Bracco Annalisa

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  • Article
    Horizontal advection, diffusion, and plankton spectra at the sea surface
    (American Geophysical Union, 2009-02-04) Bracco, Annalisa ; Clayton, Sophie A. ; Pasquero, Claudia
    Plankton patchiness is ubiquitous in the oceans, and various physical and biological processes have been proposed as its generating mechanisms. However, a coherent statement on the problem is missing, because of both a small number of suitable observations and an incomplete understanding of the properties of reactive tracers in turbulent media. It has been suggested that horizontal advection may be the dominant process behind the observed distributions of phytoplankton and zooplankton, acting to mix tracers with longer reaction times (Rt) down to smaller scales. Conversely, the relative distributions of sea surface temperature and phytoplankton has been attributed to small-scale upwelling, where tracers with longer Rt are able to homogenize more than those with shorter reaction times. Neither of the above mechanisms can explain simultaneously the (relative) spectral slopes of temperature, phytoplankton, and zooplankton. Here, with a simple advection model and a large suite of numerical experiments, we concentrate on some of the physical processes influencing the relative distributions of tracers at the ocean surface, and we investigate (1) the impact of the spatial scale of tracer supply, (2) the role played by coherent eddies on the distribution of tracers with different Rt, and (3) the role of diffusion (so far neglected). We show that diffusion determines the distribution of temperature, regardless of the nature of the forcing. We also find that coherent structures together with differential diffusion of tracers with different Rt impact the tracer distributions. This may help in understanding the highly variable nature of observed plankton spectra.
  • Dataset
    Deep convection simulation from the MITgcm (MIT General Circulation Model) (IVOMLS project)
    (Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO). Contact:, 2017-08-07) Ito, Takamitsu ; Bracco, Annalisa ; Sun, Daoxun
    All experiments are preformed using the MIT General Circulation Model (MITgcm). The model is configured to allow non-hydrostatic dynamics to explicitly resolve deep convection. The model domain is a box with periodic boundary conditions in the x and y directions of 32 x 32 km with horizontal resolution of 250 m. The box has a uniform depth of 2 km with 41 z-levels whose thicknesses increases from 10 m at surface to 100 m near the bottom. The linear equation of state is used throughout this study. 16 sensitivity experiments are designed to explore the behavior of oxygen uptake during the deep convection events under different cooling conditions. Two validation runs are also applied by forcing the model using observational data from Argo. In this data set, horizontally averaged profiles and vertical transport of dissolved oxygen and temperature from all experiments are included. A few transect of dissolved oxygen and temperature are also included to demonstrate the evolution of the convection event. For a complete list of measurements, refer to the supplemental document 'Field_names.pdf', and a full dataset description is included in the supplemental file 'Dataset_description.pdf'. The most current version of this dataset is available at:
  • Preprint
    A recipe for simulating the interannual variability of the Asian summer monsoon and its relation with ENSO
    ( 2006-08-21) Bracco, Annalisa ; Kucharski, Fred ; Molteni, Franco ; Hazeleger, Wilco ; Severijns, Camiel
    This study investigates how accurately the interannual variability over the Indian Ocean basin and the relationship between the Indian summer monsoon and the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) can be simulated by different modelling strategies. With a hierarchy of models, from an atmospherical general circulation model (AGCM) forced by observed SST, to a coupled model with the ocean component limited to the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, the role of heat fluxes and of interactive coupling is analyzed. Whenever sea surface temperature anomalies in the Indian basin are created by the coupled model, the inverse relationship between the ENSO index and the Indian summer monsoon rainfall is recovered, and it is preserved if the atmospherical model is forced by the SSTs created by the coupled model. If the ocean model domain is limited to the Indian Ocean, changes in the Walker circulation over the Pacific during El Nino years induce a decrease of rainfall over the Indian subcontinent. However the observed correlation between the ENSO and the Indian Ocean Zonal Mode (IOZM) is not properly modelled and the two indices are not significantly correlated, independently on season. Whenever the ocean domain extends to the Pacific, and ENSO can impact both the atmospheric circulation and the ocean subsurface in the equatorial Eastern Indian Ocean, modelled precipitation patterns associated both to ENSO and to the IOZM closely resemble the observations.
  • Article
    Low-frequency variability of the Indian monsoon-ENSO relationship and the tropical Atlantic : the "Weakening" of the 1980s and 1990s
    (American Meteorological Society, 2007-08-15) Kucharski, Fred ; Bracco, Annalisa ; Yoo, J. H. ; Molteni, Franco
    The Indian monsoon–El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) relationship, according to which a drier than normal monsoon season precedes peak El Niño conditions, weakened significantly during the last two decades of the twentieth century. In this work an ensemble of integrations of an atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) coupled to an ocean model in the Indian Basin and forced with observed sea surface temperatures (SSTs) elsewhere is used to investigate the causes of such a weakening. The observed interdecadal variability of the ENSO–monsoon relationship during the period 1950–99 is realistically simulated by the model and a dominant portion of the variability is associated with changes in the tropical Atlantic SSTs in boreal summer. In correspondence to ENSO, the tropical Atlantic SSTs display negative anomalies south of the equator in the last quarter of the twentieth century and weakly positive anomalies in the previous period. Those anomalies in turn produce heating anomalies, which excite a Rossby wave response in the Indian Ocean in both the model and the reanalysis data, impacting the time-mean monsoon circulation. The proposed mechanism of remote response of the Indian rainfall to tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures is further tested forcing the AGCM coupled to the ocean model in the Indian Basin with climatological SSTs in the Atlantic Ocean and observed anomalies elsewhere. In this second ensemble the ENSO–monsoon relationship is characterized by a stable and strong anticorrelation through the whole second half of the twentieth century.
  • Article
    Ocean climate observing requirements in support of climate research and climate information
    (Frontiers Media, 2019-07-31) Stammer, Detlef ; Bracco, Annalisa ; AchutaRao, Krishna ; Beal, Lisa M. ; Bindoff, Nathaniel L. ; Braconnot, Pascale ; Cai, Wenju ; Chen, Dake ; Collins, Matthew ; Danabasoglu, Gokhan ; Dewitte, Boris ; Farneti, Riccardo ; Fox-Kemper, Baylor ; Fyfe, John ; Griffies, Stephen M. ; Jayne, Steven R. ; Lazar, Alban ; Lengaigne, Matthieu ; Lin, Xiaopei ; Marsland, Simon ; Minobe, Shoshiro ; Monteiro, Pedro M. S. ; Robinson, Walter ; Roxy, Mathew Koll ; Rykaczewski, Ryan R. ; Speich, Sabrina ; Smith, Inga J. ; Solomon, Amy ; Storto, Andrea ; Takahashi, Ken ; Toniazzo, Thomas ; Vialard, Jérôme
    Natural variability and change of the Earth’s climate have significant global societal impacts. With its large heat and carbon capacity and relatively slow dynamics, the ocean plays an integral role in climate, and provides an important source of predictability at seasonal and longer timescales. In addition, the ocean provides the slowly evolving lower boundary to the atmosphere, driving, and modifying atmospheric weather. Understanding and monitoring ocean climate variability and change, to constrain and initialize models as well as identify model biases for improved climate hindcasting and prediction, requires a scale-sensitive, and long-term observing system. A climate observing system has requirements that significantly differ from, and sometimes are orthogonal to, those of other applications. In general terms, they can be summarized by the simultaneous need for both large spatial and long temporal coverage, and by the accuracy and stability required for detecting the local climate signals. This paper reviews the requirements of a climate observing system in terms of space and time scales, and revisits the question of which parameters such a system should encompass to meet future strategic goals of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP), with emphasis on ocean and sea-ice covered areas. It considers global as well as regional aspects that should be accounted for in designing observing systems in individual basins. Furthermore, the paper discusses which data-driven products are required to meet WCRP research and modeling needs, and ways to obtain them through data synthesis and assimilation approaches. Finally, it addresses the need for scientific capacity building and international collaboration in support of the collection of high-quality measurements over the large spatial scales and long time-scales required for climate research, bridging the scientific rational to the required resources for implementation.
  • Article
    Transport, fate and impacts of the deep plume of petroleum hydrocarbons formed during the Macondo blowout
    (Frontiers Media, 2020-09-11) Bracco, Annalisa ; Paris, Claire B. ; Esbaugh, Andrew J. ; Frasier, Kaitlin ; Joye, Samantha B. ; Liu, Guangpeng ; Polzin, Kurt L. ; Vaz, Ana Carolina
    The 2010 Macondo oil well blowout consisted in a localized, intense infusion of petroleum hydrocarbons to the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. A substantial amount of these hydrocarbons did not reach the ocean surface but remained confined at depth within subsurface plumes, the largest and deepest of which was found at ∼ 1000–1200 m of depth, along the continental slope (the deep plume). This review outlines the challenges the science community overcame since 2010, the discoveries and the remaining open questions in interpreting and predicting the distribution, fate and impact of the Macondo oil entrained in the deep plume. In the past 10 years, the scientific community supported by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) and others, has achieved key milestones in observing, conceptualizing and understanding the physical oceanography of the Gulf of Mexico along its northern continental shelf and slope. Major progress has been made in modeling the transport, evolution and degradation of hydrocarbons. Here we review this new knowledge and modeling tools, how our understanding of the deep plume formation and evolution has evolved, and how research in the past decade may help preparing the scientific community in the event of a future spill in the Gulf or elsewhere. We also summarize briefly current knowledge of the plume fate – in terms of microbial degradation and geochemistry – and impacts on fish, deep corals and mammals. Finally, we discuss observational, theoretical, and modeling limitations that constrain our ability to predict the three-dimensional movement of waters in this basin and the fate and impacts of the hydrocarbons they may carry, and we discuss research priorities to overcome them.
  • Article
    Eddy formation near the west coast of Greenland
    (American Meteorological Society, 2008-09) Bracco, Annalisa ; Pedlosky, Joseph ; Pickart, Robert S.
    This paper extends A. Bracco and J. Pedlosky’s investigation of the eddy-formation mechanism in the eastern Labrador Sea by including a more realistic depiction of the boundary current. The quasigeostrophic model consists of a meridional, coastally trapped current with three vertical layers. The current configuration and topographic domain are chosen to match, as closely as possible, the observations of the boundary current and the varying topographic slope along the West Greenland coast. The role played by the bottom-intensified component of the boundary current on the formation of the Labrador Sea Irminger Rings is explored. Consistent with the earlier study, a short, localized bottom-trapped wave is responsible for most of the perturbation energy growth. However, for the instability to occur in the three-layer model, the deepest component of the boundary current must be sufficiently strong, highlighting the importance of the near-bottom flow. The model is able to reproduce important features of the observed vortices in the eastern Labrador Sea, including the polarity, radius, rate of formation, and vertical structure. At the time of formation, the eddies have a surface signature as well as a strong circulation at depth, possibly allowing for the transport of both surface and near-bottom water from the boundary current into the interior basin. This work also supports the idea that changes in the current structure could be responsible for the observed interannual variability in the number of Irminger Rings formed.
  • Article
    Review of oceanic mesoscale processes in the North Pacific: physical and biogeochemical impacts
    (Elsevier, 2023-02-20) Ueno, Hiromichi ; Bracco, Annalisa ; Barth, John A. ; Budyansky, Maxim V. ; Hasegawa, Daisuke ; Itoh, Sachihiko ; Kim, Sung Yong ; Ladd, Carol ; Lin, Xiaopei ; Park, Young-Gyu ; Prants, Sergey ; Ross, Tetjana ; Rypina, Irina I. ; Sasai, Yoshikazu ; Trusenkova, Olga O. ; Ustinova, Elena I. ; Zhong, Yisen
    Mesoscale eddies impact the marine ecosystem of the North Pacific and its marginal Seas.•Impacts vary with time and regions. Knowns and unknowns are summarized.•How climate change will modify mesoscale processes remains a key open challenge.Physical transport dynamics occurring at the ocean mesoscale (∼20 km – 200 km) largely determine the environment in which biogeochemical processes occur. As a result, understanding and modeling mesoscale transport is crucial for determining the physical modulations of the marine ecosystem. This review synthesizes current knowledge of mesoscale eddies and their impacts on the marine ecosystem across most of the North Pacific and its marginal Seas. The North Pacific domain north of 20°N is divided in four regions, and for each region known, unknowns and known-unknowns are summarized with a focus on physical properties, physical-biogeochemical interactions, and the impacts of climate variability and change on the eddy field and on the marine ecosystem.