Farrar J. Thomas

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J. Thomas

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  • Article
    Intraseasonal variability near 10°N in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean
    (American Geophysical Union, 2006-05-20) Farrar, J. Thomas ; Weller, Robert A.
    New in situ observations from 10°N, 125°W during 1997–1998 show strong intraseasonal variability in meridional velocity and sea surface temperature. The 50- to 100-day oscillations in sea surface height (SSH) have long been recognized as a prominent aspect of oceanic variability in the region of 9–13°N in the eastern Pacific Ocean. We use in situ and satellite data to more fully characterize this variability. The oscillations have zonal wavelengths of 550–1650 km and propagate westward in a manner consistent with the dispersion relation for first baroclinic mode, free Rossby waves in the presence of a mean westward flow. Analysis of 9 years of altimetry data shows that the amplitude of the 50- to 100-day SSH variability at 10°N is largest on 90–115°W, with peak amplitudes occurring around April. Some eddies traveling westward at 10–13°N emanate from near the gulfs of Tehuantepec and Papagayo, but eddies sometimes also appear to intensify well away from the coast while in the North Equatorial Current (NEC). The hypothesis that the intraseasonal variability and its annual cycle are associated with baroclinic instability of the NEC is supported by a spatiotemporal correlation between the amplitude of 50- to 100-day variability and the occurrence of westward zonal flows meeting an approximate necessary condition for baroclinic instability. The notion that baroclinic instability may be involved is further corroborated by the tendency of the NEC to weaken while the eddies intensify, even as the wind works to strengthen the current.
  • Article
    Submesoscale processes at shallow salinity fronts in the Bay of Bengal : observations during the winter monsoon
    (American Meteorological Society, 2018-02-26) Ramachandran, Sanjiv ; Tandon, Amit ; MacKinnon, Jennifer A. ; Lucas, Andrew J. ; Pinkel, Robert ; Waterhouse, Amy F. ; Nash, Jonathan D. ; Shroyer, Emily L. ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Weller, Robert A. ; Farrar, J. Thomas
    Lateral submesoscale processes and their influence on vertical stratification at shallow salinity fronts in the central Bay of Bengal during the winter monsoon are explored using high-resolution data from a cruise in November 2013. The observations are from a radiator survey centered at a salinity-controlled density front, embedded in a zone of moderate mesoscale strain (0.15 times the Coriolis parameter) and forced by winds with a downfront orientation. Below a thin mixed layer, often ≤10 m, the analysis shows several dynamical signatures indicative of submesoscale processes: (i) negative Ertel potential vorticity (PV); (ii) low-PV anomalies with O(1–10) km lateral extent, where the vorticity estimated on isopycnals and the isopycnal thickness are tightly coupled, varying in lockstep to yield low PV; (iii) flow conditions susceptible to forced symmetric instability (FSI) or bearing the imprint of earlier FSI events; (iv) negative lateral gradients in the absolute momentum field (inertial instability); and (v) strong contribution from differential sheared advection at O(1) km scales to the growth rate of the depth-averaged stratification. The findings here show one-dimensional vertical processes alone cannot explain the vertical stratification and its lateral variability over O(1–10) km scales at the radiator survey.
  • Article
    Evidence for the maintenance of slowly varying equatorial currents by intraseasonal variability
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-02-09) Greatbatch, Richard J. ; Claus, Martin ; Brandt, Peter ; Matthießen, Jan-Dirk ; Tuchen, Franz Philip ; Ascani, Francois ; Dengler, Marcus ; Toole, John M. ; Roth, Christina ; Farrar, J. Thomas
    Recent evidence from mooring data in the equatorial Atlantic reveals that semiannual and longer time scale ocean current variability is close to being resonant with equatorial basin modes. Here we show that intraseasonal variability, with time scales of tens of days, provides the energy to maintain these resonant basin modes against dissipation. The mechanism is analogous to that by which storm systems in the atmosphere act to maintain the atmospheric jet stream. We demonstrate the mechanism using an idealized model setup that exhibits equatorial deep jets. The results are supported by direct analysis of available mooring data from the equatorial Atlantic Ocean covering a depth range of several thousand meters. The analysis of the mooring data suggests that the same mechanism also helps maintain the seasonal variability.
  • Article
    Zonal surface wind jets across the Red Sea due to mountain gap forcing along both sides of the Red Sea
    (American Geophysical Union, 2009-10-10) Jiang, Houshuo ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Beardsley, Robert C. ; Chen, Ru ; Chen, Changsheng
    Mesoscale atmospheric modeling over the Red Sea, validated by in-situ meteorological buoy data, identifies two types of coastal mountain gap wind jets that frequently blow across the longitudinal axis of the Red Sea: (1) an eastward-blowing summer daily wind jet originating from the Tokar Gap on the Sudanese Red Sea coast, and (2) wintertime westward-blowing wind-jet bands along the northwestern Saudi Arabian coast, which occur every 10–20 days and can last for several days when occurring. Both wind jets can attain wind speeds over 15 m s−1 and contribute significantly to monthly mean surface wind stress, especially in the cross-axis components, which could be of importance to ocean eddy formation in the Red Sea. The wintertime wind jets can cause significant evaporation and ocean heat loss along the northeastern Red Sea coast and may potentially drive deep convection in that region. An initial characterization of these wind jets is presented.
  • Article
    Challenges and prospects for reducing coupled climate model SST biases in the eastern tropical Atlantic and Pacific Oceans : the U.S. CLIVAR Eastern Tropical Oceans Synthesis Working Group
    (American Meteorological Society, 2017-01-12) Zuidema, Paquita ; Chang, Ping ; Medeiros, Brian ; Kirtman, Benjamin ; Mechoso, Roberto ; Schneider, Edwin K. ; Toniazzo, Thomas ; Richter, Ingo ; Small, R. Justin ; Bellomo, Katinka ; Brandt, Peter ; de Szoeke, Simon ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Jung, Eunsil ; Kato, Seiji ; Li, Mingkui ; Patricola, Christina ; Wang, Zaiyu ; Wood, Robert ; Xu, Zhao
    Well-known problems trouble coupled general circulation models of the eastern Atlantic and Pacific Ocean basins. Model climates are significantly more symmetric about the equator than is observed. Model sea surface temperatures are biased warm south and southeast of the equator, and the atmosphere is too rainy within a band south of the equator. Near-coastal eastern equatorial SSTs are too warm, producing a zonal SST gradient in the Atlantic opposite in sign to that observed. The U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability Program (CLIVAR) Eastern Tropical Ocean Synthesis Working Group (WG) has pursued an updated assessment of coupled model SST biases, focusing on the surface energy balance components, on regional error sources from clouds, deep convection, winds, and ocean eddies; on the sensitivity to model resolution; and on remote impacts. Motivated by the assessment, the WG makes the following recommendations: 1) encourage identification of the specific parameterizations contributing to the biases in individual models, as these can be model dependent; 2) restrict multimodel intercomparisons to specific processes; 3) encourage development of high-resolution coupled models with a concurrent emphasis on parameterization development of finer-scale ocean and atmosphere features, including low clouds; 4) encourage further availability of all surface flux components from buoys, for longer continuous time periods, in persistently cloudy regions; and 5) focus on the eastern basin coastal oceanic upwelling regions, where further opportunities for observational–modeling synergism exist.
  • Article
    Corrigendum to “Formation and erosion of the seasonal thermocline in the Kuroshio Extension Recirculation gyre” [Deep-Sea Res. II 85 (2013) 62–74]
    (Elsevier, 2016-08-08) Cronin, Meghan F. ; Bond, Nicholas A. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Ichikawa, Hiroshi ; Jayne, Steven R. ; Kawai, Yoshimi ; Konda, Masanori ; Qiu, Bo ; Rainville, Luc ; Tomita, Hiroyuki
  • Article
    A Ka-band wind Geophysical Model Function using doppler scatterometer measurements from the Air-Sea Interaction Tower experiment
    (MDPI, 2022-04-26) Polverari, Federica ; Wineteer, Alexander ; Rodríguez, Ernesto ; Perkovic-Martin, Dragana ; Siqueira, Paul ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Adam, Max ; Closa Tarrés, Marc ; Edson, James B.
    Physical understanding and modeling of Ka-band ocean surface backscatter is challenging due to a lack of measurements. In the framework of the NASA Earth Ventures Suborbital-3 Submesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE) mission, a Ka-Band Ocean continuous wave Doppler Scatterometer (KaBODS) built by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass) was installed on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Air-Sea Interaction Tower. Together with ASIT anemometers, a new data set of Ka-band ocean surface backscatter measurements along with surface wind/wave and weather parameters was collected. In this work, we present the KaBODS instrument and an empirical Ka-band wind Geophysical Model Function (GMF), the so-called ASIT GMF, based on the KaBODS data collected over a period of three months, from October 2019 to January 2020, for incidence angles ranging between 40° and 68°. The ASIT GMF results are compared with an existing Ka-band wind GMF developed from data collected during a tower experiment conducted over the Black Sea. The two GMFs show differences in terms of wind speed and wind direction sensitivity. However, they are consistent in the values of the standard deviation of the model residuals. This suggests an intrinsic geophysical variability characterizing the Ka-band surface backscatter. The observed variability does not significantly change when filtering out swell-dominated data, indicating that the long-wave induced backscatter modulation is not the primary source of the KaBODS backscatter variability. We observe evidence of wave breaking events, which increase the skewness of the backscatter distribution in linear space, consistent with previous studies. Interestingly, a better agreement is seen between the GMFs and the actual data at an incidence angle of 60° for both GMFs, and the statistical analysis of the model residuals shows a reduced backscatter variability at this incidence angle. This study shows that the ASIT data set is a valuable reference for studies of Ka-band backscatter. Further investigations are on-going to fully characterize the observed variability and its implication in the wind GMF development.
  • Article
    Structure and surface properties of eddies in the southeast Pacific Ocean
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2013-05-07) Holte, James W. ; Straneo, Fiamma ; Moffat, Carlos F. ; Weller, Robert A. ; Farrar, J. Thomas
    A number of studies have posited that coastally generated eddies could cool the southeast Pacific Ocean (SEP) by advecting cool, upwelled waters offshore. We examine this mechanism by characterizing the upper-ocean properties of mesoscale eddies in the SEP with a variety of observations and by estimating the surface-layer eddy heat flux divergence with satellite data. Cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies observed during two cruises featured deep positive salinity anomalies along the 26.5 kg m−3isopycnal, indicating that the eddies had likely trapped and transported coastal waters offshore. The cyclonic eddies observed during the cruises were characterized by shoaling isopycnals in the upper 200 m and cool near-surface temperature anomalies, whereas the upper-ocean structure of anticyclonic eddies was more variable. Using a variety of large-scale observations, including Argo float profiles, drifter records, and satellite sea surface temperature fields, we show that, relative to mean conditions, cyclonic eddies are associated with cooler surface temperatures and that anticyclonic eddies are associated with warmer surface temperatures. Within each data set, the mean eddy surface temperature anomalies are small and of approximately equal magnitude but opposite sign. Eddy statistics drawn from satellite altimetry data reveal that cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies occur with similar frequency and have similar average radii in the SEP. A satellite-based estimate of the surface-layer eddy heat flux divergence, while large in coastal regions, is small when averaged over the SEP, suggesting that eddies do not substantially contribute to cooling the surface layer of the SEP.
  • Article
    Sea surface temperature signatures of oceanic internal waves in low winds
    (American Geophysical Union, 2007-06-20) Farrar, J. Thomas ; Zappa, Christopher J. ; Weller, Robert A. ; Jessup, Andrew T.
    In aerial surveys conducted during the Tropical Ocean–Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment and the low-wind component of the Coupled Boundary Layer Air-Sea Transfer (CBLAST-Low) oceanographic field programs, sea surface temperature (SST) variability at relatively short spatial scales (O(50 m) to O(1 km)) was observed to increase with decreasing wind speed. A unique set of coincident surface and subsurface oceanic temperature measurements from CBLAST-Low is used to investigate the subsurface expression of this spatially organized SST variability, and the SST variability is linked to internal waves. The data are used to test two previously hypothesized mechanisms for SST signatures of oceanic internal waves: a modulation of the cool-skin effect and a modulation of vertical mixing within the diurnal warm layer. Under conditions of weak winds and strong insolation (which favor formation of a diurnal warm layer), the data reveal a link between the spatially periodic SST fluctuations and subsurface temperature and velocity fluctuations associated with oceanic internal waves, suggesting that some mechanism involving the diurnal warm layer is responsible for the observed signal. Internal-wave signals in skin temperature very closely resemble temperature signals measured at a depth of about 20 cm, indicating that the observed internal-wave SST signal is not a result of modulation of the cool-skin effect. Numerical experiments using a one-dimensional upper ocean model support the notion that internal-wave heaving of the warm-layer base can produce alternating bands of relatively warm and cool SST through the combined effects of surface heating and modulation of wind-driven vertical shear.
  • Article
    Moored observations of the surface meteorology and air-sea fluxes in the Northern Bay of Bengal in 2015
    (American Meteorological Society, 2018-12-28) Weller, Robert A. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Seo, Hyodae ; Prend, Channing ; Sengupta, Debasis ; Lekha, J. Sree ; Ravichandran, M. ; Venkatesan, Ramasamy
    Time series of surface meteorology and air–sea fluxes from the northern Bay of Bengal are analyzed, quantifying annual and seasonal means, variability, and the potential for surface fluxes to contribute significantly to variability in surface temperature and salinity. Strong signals were associated with solar insolation and its modulation by cloud cover, and, in the 5- to 50-day range, with intraseasonal oscillations (ISOs). The northeast (NE) monsoon (DJF) was typically cloud free, with strong latent heat loss and several moderate wind events, and had the only seasonal mean ocean heat loss. The spring intermonsoon (MAM) was cloud free and had light winds and the strongest ocean heating. Strong ISOs and Tropical Cyclone Komen were seen in the southwest (SW) monsoon (JJA), when 65% of the 2.2-m total rain fell, and oceanic mean heating was small. The fall intermonsoon (SON) initially had moderate convective systems and mean ocean heating, with a transition to drier winds and mean ocean heat loss in the last month. Observed surface freshwater flux applied to a layer of the observed thickness produced drops in salinity with timing and magnitude similar to the initial drops in salinity in the summer monsoon, but did not reproduce the salinity variability of the fall intermonsoon. Observed surface heat flux has the potential to cause the temperature trends of the different seasons, but uncertainty in how shortwave radiation is absorbed in the upper ocean limits quantifying the role of surface forcing in the evolution of mixed layer temperature.
  • Technical Report
    CBLAST 2003 field work report
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2005-04) Hutto, Lara ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Weller, Robert A.
    The long-range scientific objective of the Coupled Boundary Layer Air Sea Transfer (CBLAST) project is to observe and understand the temporal and spatial variability of the upper ocean, to identify the processes that determine that variability, and to examine its predictability. Air-sea interaction is of particular interest, but attention is also paid to the coupling of the sub-thermocline ocean to the mixed layer and to both the open ocean and littoral regimes. We seek to do this over a wide range of environmental conditions with the intent of improving our understanding of upper ocean dynamics and of the physical processes that determine the vertical and horizontal structure of the upper ocean. Field work for CBLAST was conducted during the summers of 2001, 2002, and 2003 off the south shore of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The 2003 field work was conducted from the following platforms: heavy moorings, light moorings, drifters, F/V Nobska, CIRPAS Pelican aircraft, and an IR Cessna Aircraft. This report documents the 2003 field work and includes field notes, platform descriptions, discussion of data returns, and mooring logs. The 2003 Intensive Operating Period (IOP) was very successful and a high data return was seen.
  • Article
    Spectral decomposition of internal gravity wave sea surface height in global models
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-10-10) Savage, Anna C. ; Arbic, Brian K. ; Alford, Matthew H. ; Ansong, Joseph ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Menemenlis, Dimitris ; O’Rourke, Amanda K. ; Richman, James G. ; Shriver, Jay F. ; Voet, Gunnar ; Wallcraft, Alan J. ; Zamudio, Luis
    Two global ocean models ranging in horizontal resolution from 1/12° to 1/48° are used to study the space and time scales of sea surface height (SSH) signals associated with internal gravity waves (IGWs). Frequency-horizontal wavenumber SSH spectral densities are computed over seven regions of the world ocean from two simulations of the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) and three simulations of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology general circulation model (MITgcm). High wavenumber, high-frequency SSH variance follows the predicted IGW linear dispersion curves. The realism of high-frequency motions (>0:87 cpd) in the models is tested through comparison of the frequency spectral density of dynamic height variance computed from the highest-resolution runs of each model (1/25° HYCOM and 1/48° MITgcm) with dynamic height variance frequency spectral density computed from nine in situ profiling instruments. These high-frequency motions are of particular interest because of their contributions to the small-scale SSH variability that will be observed on a global scale in the upcoming Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite altimetry mission. The variance at supertidal frequencies can be comparable to the tidal and low-frequency variance for high wavenumbers (length scales smaller than ∼50 km), especially in the higher-resolution simulations. In the highest-resolution simulations, the high-frequency variance can be greater than the low-frequency variance at these scales.
  • Technical Report
    UCTD and EM/APEX measurements in support of the April 2015 AirSWOT Campaign : cruise and data report
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2015-12) Farrar, J. Thomas ; Hodges, Benjamin A. ; Bigorre, Sebastien P. ; Galbraith, Nancy R. ; Girton, James B. ; Chao, Yi
    AirSWOT is an aircraft mounted instrument for measuring and imaging sea surface height (SSH), and it is similar to the SWOT (Surface Water Ocean Topography) instrument that will be deployed on a satellite in 2020. A field campaign was conducted in April 2015 to examine the performance of AirSWOT and to better understand how the measurement is affected by surface waves and currents. Supporting measurements were collected from the R/V Shana Rae, the R/V Fulmar, and a second aircraft (a Partenavia P68 operated by Aspen Helicopter, Oxnard,CA for UCSD/SIO). From 17-20 April 2015, the R/V Shana Rae, a 50-foot research vessel, was used for collection of Underway CTD (or UCTD) measurements and for deployment and recovery of three EM/APEX floats in a study area off the central California coast. The UCTD measurements are being used to estimate the sea surface height signal associated with variations in ocean density structure. The EM/APEX floats provide time series of the same, as well as vertical profiles of ocean velocity. The purpose of this report is to document the shipboard operations on the R/V Shana Rae and the resulting UCTD and EM/APEX data sets.
  • Article
    Intraseasonal variability of surface salinity in the eastern tropical pacific associated with mesoscale eddies.
    (American Geophysical Union, 2019-03-28) Hasson, Audrey ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Boutin, Jacqueline ; Bingham, Frederick ; Lee, Tong
    Strong variability in sea surface salinity (SSS) in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETPac) on intraseasonal to interannual timescales was studied using data from the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity, Soil Moisture Active Passive, and Aquarius satellite missions. A zonal wave number‐frequency spectral analysis of SSS reveals a dominant timescale of 50–180 days and spatial scale of 8°–20° of longitude with a distinct seasonal cycle and interannual variability. This intraseasonal SSS signal is detailed in the study of 19 individual ETPac eddies over 2010–2016 identified by their sea level anomalies, propagating westward at a speed of about 17 cm/s. ETPac eddies trap and advect water in their core westward up to 40° of longitude away from the coast. The SSS signatures of these eddies, with an average anomaly of 0.5‐pss magnitude difference from ambient values, enable the study of their dynamics and the mixing of their core waters with the surroundings. Three categories of eddies were identified according to the location where they were first tracked: (1) in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, (2) in the Gulf of Papagayo, and (3) in the open ocean near 100°W–12°N. They all traveled westward near 10°N latitude. Category 3 is of particular interest, as eddies seeded in the Gulf of Tehuantepec grew substantially in the vicinity of the Clipperton Fracture Zone rise and in a region where the mean zonal currents have anticyclonic shear. The evolution of the SSS signature associated with the eddies indicates the importance of mixing to their dissipation.
  • Article
    Seasonality and buoyancy suppression of turbulence in the Bay of Bengal
    (American Geophysical Union, 2019-04-08) Thakur, Ritabrata ; Shroyer, Emily L. ; Govindarajan, Rama ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Weller, Robert A. ; Moum, James N.
    A yearlong record from moored current, temperature, conductivity, and four mixing meters (χpods) in the northernmost international waters of the Bay of Bengal quantifies upper‐ocean turbulent diffusivity of heat (Kt) and its response to the Indian monsoon. Data indicate (1) pronounced intermittency in turbulence at semidiurnal, diurnal, and near‐inertial timescales, (2) strong turbulence above 25‐m depth during the SW (summer) and NE (winter) monsoon relative to the transition periods (compare Kt > 10−4 m2/s to Kt  ∼ 10−5 m2/s, and (3) persistent suppression of turbulence (Kt < 10−5 m2/s) for 3 to 5 months in the latter half of the SW monsoon coincident with enhanced near‐surface stratification postarrival of low‐salinity water from the Brahmaputra‐Ganga‐Meghna delta and monsoonal precipitation. This suppression promotes maintenance of the low‐salinity surface waters within the interior of the bay preconditioning the upper northern Indian Ocean for the next year's monsoon.
  • Article
    Moored surface buoy observations of the diurnal warm layer
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2013-09-13) Prytherch, John ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Weller, Robert A.
    An extensive data set is used to examine the dynamics of diurnal warming in the upper ocean. The data set comprises more than 4700 days of measurements at five sites in the tropics and subtropics, obtained from surface moorings equipped to make comprehensive meteorological, incoming solar and infrared radiation, and high-resolution subsurface temperature (and, in some cases, velocity) measurements. The observations, which include surface warmings of up to 3.4°C, are compared with a selection of existing models of the diurnal warm layer (DWL). A simple one-layer physical model is shown to give a reasonable estimate of both the magnitude of diurnal surface warming (model-observation correlation 0.88) and the structure and temporal evolution of the DWL. Novel observations of velocity shear obtained during 346 days at one site, incorporating high-resolution (1 m) upper ocean (5–15 m) acoustic Doppler current profile measurements, are also shown to be in reasonable agreement with estimates from the physical model (daily maximum shear model-observation correlation 0.77). Physics-based improvements to the one-layer model (incorporation of rotation and freshwater terms) are discussed, though they do not provide significant improvements against the observations reported here. The simplicity and limitations of the physical model are used to discuss DWL dynamics. The physical model is shown to give better model performance under the range of forcing conditions experienced across the five sites than the more empirical models.
  • Article
    What controls seasonal evolution of sea surface temperature in the Bay of Bengal? Mixed layer heat budget analysis using moored buoy observations along 90°E
    (The Oceanography Society, 2016-06) Thangaprakash, V. P. ; Girishkumar, M. S. ; Suprit, K. ; Kumar, N. Suresh ; Chaudhuri, Dipanjan ; Dinesh, K. ; Kumar, Ashok ; Shivaprasad, S. ; Ravichandran, M. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Sundar, R. ; Weller, Robert A.
    Continuous time-series measurements of near surface meteorological and ocean variables obtained from Research Moored Array for African-Asian-Australian Monsoon Analysis and Prediction (RAMA) moorings at 15°N, 90°E; 12°N, 90°E; and 8°N, 90°E and an Ocean Moored buoy Network for Northern Indian Ocean (OMNI) mooring at 18°N, 90°E are used to improve understanding of air-sea interaction processes and mixed layer (ML) temperature variability in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) at seasonal time scales. Consistent with earlier studies, this analysis reveals that net surface heat flux primarily controls the ML heat balance. The penetrative component of shortwave radiation plays a crucial role in the ML heat budget in the BoB, especially during the spring warming phase when the ML is thin. During winter and summer, vertical processes contribute significantly to the ML heat budget. During winter, the presence of a strong barrier layer and a temperature inversion (warmer water below the ML) leads to warming of the ML by entrainment of warm subsurface water into the ML. During summer, the barrier layer is relatively weak, and the ML is warmer than the underlying water (i.e., no temperature inversion); hence, the entrainment cools the mixed layer. The contribution of horizontal advection to the ML heat budget is greatest during winter when it serves to warm the upper ocean. In general, the residual term in the ML heat budget equation is quite large during the ML cooling phase compared to the warming phase when the contribution from vertical heat flux is small.
  • Preprint
    Waves in the Red Sea : response to monsoonal and mountain gap winds
    ( 2013-05-30) Ralston, David K. ; Jiang, Houshuo ; Farrar, J. Thomas
    An unstructured grid, phase-averaged wave model forced with winds from a high resolution atmospheric model is used to evaluate wind wave conditions in the Red Sea over an approximately 2-year period. The Red Sea lies in a narrow rift valley, and the steep topography surrounding the basin steers the dominant wind patterns and consequently the wave climate. At large scales, the model results indicated that the primary seasonal variability in waves was due to the monsoonal wind reversal. During the winter, monsoon winds from the southeast generated waves with mean significant wave heights in excess of 2 m and mean periods of 8 s in the southern Red Sea, while in the northern part of the basin waves were smaller, shorter period, and from northwest. The zone of convergence of winds and waves typically occurred around 19-20˚N, but the location varied between 15 to 21.5˚N. During the summer, waves were generally smaller and from the northwest over most of the basin. While the seasonal winds oriented along the axis of the Red Sea drove much of the variability in the waves, the maximum wave heights in the simulations were not due to the monsoonal winds but instead were generated by localized mountain wind jets oriented across the basin (roughly east-west). During the summer, a mountain wind jet from the Tokar Gap enhanced the waves in the region of 18 and 20˚N, with monthly mean wave heights exceeding 2 m and maximum wave heights of 14 m during a period when the rest of the Red Sea was relatively calm. Smaller mountain gap wind jets along the northeast coast created large waves during the fall and winter, with a series of jets providing a dominant source of wave energy during these periods. Evaluation of the wave model results against observations from a buoy and satellites found that the spatial resolution of the wind model significantly affected the quality of the wave model results. Wind forcing from a 10-km grid produced higher skills for waves than winds from a 30-km grid, largely due to under-prediction of the mean wind speed and wave height with the coarser grid. The 30-km grid did not resolve the mountain gap wind jets, and thus predicted lower wave heights in the central Red Sea during the summer and along the northeast coast in the winter.
  • Article
    Two hundred fifty years of reconstructed South Asian summer monsoon intensity and decadal-scale variability
    (American Geophysical Union, 2019-03-29) Bryan, Sean P. ; Hughen, Konrad A. ; Karnauskas, Kristopher B. ; Farrar, J. Thomas
    Climate model simulations of the summer South Asian monsoon predict increased rainfall in response to anthropogenic warming. However, instrumental data show a decline in Indian rainfall in recent decades, underscoring the critical need for additional, independent records of past monsoon variability. Here, we present new reconstructions of annual summer South Asian Monsoon circulation over the past 250 years, based on the geochemical barium‐calcium signature of dust present in Red Sea corals. These records reveal how monsoon circulation has evolved with warming climate and indicate a significant multi‐century long monsoon intensification, with decreased multidecadal variance. Stronger monsoon circulation would have increased the moisture transport from the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal over the Indian subcontinent. If these trends continue, the monsoon circulation and associated moisture transport and precipitation will remain strong and stable for several decades.
  • Article
    Surface gravity wave transformation across a platform coral reef in the Red Sea
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-01-22) Lentz, Steven J. ; Churchill, James H. ; Davis, Kristen A. ; Farrar, J. Thomas
    The transformation of surface gravity waves across a platform reef in the Red Sea is examined using 18 months of observations and a wave transformation model developed for beaches. The platform reef is 200 m across, 700 m long, and the water depth varies from 0.3 to 1.2 m. Assuming changes in wave energy flux are due to wave breaking and bottom drag dissipation, the wave transformation model with optimal parameters characterizing the wave breaking (γm = 0.25) and bottom drag (hydrodynamic roughness zo = 0.08 m) accounts for 75%–90% of the observed wave-height variance at four sites. The observations and model indicate that wave breaking dominates the dissipation in a 20–30 m wide surf zone while bottom drag dominates the dissipation over the rest of the reef. Friction factors (drag coefficients) estimated from the observed wave energy balance range from fw = 0.5 to fw = 5 and increase as wave-orbital displacements decrease. The observed dependence on wave-orbital displacement is roughly consistent with extrapolation of an empirical relationship based on numerous laboratory studies of oscillatory flow. As a consequence of the dependence on wave-orbital displacement, wave friction factors vary temporally due to changes in water depth and incident wave heights, and spatially across the reef as the waves decay.