Kerguelen region to the entire Southern Ocean, this study infers a large water mass transformation rate of 17 Sverdrups (Sv; 1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) across the boundary of Antarctic Intermediate Water and Upper Circumpolar Deep Water in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. This work suggests that the contribution of mixing to the Southern Ocean overturning circulation budget is particularly significant in fronts.
ArticleImproving Australian rainfall prediction using sea surface salinity(American Meteorological Society, 2021-03-01) Rathore, Saurabh ; Bindoff, Nathaniel L. ; Ummenhofer, Caroline C. ; Phillips, Helen E. ; Feng, Ming ; Mishra, MayankThis study uses sea surface salinity (SSS) as an additional precursor for improving the prediction of summer [December–February (DJF)] rainfall over northeastern Australia. From a singular value decomposition between SSS of prior seasons and DJF rainfall, we note that SSS of the Indo-Pacific warm pool region [SSSP (150°E–165°W and 10°S–10°N) and SSSI (50°–95°E and 10°S–10°N)] covaries with Australian rainfall, particularly in the northeast region. Composite analysis that is based on high or low SSS events in the SSSP and SSSI regions is performed to understand the physical links between the SSS and the atmospheric moisture originating from the regions of anomalously high or low, respectively, SSS and precipitation over Australia. The composites show the signature of co-occurring La Niña and negative Indian Ocean dipole with anomalously wet conditions over Australia and conversely show the signature of co-occurring El Niño and positive Indian Ocean dipole with anomalously dry conditions there. During the high SSS events of the SSSP and SSSI regions, the convergence of incoming moisture flux results in anomalously wet conditions over Australia with a positive soil moisture anomaly. Conversely, during the low SSS events of the SSSP and SSSI regions, the divergence of incoming moisture flux results in anomalously dry conditions over Australia with a negative soil moisture anomaly. We show from the random-forest regression analysis that the local soil moisture, El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and SSSP are the most important precursors for the northeast Australian rainfall whereas for the Brisbane region ENSO, SSSP, and the Indian Ocean dipole are the most important. The prediction of Australian rainfall using random-forest regression shows an improvement by including SSS from the prior season. This evidence suggests that sustained observations of SSS can improve the monitoring of the Australian regional hydrological cycle.
ArticleNear-surface salinity reveals the oceanic sources of moisture for Australian precipitation through atmospheric moisture transport(American Meteorological Society, 2020-07-01) Rathore, Saurabh ; Bindoff, Nathaniel L. ; Ummenhofer, Caroline C. ; Phillips, Helen E. ; Feng, MingThe long-term trend of sea surface salinity (SSS) reveals an intensification of the global hydrological cycle due to human-induced climate change. This study demonstrates that SSS variability can also be used as a measure of terrestrial precipitation on interseasonal to interannual time scales, and to locate the source of moisture. Seasonal composites during El Niño–Southern Oscillation/Indian Ocean dipole (ENSO/IOD) events are used to understand the variations of moisture transport and precipitation over Australia, and their association with SSS variability. As ENSO/IOD events evolve, patterns of positive or negative SSS anomaly emerge in the Indo-Pacific warm pool region and are accompanied by atmospheric moisture transport anomalies toward Australia. During co-occurring La Niña and negative IOD events, salty anomalies around the Maritime Continent (north of Australia) indicate freshwater export and are associated with a significant moisture transport that converges over Australia to create anomalous wet conditions. In contrast, during co-occurring El Niño and positive IOD events, a moisture transport divergence anomaly over Australia results in anomalous dry conditions. The relationship between SSS and atmospheric moisture transport also holds for pure ENSO/IOD events but varies in magnitude and spatial pattern. The significant pattern correlation between the moisture flux divergence and SSS anomaly during the ENSO/IOD events highlights the associated ocean–atmosphere coupling. A case study of the extreme hydroclimatic events of Australia (e.g., the 2010/11 Brisbane flood) demonstrates that the changes in SSS occur before the peak of ENSO/IOD events. This raises the prospect that tracking of SSS variability could aid the prediction of Australian rainfall.
ArticleTurbulent mixing variability in an energetic standing meander of the Southern Ocean(American Meteorological Society, 2022-07-21) Cyriac, Ajitha ; Phillips, Helen E. ; Bindoff, Nathaniel L. ; Polzin, Kurt L.This study presents novel observational estimates of turbulent dissipation and mixing in a standing meander between the Southeast Indian Ridge and the Macquarie Ridge in the Southern Ocean. By applying a finescale parameterization on the temperature, salinity, and velocity profiles collected from Electromagnetic Autonomous Profiling Explorer (EM-APEX) floats in the upper 1600 m, we estimated the intensity and spatial distribution of dissipation rate and diapycnal mixing along the float tracks and investigated the sources. The indirect estimates indicate strong spatial and temporal variability of turbulent mixing varying from O(10−6) to O(10−3) m2 s−1 in the upper 1600 m. Elevated turbulent mixing is mostly associated with the Subantarctic Front (SAF) and mesoscale eddies. In the upper 500 m, enhanced mixing is associated with downward-propagating wind-generated near-inertial waves as well as the interaction between cyclonic eddies and upward-propagating internal waves. In the study region, the local topography does not play a role in turbulent mixing in the upper part of the water column, which has similar values in profiles over rough and smooth topography. However, both remotely generated internal tides and lee waves could contribute to the upward-propagating energy. Our results point strongly to the generation of turbulent mixing through the interaction of internal waves and the intense mesoscale eddy field.
ArticleInterannual variability of the South Indian Countercurrent(John Wiley & Sons, 2016-05-26) Menezes, Viviane V. ; Phillips, Helen E. ; Vianna, Marcio L. ; Bindoff, Nathaniel L.In the present work, we investigate the interannual variability of the South Indian Countercurrent (SICC), a major and still understudied current of the Indian Ocean circulation. To characterize the interannual variability of the SICC, four different data sets (altimetry, GLORYS, OFAM3, and SODA) are analyzed using multiple tools, which include Singular Spectrum Analysis and wavelet methods. The quasi-biennial band dominates the SICC low-frequency variance, with the main peak in the 1.5–1.8 year interval. A secondary peak (2.1–2.5 year) is only found in the western basin. Interannual and decadal-type modulations of the quasi-biennial signal are also identified. In addition, limitations of SODA before the 1960s in the SICC region are revealed. Within the quasi-biennial band, the SICC system presents two main patterns with a multiple jet structure. One pattern is characterized by a robust northern jet, while in the other the central jet is well developed and northern jet is weaker. In both patterns, the southern jet has always a strong signature. When the northern SICC jet is stronger, the northern cell of the subtropical gyre has a triangular shape, with its southern limb having a strong equatorward slant. The quasi-biennial variability of the SICC is probably related to the Indian Ocean tropical climate modes that are known to have a strong biennial characteristic.