Greatbatch Richard J.

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Richard J.

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Evidence for the maintenance of slowly varying equatorial currents by intraseasonal variability

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.

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Annual and semiannual cycle of equatorial Atlantic circulation associated with basin-mode resonance

2016-10-05 , Brandt, Peter , Claus, Martin , Greatbatch, Richard J. , Kopte, Robert , Toole, John M. , Johns, William E. , Böning, Claus W.

Seasonal variability of the tropical Atlantic circulation is dominated by the annual cycle, but semiannual variability is also pronounced, despite weak forcing at that period. This study uses multiyear, full-depth velocity measurements from the central equatorial Atlantic to analyze the vertical structure of annual and semiannual variations of zonal velocity. A baroclinic modal decomposition finds that the annual cycle is dominated by the fourth mode and the semiannual cycle is dominated by the second mode. Similar local behavior is found in a high-resolution general circulation model. This simulation reveals that the annual and semiannual cycles of the respective dominant baroclinic modes are associated with characteristic basinwide structures. Using an idealized, linear, reduced-gravity model to simulate the dynamics of individual baroclinic modes, it is shown that the observed circulation variability can be explained by resonant equatorial basin modes. Corollary simulations of the reduced-gravity model with varying basin geometry (i.e., square basin vs realistic coastlines) or forcing (i.e., spatially uniform vs spatially variable wind) show a structural robustness of the simulated basin modes. A main focus of this study is the seasonal variability of the Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC) as identified in recent observational studies. Main characteristics of the observed EUC including seasonal variability of transport, core depth, and maximum core velocity can be explained by the linear superposition of the dominant equatorial basin modes as obtained from the reduced-gravity model.

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Changes in the North Atlantic Oscillation influence CO2 uptake in the North Atlantic over the past 2 decades

2008-12-31 , Thomas, Helmuth , Prowe, A. E. Friederike , Lima, Ivan D. , Doney, Scott C. , Wanninkhof, Rik , Greatbatch, Richard J. , Schuster, Ute , Corbiere, Antoine

Observational studies report a rapid decline of ocean CO2 uptake in the temperate North Atlantic during the last decade. We analyze these findings using ocean physical-biological numerical simulations forced with interannually varying atmospheric conditions for the period 1979–2004. In the simulations, surface ocean water mass properties and CO2 system variables exhibit substantial multiannual variability on sub-basin scales in response to wind-driven reorganization in ocean circulation and surface warming/cooling. The simulated temporal evolution of the ocean CO2 system is broadly consistent with reported observational trends and is influenced substantially by the phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Many of the observational estimates cover a period after 1995 of mostly negative or weakly positive NAO conditions, which are characterized in the simulations by reduced North Atlantic Current transport of subtropical waters into the eastern basin and by a decline in CO2 uptake. We suggest therefore that air-sea CO2 uptake may rebound in the eastern temperate North Atlantic during future periods of more positive NAO, similar to the patterns found in our model for the sustained positive NAO period in the early 1990s. Thus, our analysis indicates that the recent rapid shifts in CO2 flux reflect decadal perturbations superimposed on more gradual secular trends. The simulations highlight the need for long-term ocean carbon observations and modeling to fully resolve multiannual variability, which can obscure detection of the long-term changes associated with anthropogenic CO2 uptake and climate change.

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Forcing of the Atlantic equatorial deep jets derived from observations

2016-11-23 , Claus, Martin , Greatbatch, Richard J. , Brandt, Peter , Toole, John M.

The equatorial deep jets (EDJs) are a ubiquitous feature of the equatorial oceans; in the Atlantic Ocean, they are the dominant mode of interannual variability of the zonal flow at intermediate depth. On the basis of more than 10 years of moored observations of zonal velocity at 23°W, the vertically propagating EDJs are best described as superimposed oscillations of the 13th to the 23rd baroclinic modes with a dominant oscillation period for all modes of 1650 days. This period is close to the resonance period of the respective gravest equatorial basin mode for the dominant vertical modes 16 and 17. It is argued that since the equatorial basin mode is composed of linear equatorial waves, a linear reduced-gravity model can be employed for each baroclinic mode, driven by spatially homogeneous zonal forcing oscillating with the EDJ period. The fit of the model solutions to observations at 23°W yields a basinwide reconstruction of the EDJs and the associated vertical structure of their forcing. From the resulting vertical profile of mean power input and vertical energy flux on the equator, it follows that the EDJs are locally maintained over a considerable depth range, from 500 to 2500 m, with the maximum power input and vertical energy flux at 1300 m. The strong dissipation closely ties the apparent vertical propagation of energy to the vertical distribution of power input and, together with the EDJs’ prevailing downward phase propagation, requires the phase of the forcing of the EDJs to propagate downward.