Bower Amy S.

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Amy S.

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  • Article
    The scientific and societal uses of global measurements of subsurface velocity
    (Frontiers Media, 2019-07-24) Szuts, Zoltan B. ; Bower, Amy S. ; Donohue, Kathleen A. ; Girton, James B. ; Hummon, Julia M. ; Katsumata, Katsuro ; Lumpkin, Rick ; Ortner, Peter B. ; Phillips, Helen E. ; Rossby, H. Thomas ; Shay, Lynn Keith ; Sun, Charles ; Todd, Robert E.
    Ocean velocity defines ocean circulation, yet the available observations of subsurface velocity are under-utilized by society. The first step to address these concerns is to improve visibility of and access to existing measurements, which include acoustic sampling from ships, subsurface float drifts, and measurements from autonomous vehicles. While multiple programs provide data publicly, the present difficulty in finding, understanding, and using these data hinder broader use by managers, the public, and other scientists. Creating links from centralized national archives to project specific websites is an easy but important way to improve data discoverability and access. A further step is to archive data in centralized databases, which increases usage by providing a common framework for disparate measurements. This requires consistent data standards and processing protocols for all types of velocity measurements. Central dissemination will also simplify the creation of derived products tailored to end user goals. Eventually, this common framework will aid managers and scientists in identifying regions that need more sampling and in identifying methods to fulfill those demands. Existing technologies are capable of improving spatial and temporal sampling, such as using ships of opportunity or from autonomous platforms like gliders, profiling floats, or Lagrangian floats. Future technological advances are needed to fill sampling gaps and increase data coverage.
  • Preprint
    Mesoscale eddies in the Gulf of Aden and their impact on the spreading of Red Sea Outflow Water
    ( 2010-11) Bower, Amy S. ; Furey, Heather H.
    The Gulf of Aden (GOA) in the northwestern Indian Ocean is the receiving basin for Red Sea Outflow Water (RSOW), one of the World’s few high-salinity dense overflows, but relatively little is known about spreading pathways and transformation of RSOW through the gulf. Here we combine historical data, satellite altimetry, new synoptic hydrographic surveys and the first in situ direct observations of subsurface currents in the GOA to identify the most important processes in the spreading of RSOW. The new in situ data sets were collected in 2001-2003 as part of the Red Sea Outflow Experiment (REDSOX) and consist of two CTD/LADCP Surveys and 49 one-year trajectories from acoustically tracked floats released at the depth of RSOW. The results indicate that the prominent positive and negative sea level anomalies frequently observed in the GOA with satellite altimetry are associated with anticyclonic and cyclonic eddies that often reach to at least 1000 m depth, i.e., through the depth range of equilibrated RSOW. The eddies dominate RSOW spreading pathways and help to rapidly mix the outflow water with the background. Eddies in the central and eastern gulf are basin-scale (~250-km diameter) and have maximum azimuthal speeds of about 30 cm/s at the RSOW level. In the western gulf, smaller eddies not detectable with satellite altimetry appear to form as the larger westward-propagating eddies impale themselves on the high ridges flanking the Tadjura Rift. Both the hydrographic and Lagrangian observations show that eddies originating outside the gulf often transport a core of much cooler, fresher water from the Arabian Sea all the way to the western end of the GOA, where the highest-salinity outflow water is found. This generates large vertical and horizontal gradients of temperature and salinity, setting up favorable conditions for salt fingering and diffusive convection. Both of these mixing processes were observed to be active in the gulf. Two new annually appearing anticyclonic eddies are added to the previously identified Gulf of Aden Eddy (GAE; Prasad and Ikeda, 2001) and Somali Current Ring (SCR; Fratantoni et al., 2006). These are the Summer Eddy (SE) and the Lee Eddy (LE), both of which form at the beginning of the summer monsoon when strong southwest winds blowing through Socotra Passage effectively split the GAE into two smaller eddies. The SE strengthens as it propagates westward deeper in the GOA, while the Lee Eddy remains stationary in the lee of Socotra Island. Both eddies are strengthened or sustained by Ekman convergence associated with negative wind stress curl patches caused by wind jets through or around high orography. The annual cycle in the appearance, propagation and demise of these new eddies and those described in earlier work is documented to provide a comprehensive view of the most energetic circulation features in the GOA. The observations contain little evidence of features that have been shown previously to be important in the spreading of Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) in the North Atlantic, namely a wall-bounded subsurface jet (the Mediterranean Undercurrent ) and submesoscale coherent lenses containing a core of MOW (‘meddies’). This is attributed to the fact that the RSOW enters the open ocean on a western boundary. High background eddy kinetic energy typical of western boundary regimes will tend to shear apart submesoscale eddies and boundary undercurrents. Even if a submesoscale lens of RSOW did form in the GOA, westward self-propagation would transport the eddy and its cargo of outflow water back toward, rather than away from, its source.
  • Article
    Process modeling studies of physical mechanisms of the formation of an anticyclonic eddy in the central Red Sea
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-02-25) Chen, Changsheng ; Li, Ruixiang ; Pratt, Lawrence J. ; Limeburner, Richard ; Beardsley, Robert C. ; Bower, Amy S. ; Jiang, Houshuo ; Abualnaja, Yasser ; Xu, Qichun ; Lin, Huichan ; Liu, Xuehai ; Lan, Jian ; Kim, Taewan
    Surface drifters released in the central Red Sea during April 2010 detected a well-defined anticyclonic eddy around 23°N. This eddy was ∼45–60 km in radius, with a swirl speed up to ∼0.5 m/s. The eddy feature was also evident in monthly averaged sea surface height fields and in current profiles measured on a cross-isobath, shipboard CTD/ADCP survey around that region. The unstructured-grid, Finite-Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) was configured for the Red Sea and process studies were conducted to establish the conditions necessary for the eddy to form and to establish its robustness. The model was capable of reproducing the observed anticyclonic eddy with the same location and size. Diagnosis of model results suggests that the eddy can be formed in a Red Sea that is subject to seasonally varying buoyancy forcing, with no wind, but that its location and structure are significantly altered by wind forcing, initial distribution of water stratification and southward coastal flow from the upstream area. Momentum analysis indicates that the flow field of the eddy was in geostrophic balance, with the baroclinic pressure gradient forcing about the same order of magnitude as the surface pressure gradient forcing.
  • Article
    Dominant circulation patterns of the deep Gulf of Mexico
    (American Meteorological Society, 2018-03-01) Perez-Brunius, Paula ; Furey, Heather H. ; Bower, Amy S. ; Hamilton, Peter ; Candela, Julio ; García-Carrillo, Paula ; Leben, Robert
    The large-scale circulation of the bottom layer of the Gulf of Mexico is analyzed, with special attention to the historically least studied western basin. The analysis is based on 4 years of data collected by 158 subsurface floats parked at 1500 and 2500 m and is complemented with data collected by current meter moorings in the western basin during the same period. Three main circulation patterns stand out: a cyclonic boundary current, a cyclonic gyre in the abyssal plain, and the very high eddy kinetic energy observed in the eastern Gulf. The boundary current and the cyclonic gyre appear as distinct features, which interact in the western tip of the Yucatan shelf. The persistence and continuity of the boundary current is addressed. Although high variability is observed, the boundary flow serves as a pathway for water to travel around the western basin in approximately 2 years. An interesting discovery is the separation of the boundary current over the northwestern slope of the Yucatan shelf. The separation and retroflection of the along-slope current appears to be a persistent feature and is associated with anticyclonic eddies whose genesis mechanism remains to be understood. As the boundary flow separates, it feeds into the westward flow of the deep cyclonic gyre. The location of this gyre—named the Sigsbee Abyssal Gyre—coincides with closed geostrophic contours, so eddy–topography interaction via bottom form stresses may drive this mean flow. The contribution to the cyclonic vorticity of the gyre by modons traveling under Loop Current eddies is discussed.
  • Article
    Factors governing the deep ventilation of the Red Sea
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-11-19) Papadopoulos, Vassilis P. ; Zhan, Peng ; Sofianos, Sarantis S. ; Raitsos, Dionysios E. ; Qurban, Mohammed ; Abualnaja, Yasser ; Bower, Amy S. ; Kontoyiannis, Harilaos ; Pavlidou, Alexandra ; Asharaf, T. T. Mohamed ; Zarokanellos, Nikolaos ; Hoteit, Ibrahim
    A variety of data based on hydrographic measurements, satellite observations, reanalysis databases, and meteorological observations are used to explore the interannual variability and factors governing the deep water formation in the northern Red Sea. Historical and recent hydrographic data consistently indicate that the ventilation of the near-bottom layer in the Red Sea is a robust feature of the thermohaline circulation. Dense water capable to reach the bottom layers of the Red Sea can be regularly produced mostly inside the Gulfs of Aqaba and Suez. Occasionally, during colder than usual winters, deep water formation may also take place over coastal areas in the northernmost end of the open Red Sea just outside the Gulfs of Aqaba and Suez. However, the origin as well as the amount of deep waters exhibit considerable interannual variability depending not only on atmospheric forcing but also on the water circulation over the northern Red Sea. Analysis of several recent winters shows that the strength of the cyclonic gyre prevailing in the northernmost part of the basin can effectively influence the sea surface temperature (SST) and intensify or moderate the winter surface cooling. Upwelling associated with periods of persistent gyre circulation lowers the SST over the northernmost part of the Red Sea and can produce colder than normal winter SST even without extreme heat loss by the sea surface. In addition, the occasional persistence of the cyclonic gyre feeds the surface layers of the northern Red Sea with nutrients, considerably increasing the phytoplankton biomass.
  • Article
    Author correction : Meridional heat transport variability induced by mesoscale processes in the subpolar North Atlantic
    (Nature Publishing Group, 2018-06-14) Zhao, Jian ; Bower, Amy S. ; Yang, Jiayan ; Lin, Xiaopei
  • Article
    Two years of observations of warm-core anticyclones in the Labrador Sea and their seasonal cycle in heat and salt stratification
    (American Meteorological Society, 2014-02) de Jong, Marieke F. ; Bower, Amy S. ; Furey, Heather H.
    Between 25 September 2007 and 28 September 2009, a heavily instrumented mooring was deployed in the Labrador Sea, offshore of the location where warm-core, anticyclonic Irminger rings are formed. The 2-year time series offers insight into the vertical and horizontal structure of newly formed Irminger rings and their heat and salt transport into the interior basin. In 2 years, 12 Irminger rings passed by the mooring. Of these, 11 had distinct properties, while 1 anticyclone likely passed the mooring twice. Eddy radii (11–35 km) were estimated using the dynamic height signal of the anticyclones (8–18 cm) together with the observed velocities. The anticyclones show a seasonal cycle in core properties when observed (1.9°C in temperature and 0.07 in salinity at middepth) that has not been described before. The temperature and salinity are highest in fall and lowest in spring. Cold, fresh caps, suggested to be an important source of freshwater, were seen in spring but were almost nonexistent in fall. The heat and freshwater contributions by the Irminger rings show a large spread (from 12 to 108 MJ m−2 and from −0.5 to −4.7 cm, respectively) for two reasons. First, the large range of radii leads to large differences in transported volume. Second, the seasonal cycle leads to changes in heat and salt content per unit volume. This implies that estimates of heat and freshwater transport by eddies should take the distribution of eddy properties into account in order to accurately assess their contribution to the restratification.
  • Article
    Iceland-Scotland Overflow Water transport variability through the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone and the impact of the North Atlantic Current
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-09-01) Bower, Amy S. ; Furey, Heather H.
    The Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ), a deep and wide gap in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge near 52°N, is a gateway between the eastern and western subpolar regions for the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). In 2010–2012, an eight-mooring array of current meters and temperature/salinity sensors was installed across the CGFZ between 500 m and the sea floor to measure the mean transport of westward-flowing Iceland-Scotland Overflow Water (ISOW) and investigate the impact of the eastward-flowing North Atlantic Current (NAC) on ISOW transport variability. The 22 month record mean ISOW transport through the CGFZ, −1.7 ± 0.5 Sv (95% confidence interval), is 30% lower than the previously published estimate based on 13 months of current-only measurements, −2.4 ± 1.2 Sv. The latter mean estimate may have been biased high due to the lack of continuous salinity measurements, although the two estimates are not statistically different due to strong mesoscale variability in both data sets. Empirical Orthogonal Function analysis and maps of satellite-derived absolute dynamic topography show that weak westward ISOW transport events and eastward reversals are caused by northward meanders of the NAC, with its deep-reaching eastward velocities. These results add to growing evidence that a significant fraction of ISOW exits the Iceland Basin by routes other than the CGFZ.
  • Article
    Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program : a new international ocean observing system
    (American Meteorological Society, 2017-04-24) Lozier, M. Susan ; Bacon, Sheldon ; Bower, Amy S. ; Cunningham, Stuart A. ; de Jong, Marieke Femke ; de Steur, Laura ; deYoung, Brad ; Fischer, Jürgen ; Gary, Stefan F. ; Greenan, Blair J. W. ; Heimbach, Patrick ; Holliday, Naomi Penny ; Houpert, Loïc ; Inall, Mark E. ; Johns, William E. ; Johnson, Helen L. ; Karstensen, Johannes ; Li, Feili ; Lin, Xiaopei ; Mackay, Neill ; Marshall, David P. ; Mercier, Herlé ; Myers, Paul G. ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Pillar, Helen R. ; Straneo, Fiamma ; Thierry, Virginie ; Weller, Robert A. ; Williams, Richard G. ; Wilson, Christopher G. ; Yang, Jiayan ; Zhao, Jian ; Zika, Jan D.
    For decades oceanographers have understood the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) to be primarily driven by changes in the production of deep-water formation in the subpolar and subarctic North Atlantic. Indeed, current Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections of an AMOC slowdown in the twenty-first century based on climate models are attributed to the inhibition of deep convection in the North Atlantic. However, observational evidence for this linkage has been elusive: there has been no clear demonstration of AMOC variability in response to changes in deep-water formation. The motivation for understanding this linkage is compelling, since the overturning circulation has been shown to sequester heat and anthropogenic carbon in the deep ocean. Furthermore, AMOC variability is expected to impact this sequestration as well as have consequences for regional and global climates through its effect on the poleward transport of warm water. Motivated by the need for a mechanistic understanding of the AMOC, an international community has assembled an observing system, Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program (OSNAP), to provide a continuous record of the transbasin fluxes of heat, mass, and freshwater, and to link that record to convective activity and water mass transformation at high latitudes. OSNAP, in conjunction with the Rapid Climate Change–Meridional Overturning Circulation and Heatflux Array (RAPID–MOCHA) at 26°N and other observational elements, will provide a comprehensive measure of the three-dimensional AMOC and an understanding of what drives its variability. The OSNAP observing system was fully deployed in the summer of 2014, and the first OSNAP data products are expected in the fall of 2017.
  • Article
    Seasonal overturning circulation in the Red Sea : 2. Winter circulation
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-04-14) Yao, Fengchao ; Hoteit, Ibrahim ; Pratt, Lawrence J. ; Bower, Amy S. ; Kohl, Armin ; Gopalakrishnan, Ganesh ; Rivas, David
    The shallow winter overturning circulation in the Red Sea is studied using a 50 year high-resolution MITgcm (MIT general circulation model) simulation with realistic atmospheric forcing. The overturning circulation for a typical year, represented by 1980, and the climatological mean are analyzed using model output to delineate the three-dimensional structure and to investigate the underlying dynamical mechanisms. The horizontal model circulation in the winter of 1980 is dominated by energetic eddies. The climatological model mean results suggest that the surface inflow intensifies in a western boundary current in the southern Red Sea that switches to an eastern boundary current north of 24°N. The overturning is accomplished through a cyclonic recirculation and a cross-basin overturning circulation in the northern Red Sea, with major sinking occurring along a narrow band of width about 20 km along the eastern boundary and weaker upwelling along the western boundary. The northward pressure gradient force, strong vertical mixing, and horizontal mixing near the boundary are the essential dynamical components in the model's winter overturning circulation. The simulated water exchange is not hydraulically controlled in the Strait of Bab el Mandeb; instead, the exchange is limited by bottom and lateral boundary friction and, to a lesser extent, by interfacial friction due to the vertical viscosity at the interface between the inflow and the outflow.
  • Article
    The Loop Current: Observations of deep eddies and topographic waves.
    (American Meteorological Society, 2019-05-29) Hamilton, Peter ; Bower, Amy S. ; Furey, Heather H. ; Leben, Robert ; Pérez-Brunius, Paula
    A set of float trajectories, deployed at 1500- and 2500-m depths throughout the deep Gulf of Mexico from 2011 to 2015, are analyzed for mesoscale processes under the Loop Current (LC). In the eastern basin, December 2012–June 2014 had >40 floats per month, which was of sufficient density to allow capturing detailed flow patterns of deep eddies and topographic Rossby waves (TRWs), while two LC eddies formed and separated. A northward advance of the LC front compresses the lower water column and generates an anticyclone. For an extended LC, baroclinic instability eddies (of both signs) develop under the southward-propagating large-scale meanders of the upper-layer jet, resulting in a transfer of eddy kinetic energy (EKE) to the lower layer. The increase in lower-layer EKE occurs only over a few months during meander activity and LC eddy detachment events, a relatively short interval compared with the LC intrusion cycle. Deep EKE of these eddies is dispersed to the west and northwest through radiating TRWs, of which examples were found to the west of the LC. Because of this radiation of EKE, the lower layer of the eastern basin becomes relatively quiescent, particularly in the northeastern basin, when the LC is retracted and a LC eddy has departed. A mean west-to-east, anticyclone–cyclone dipole flow under a mean LC was directly comparable to similar results from a previous moored LC array and also showed connections to an anticlockwise boundary current in the southeastern basin.
  • Article
    Hydrography of the Gulf of Mexico using autonomous floats
    (American Meteorological Society, 2018-04-04) Hamilton, Peter ; Leben, Robert ; Bower, Amy S. ; Furey, Heather H. ; Perez-Brunius, Paula
    Fourteen autonomous profiling floats, equipped with CTDs, were deployed in the deep eastern and western basins of the Gulf of Mexico over a four-year interval (July 2011–August 2015), producing a total of 706 casts. This is the first time since the early 1970s that there has been a comprehensive survey of water masses in the deep basins of the Gulf, with better vertical resolution than available from older ship-based surveys. Seven floats had 14-day cycles with parking depths of 1500 m, and the other half from the U.S. Argo program had varying cycle times. Maps of characteristic water masses, including Subtropical Underwater, Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW), and North Atlantic Deep Water, showed gradients from east to west, consistent with their sources being within the Loop Current (LC) and the Yucatan Channel waters. Altimeter SSH was used to characterize profiles being in LC or LC eddy water or in cold eddies. The two-layer nature of the deep Gulf shows isotherms being deeper in the warm anticyclonic LC and LC eddies and shallower in the cold cyclones. Mixed layer depths have an average seasonal signal that shows maximum depths (~60 m) in January and a minimum in June–July (~20 m). Basin-mean steric heights from 0–50-m dynamic heights and altimeter SSH show a seasonal range of ~12 cm, with significant interannual variability. The translation of LC eddies across the western basin produces a region of low homogeneous potential vorticity centered over the deepest part of the western basin.
  • Article
    Atmospheric forcing of the winter air–sea heat fluxes over the northern Red Sea
    (American Meteorological Society, 2013-03-01) Papadopoulos, Vassilis P. ; Abualnaja, Yasser ; Josey, Simon A. ; Bower, Amy S. ; Raitsos, Dionysios E. ; Kontoyiannis, Harilaos ; Hoteit, Ibrahim
    The influence of the atmospheric circulation on the winter air–sea heat fluxes over the northern Red Sea is investigated during the period 1985–2011. The analysis based on daily heat flux values reveals that most of the net surface heat exchange variability depends on the behavior of the turbulent components of the surface flux (the sum of the latent and sensible heat). The large-scale composite sea level pressure (SLP) maps corresponding to turbulent flux minima and maxima show distinct atmospheric circulation patterns associated with each case. In general, extreme heat loss (with turbulent flux lower than −400 W m−2) over the northern Red Sea is observed when anticyclonic conditions prevail over an area extending from the Mediterranean Sea to eastern Asia along with a recession of the equatorial African lows system. Subcenters of high pressure associated with this pattern generate the required steep SLP gradient that enhances the wind magnitude and transfers cold and dry air masses from higher latitudes. Conversely, turbulent flux maxima (heat loss minimization with values from −100 to −50 W m−2) are associated with prevailing low pressures over the eastern Mediterranean and an extended equatorial African low that reaches the southern part of the Red Sea. In this case, a smooth SLP field over the northern Red Sea results in weak winds over the area that in turn reduce the surface heat loss. At the same time, southerlies blowing along the main axis of the Red Sea transfer warm and humid air northward, favoring heat flux maxima.
  • Article
    Seasonal and interannual variations of Irminger ring formation and boundary–interior heat exchange in FLAME
    (American Meteorological Society, 2016-05-23) de Jong, Marieke F. ; Bower, Amy S. ; Furey, Heather H.
    The contribution of warm-core anticyclones shed by the Irminger Current off West Greenland, known as Irminger rings, to the restratification of the upper layers of the Labrador Sea is investigated in the 1/12° Family of Linked Atlantic Models Experiment (FLAME) model. The model output, covering the 1990–2004 period, shows strong similarities to observations of the Irminger Current as well as ring observations at a mooring located offshore of the eddy formation region in 2007–09. An analysis of fluxes in the model shows that while the majority of heat exchange with the interior indeed occurs at the site of the Irminger Current instability, the contribution of the coherent Irminger rings is modest (18%). Heat is provided to the convective region mainly through noncoherent anomalies and enhanced local mixing by the rings facilitating further exchange between the boundary and interior. The time variability of the eddy kinetic energy and the boundary to interior heat flux in the model are strongly correlated to the density gradient between the dense convective region and the more buoyant boundary current. In FLAME, the density variations of the boundary current are larger than those of the convective region, thereby largely controlling changes in lateral fluxes. Synchronous long-term trends in temperature in the boundary and the interior over the 15-yr simulation suggest that the heat flux relative to the temperature of the interior is largely steady on these time scales.
  • Article
    Variability of the Iceland‐Scotland overflow water transport through the Charlie‐Gibbs fracture zone : results from an eddying simulation and observations
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-08-20) Xu, Xiaobiao ; Bower, Amy S. ; Furey, Heather H. ; Chassignet, Eric P.
    Observations show that the westward transport of the Iceland‐Scotland overflow water (ISOW) through the Charlie‐Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ) is highly variable. This study examines (a) where this variability comes from and (b) how it is related to the variability of ISOW transport at upstream locations in the Iceland Basin and other ISOW flow pathways. The analyses are based on a 35‐year 1/12° eddying Atlantic simulation that represents well the main features of the observed ISOW in the area of interest, in particular, the transport variability through the CGFZ. The results show that (a) the variability of the ISOW transport is closely correlated with that of the barotropic transports in the CGFZ associated with the meridional displacement of the North Atlantic Current front and is possibly induced by fluctuations of large‐scale zonal wind stress in the Western European Basin east of the CGFZ; (b) the variability of the ISOW transport is increased by a factor of 3 from the northern part of the Iceland Basin to the CGFZ region and transport time series at these two locations are not correlated, further suggesting that the variability at the CGFZ does not come from the upstream source; and (c) the variability of the ISOW transport at the CGFZ is strongly anticorrelated to that of the southward ISOW transport along the eastern flank of the Mid‐Atlantic Ridge, suggesting an out‐of‐phase covarying transport between these two ISOW pathways.
  • Technical Report
    A crossroads of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation : the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone data report August 2010 – June 2012
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2014-08) Furey, Heather H. ; Trafford, Leah ; Bower, Amy S.
    This is the final data report of all mooring data collected by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 2010-2012 during the experiment A Crossroads of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation: The Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone. The objectives of this experiment were (1) to obtain an improved direct estimate of the mean and low-frequency variability of the deep westward transport of the Iceland-Scotland Overflow Water through the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ), and (2) to gain a better understanding of the causes of the low-frequency variability in the transport of overflow waters through the CGFZ, especially of the role of the North Atlantic Current in generating this variability. The mooring deployment and recovery cruises were on German research vessels, courtesy of Drs. Monika Rhein and Dagmar Kieke: the R/V Meteor cruise M82/2 in August 2010 and R/V Maria S. Merian cruise MSM 21/2 in June 2012, respectively. The CGFZ moored array complemented other moored arrays being maintained by German scientists just west of the CGFZ (Pressure Inverted Echo Sounders, or PIES) and the Faraday Fracture Zone (current meter and microcat moorings). A set of eight moorings were set up across the CGFZ to measure the intermediate and deep water variability for a two-year period, from a depth of 500 m to the ocean floor. The moorings held a total of three McClane Moored Profilers (MMPs), 10 Nortek and 18 Aanderaa current meters, and 36 Seabird MicroCATs, deployed from 18-20 August 2010 through 28-30 June 2012. This yielded a nearly two-year record of velocity, temperature, salinity and pressure. The MMPs profiled every five days, and resulted in a high-resolution time series of temperature, salinity, pressure and velocity data across the interface between the generally eastward flowing Labrador Sea Water carried underneath the North Atlantic Current, and the westward flowing deep Iceland-Scotland Overflow Water.
  • Article
    First autonomous bio-optical profiling float in the Gulf of Mexico reveals dynamic biogeochemistry in deep waters
    (Public Library of Science, 2014-07-03) Green, Rebecca E. ; Bower, Amy S. ; Lugo-Fernandez, Alexis
    Profiling floats equipped with bio-optical sensors well complement ship-based and satellite ocean color measurements by providing highly-resolved time-series data on the vertical structure of biogeochemical processes in oceanic waters. This is the first study to employ an autonomous profiling (APEX) float in the Gulf of Mexico for measuring spatiotemporal variability in bio-optics and hydrography. During the 17-month deployment (July 2011 to December 2012), the float mission collected profiles of temperature, salinity, chlorophyll fluorescence, particulate backscattering (bbp), and colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) fluorescence from the ocean surface to a depth of 1,500 m. Biogeochemical variability was characterized by distinct depth trends and local “hot spots”, including impacts from mesoscale processes associated with each of the water masses sampled, from ambient deep waters over the Florida Plain, into the Loop Current, up the Florida Canyon, and eventually into the Florida Straits. A deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM) occurred between 30 and 120 m, with the DCM depth significantly related to the unique density layer ρ = 1023.6 (R2 = 0.62). Particulate backscattering, bbp, demonstrated multiple peaks throughout the water column, including from phytoplankton, deep scattering layers, and resuspension. The bio-optical relationship developed between bbp and chlorophyll (R2 = 0.49) was compared to a global relationship and could significantly improve regional ocean-color algorithms. Photooxidation and autochthonous production contributed to CDOM distributions in the upper water column, whereas in deep water, CDOM behaved as a semi-conservative tracer of water masses, demonstrating a tight relationship with density (R2 = 0.87). In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, this research lends support to the use of autonomous drifting profilers as a powerful tool for consideration in the design of an expanded and integrated observing network for the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Article
    On the crossover of boundary currents in an idealized model of the Red Sea
    (American Meteorological Society, 2015-05) Zhai, Ping ; Pratt, Lawrence J. ; Bower, Amy S.
    The west-to-east crossover of boundary currents has been seen in mean circulation schemes from several past models of the Red Sea. This study investigates the mechanisms that produce and control the crossover in an idealized, eddy-resolving numerical model of the Red Sea. The authors also review the observational evidence and derive an analytical estimate for the crossover latitude. The surface buoyancy loss increases northward in the idealized model, and the resultant mean circulation consists of an anticyclonic gyre in the south and a cyclonic gyre in the north. In the midbasin, the northward surface flow crosses from the western boundary to the eastern boundary. Numerical experiments with different parameters indicate that the crossover latitude of the boundary currents changes with f0, β, and the meridional gradient of surface buoyancy forcing. In the analytical estimate, which is based on quasigeostrophic, β-plane dynamics, the crossover is predicted to lie at the latitude where the net potential vorticity advection (including an eddy component) is zero. Various terms in the potential vorticity budget can be estimated using a buoyancy budget, a thermal wind balance, and a parameterization of baroclinic instability.
  • Article
    Formation and spreading of Red Sea Outflow Water in the Red Sea
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-09-29) Zhai, Ping ; Bower, Amy S. ; Smethie, William M. ; Pratt, Lawrence J.
    Hydrographic data, chlorofluorocarbon-12 (CFC-12) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) measurements collected in March 2010 and September–October 2011 in the Red Sea, as well as an idealized numerical experiment are used to study the formation and spreading of Red Sea Outflow Water (RSOW) in the Red Sea. Analysis of inert tracers, potential vorticity distributions, and model results confirm that RSOW is formed through mixed-layer deepening caused by sea surface buoyancy loss in winter in the northern Red Sea and reveal more details on RSOW spreading rates, pathways, and vertical structure. The southward spreading of RSOW after its formation is identified as a layer with minimum potential vorticity and maximum CFC-12 and SF6. Ventilation ages of seawater within the RSOW layer, calculated from the partial pressure of SF6 (pSF6), range from 2 years in the northern Red Sea to 15 years at 17°N. The distribution of the tracer ages is in agreement with the model circulation field which shows a rapid transport of RSOW from its formation region to the southern Red Sea where there are longer circulation pathways and hence longer residence time due to basin wide eddies. The mean residence time of RSOW within the Red Sea estimated from the pSF6 age is 4.7 years. This time scale is very close to the mean transit time (4.8 years) for particles from the RSOW formation region to reach the exit at the Strait of Bab el Mandeb in the numerical experiment.
  • Article
    Seasonal overturning circulation in the Red Sea : 1. Model validation and summer circulation
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-04-14) Yao, Fengchao ; Hoteit, Ibrahim ; Pratt, Lawrence J. ; Bower, Amy S. ; Kohl, Armin ; Gopalakrishnan, Ganesh ; Rivas, David
    The overturning circulation in the Red Sea exhibits a distinct seasonally reversing pattern and is studied using high-resolution MIT general circulation model simulations. In the first part of this study, the vertical and horizontal structure of the summer overturning circulation and its dynamical mechanisms are presented from the model results. The seasonal water exchange in the Strait of Bab el Mandeb is successfully simulated, and the structures of the intruding subsurface Gulf of Aden intermediate water are in good agreement with summer observations in 2011. The model results suggest that the summer overturning circulation is driven by the combined effect of the shoaling of the thermocline in the Gulf of Aden resulting from remote winds in the Arabian Sea and an upward surface slope from the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden set up by local surface winds in the Red Sea. In addition, during late summer two processes associated, respectively, with latitudinally differential heating and increased salinity in the southern Red Sea act together to cause the reversal of the contrast of the vertical density structure and the cessation of the summer overturning circulation. Dynamically, the subsurface northward pressure gradient force is mainly balanced by vertical viscosity resulting from the vertical shear and boundary friction in the Strait of Bab el Mandeb. Unlike some previous studies, the three-layer summer exchange flows in the Strait of Bab el Mandeb do not appear to be hydraulically controlled.