Chen Ke

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  • Article
    Influence of the Kuroshio interannual variability on the summertime precipitation over the East China Sea and adjacent area
    (American Meteorological Society, 2019-04-01) Gan, Bolan ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Joyce, Terrence M. ; Chen, Ke ; Wu, Lixin
    Much attention has been paid to the climatic impacts of changes in the Kuroshio Extension, instead of the Kuroshio in the East China Sea (ECS). This study, however, reveals the prominent influences of the lateral shift of the Kuroshio at interannual time scale in late spring [April–June (AMJ)] on the sea surface temperature (SST) and precipitation in summer around the ECS, based on high-resolution satellite observations and ERA-Interim. A persistent offshore displacement of the Kuroshio during AMJ can result in cold SST anomalies in the northern ECS and the Japan/East Sea until late summer, which correspondingly causes anomalous cooling of the lower troposphere. Consequently, the anomalous cold SST in the northern ECS acts as a key driver to robustly enhance the precipitation from the Yangtze River delta to Kyushu in early summer (May–August) and over the central ECS in late summer (July–September). In view of the moisture budget analysis, two different physical processes modulated by the lateral shift of the Kuroshio are identified to account for the distinct responses of precipitation in early and late summer, respectively. First, the anomalous cold SST in the northern ECS induced by the Kuroshio offshore shift is likely conducive to the earlier arrival of the mei-yu–baiu front at 30°–32°N and its subsequent slower northward movement, which may prolong the local rainy season, leading to the increased rain belt in early summer. Second, the persistent cold SST anomalies in late summer strengthen the near-surface baroclinicity and the associated strong atmospheric fronts embedded in the extratropical cyclones over the central ECS, which in turn enhances the local rainfall.
  • Article
    The role of wind stress in driving the along-shelf flow in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-03-30) Yang, Jiayan ; Chen, Ke
    The along-shelf circulation in the Northwest Atlantic (NWA) Ocean is characterized by an equatorward flow from Greenland's south coast to Cape Hatters. The mean flow is considered to be primarily forced by freshwater discharges from rivers and glaciers while its variability is driven by both freshwater fluxes and wind stress. In this study, we hypothesize and test that the wind stress is important for the mean along-shelf flow. A two-layer model with realistic topography when forced by wind stress alone simulates a circulation system on the NWA shelves that is broadly consistent with that derived from observations, including an equatorward flow from Greenland coast to the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB). The along-shelf sea-level gradient is close to a previous estimate based on observations. The along-shelf flows exhibit strong seasonal variations with along-shelf transports being strong in fall/winter and weak in spring/summer, consistent with available observations. It is found that the NWA shelf circulation is affected by both wind-driven gyres through their western boundary currents and wind-stress forcing on the shelf especially along the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador. The local wind stress forcing has more direct impacts on flows in shallower waters along the coast while the open-ocean gyres tend to affect the circulations along the outer shelf. Our conclusion is that wind stress is an important forcing of the main along-shelf flows in the NWA. One objective of this study is to motivate further examination of whether wind stress is as important as freshwater forcing for the mean flow.
  • Article
    Long-term SST variability on the Northwest Atlantic continental shelf and slope
    (American Geophysical Union, 2020-01-06) Chen, Zhuomin ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Chen, Ke ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Joyce, Terrence M.
    The meridional coherence, connectivity, and regional inhomogeneity in long‐term sea surface temperature (SST) variability over the Northwest Atlantic continental shelf and slope from 1982–2018 are investigated using observational data sets. A meridionally concurrent large SST warming trend is identified as the dominant signal over the length of the continental shelf and slope between Cape Hatteras in North Carolina and Cape Chidley, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The linear trends are 0.37 ± 0.06 and 0.39 ± 0.06 °C/decade for the shelf and slope regions, respectively. These meridionally averaged SST time series over the shelf and slope are consistent with each other and across multiple longer observational data sets with records dating back to 1900. The coherence between the long‐term meridionally averaged time series over the shelf and slope and basin‐wide averaged SST in the North Atlantic implies approximately two thirds of the warming trend during 1982–2018 may be attributed to natural climate variability and the rest to externally forced change including anthropogenic warming.
  • Article
    The interannual variability of the breakdown of fall stratification on the New Jersey Shelf
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-09-12) Forsyth, Jacob S. T. ; Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Andres, Magdalena ; Chen, Ke
    During the seasonal evolution of stratification on the New Jersey shelf in the fall, strong thermal stratification that was established in the preceding summer is broken down through wind‐driven processes and surface cooling. Ten years of output from a Regional Ocean Modeling Systems run and a one‐dimensional mixed layer model is used here to examine the interannual variability in the strength of the stratification and in the processes that reduce stratification in fall. Our analysis shows that the strength of the stratification at the end of the summer is not correlated with the timing of shelf destratification. This indicates that processes that occur within the fall are more important for the timing of stratification breakdown than are the initial fall conditions. Furthermore, wind‐driven processes reduce a greater fraction of the stratification in each year than does the surface cooling during the fall. Winds affect the density gradients on the shelf through both changes to the temperature and salinity fields. Processes associated with the downwelling‐favorable winds are more effective than those during upwelling‐favorable winds in breaking down the vertical density gradients. In the first process, cross‐shelf advective fluxes during storms act to decrease stratification during downwelling‐favorable winds and increase stratification during upwelling‐favorable winds. Second, there is also enhanced velocity shear during downwelling‐favorable winds, which allows for more shear instabilities that break down stratification via mixing. Observational data and model output from Tropical Storm Ernesto compare favorably and suggest that downwelling‐favorable winds act through the mechanisms identified from the Regional Ocean Modeling Systems results.
  • Article
    Variational data assimilative modeling of the Gulf of Maine in spring and summer 2010
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-05-19) Li, Yizhen ; He, Ruoying ; Chen, Ke ; McGillicuddy, Dennis J.
    A data assimilative ocean circulation model is used to hindcast the Gulf of Maine [GOM) circulation in spring and summer 2010. Using the recently developed incremental strong constraint 4D Variational data assimilation algorithm, the model assimilates satellite sea surface temperature and in situ temperature and salinity profiles measured by expendable bathythermograph, Argo floats, and shipboard CTD casts. Validation against independent observations shows that the model skill is significantly improved after data assimilation. The data-assimilative model hindcast reproduces the temporal and spatial evolution of the ocean state, showing that a sea level depression southwest of the Scotian Shelf played a critical role in shaping the gulf-wide circulation. Heat budget analysis further demonstrates that both advection and surface heat flux contribute to temperature variability. The estimated time scale for coastal water to travel from the Scotian Shelf to the Jordan Basin is around 60 days, which is consistent with previous estimates based on in situ observations. Our study highlights the importance of resolving upstream and offshore forcing conditions in predicting the coastal circulation in the GOM.
  • Article
    On the vertical velocity and nutrient delivery in warm core rings
    (American Meteorological Society, 2020-05-12) Chen, Ke ; Gaube, Peter ; Pallás-Sanz, Enric
    We examine various contributions to the vertical velocity field within large mesoscale eddies by analyzing multiple solutions to an idealized numerical model of a representative anticyclonic warm core Gulf Stream ring. Initial conditions are constructed to reproduce the observed density and nutrient profiles collected during the Warm Core Rings Program. The contributions to vertical fluxes diagnosed from the numerical simulations are compared against a divergence-based, semidiagnostic equation and a generalized omega equation to better understand the dynamics of the vertical velocity field. Frictional decay alone is found to be ineffective in raising isopycnals and transporting nutrients to the upper ocean. With representative wind forcing, the magnitude of vorticity gradient–induced Ekman pumping is not necessarily larger than the current-induced counterpart on a time scale relevant to ecosystem response. Under realistic forcing conditions, strain deformation can perturb the ring to be noncircular and induce vertical velocities much larger than the Ekman vertical velocities. Nutrient budget diagnosis, together with analysis of the relative magnitudes of the various types of vertical fluxes, allows us to describe the time-scale dependence of nutrient delivery. At time scales that are relevant to individual phytoplankton (from hours to days), the magnitudes of nutrient flux by Ekman velocities and deformation-induced velocities are comparable. Over the life span of a typical warm core ring, which can span multiple seasons, surface current–induced Ekman pumping is the most effective mechanism in upper-ocean nutrient enrichment because of its persistence in the center of anticyclones regardless of the direction of the wind forcing.
  • Article
    Support for the Slope Sea as a major spawning ground for Atlantic bluefin tuna: evidence from larval abundance, growth rates, and particle-tracking simulations
    (Canadian Science Publishing, 2021-10-20) Hernández, Christina M. ; Richardson, David E. ; Rypina, Irina I. ; Chen, Ke ; Marancik, Katrin E. ; Shulzitsk, Kathryn ; Llopiz, Joel K.
    Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) are commercially and ecologically valuable, but management is complicated by their highly migratory lifestyle. Recent collections of bluefin tuna larvae in the Slope Sea off northeastern United States have opened questions about how this region contributes to population dynamics. We analyzed larvae collected in the Slope Sea and the Gulf of Mexico in 2016 to estimate larval abundance and growth rates and used a high-resolution regional ocean circulation model to estimate spawning locations and larval transport. We did not detect a regional difference in growth rates, but found that Slope Sea larvae were larger than Gulf of Mexico larvae prior to exogenous feeding. Slope Sea larvae generally backtracked to locations north of Cape Hatteras and would have been retained within the Slope Sea until the early juvenile stage. Overall, our results provide supporting evidence that the Slope Sea is a major spawning ground that is likely to be important for population dynamics. Further study of larvae and spawning adults in the region should be prioritized to support management decisions.
  • Article
    Mesoscale and submesoscale shelf-ocean exchanges initialize an advective marine heatwave
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-12-08) Chen, Ke ; Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Yang, Jiayan
    Observations and high-resolution numerical modeling are used to investigate the dynamical processes related to the initiation of an advective Marine Heatwave in the Middle Atlantic Bight of the Northwest Atlantic continental shelf. Both the observations and the model identify two significant cross-shelf intrusions in November 2016 and January 2017, with the latter inducing large-magnitude water mass anomalies across the shelf. Model prognostic fields reveal the importance of the combination of cyclonic eddies or ringlets and upwelling-favorable winds in producing the large-distance cross-shelf penetration and temperature/salinity anomalies. The cyclonic eddies in close proximity to the shelfbreak set up local along-isobath pressure gradients and provide favorable conditions for the intensification of the shelfbreak front, both processes driving cross-isobath intrusions of warm, salty offshore water onto the outer continental shelf. Subsequently, strong and persistent upwelling-favorable winds drive a rapid, bottom intensified cross-shelf penetration in January 2017 composed of the anomalous water mass off the shelfbreak. The along-shelf settings including realistic representation of bathymetric features are essential in the characteristics of the cross-shelf penetration. The results highlight the importance of smaller scale cyclonic eddies and the intricacy of the interplay between multiple processes to drive significant cross-shelf events.
  • Article
    Mean circulation in the coastal ocean off northeastern North America from a regional-scale ocean model
    (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2015-07-03) Chen, Ke ; He, Ruoying
    A regional-scale ocean model was used to hindcast the coastal circulation over the Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB) and Gulf of Maine (GOM) from 2004 to 2013. The model was nested inside a data assimilative global ocean model that provided initial and open boundary conditions. Realistic atmospheric forcing, tides and observed river runoff were also used to drive the model. Hindcast solutions were compared against observations, which included coastal sea levels, satellite altimetry sea surface height, in situ temperature and salinity measurements in the GOM, and observed mean depth-averaged velocities. Good agreements with observations suggest that the hindcast model is capable of capturing the major circulation variability in the MAB and GOM. Time- and space-continuous hindcast fields were used to depict the mean circulation, along- and cross-shelf transport and the associated momentum balances. The hindcast confirms the presence of the equatorward mean shelf circulation, which varies from 2.33 Sv over the Scotian Shelf to 0.22 Sv near Cape Hatteras. Using the 200 m isobath as the shelf/slope boundary, the mean cross-shelf transport calculations indicate that the shelfbreak segments off the Gulf of Maine (including the southern flank of Georges Bank and the Northeast Channel) and Cape Hatteras are the major sites for shelf water export. The momentum analysis reveals that the along-shelf sea level difference from Nova Scotia to Cape Hatteras is about 0.36 m. The nonlinear advection, stress, and horizontal viscosity terms all contribute to the ageostrophic circulation in the along-isobath direction, whereas the nonlinear advection plays a dominant role in determining the ageostrophic current in the cross-isobath direction.
  • Article
    Data assimilative modeling investigation of Gulf Stream Warm Core Ring interaction with continental shelf and slope circulation
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-09-12) Chen, Ke ; He, Ruoying ; Powell, Brian S. ; Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Moore, Andrew M. ; Arango, Hernan G.
    A data assimilative ocean circulation model is used to hindcast the interaction between a large Gulf Stream Warm Core Ring (WCR) with the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) shelf and slope circulation. Using the recently developed Incremental Strong constraint 4D Variational (I4D-Var) data assimilation algorithm, the model assimilates mapped satellite sea surface height (SSH), sea surface temperature (SST), in situ temperature, and salinity profiles measured by expendable bathythermograph, Argo floats, shipboard CTD casts, and glider transects. Model validations against independent hydrographic data show 60% and 57% error reductions in temperature and salinity, respectively. The WCR significantly changed MAB continental slope and shelf circulation. The mean cross-shelf transport induced by the WCR is estimated to be 0.28 Sv offshore, balancing the mean along-shelf transport by the shelfbreak jet. Large heat/salt fluxes with peak values of 8900 W m−2/4 × 10−4 kg m−2 s−1 are found when the WCR was impinging upon the shelfbreak. Vorticity analysis reveals the nonlinear advection term, as well as the residual of joint effect of baroclinicity and bottom relief (JEBAR) and advection of potential vorticity (APV) play important roles in controlling the variability of the eddy vorticity.
  • Article
    Diagnosing the warming of the Northeastern U.S. Coastal Ocean in 2012 : a linkage between the atmospheric jet stream variability and ocean response
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-01-13) Chen, Ke ; Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Lentz, Steven J. ; Bane, John M.
    The temperature in the coastal ocean off the northeastern U.S. during the first half of 2012 was anomalously warm, and this resulted in major impacts on the marine ecosystem and commercial fisheries. Understanding the spatiotemporal characteristics of the warming and its underlying dynamical processes is important for improving ecosystem management. Here, we show that the warming in the first half of 2012 was systematic from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras. Moreover, the warm anomalies extended through the water column, and the local temperature change of shelf water in the Middle Atlantic Bight was largely balanced by the atmospheric heat flux. The anomalous atmospheric jet stream position induced smaller heat loss from the ocean and caused a much slower cooling rate in late autumn and early winter of 2011–2012. Strong jet stream intraseasonal oscillations in the first half of 2012 systematically increased the warm anomalies over the continental shelf. Despite the importance of advection in prior northeastern U.S. continental shelf interannual temperature anomalies, our analyses show that much of the 2012 warming event was attributed to local warming from the atmosphere.
  • Article
    Editorial: advances in understanding marine heatwaves and their impacts
    (Frontiers Media, 2020-03-13) Benthuysen, Jessica A. ; Oliver, Eric C. J. ; Chen, Ke ; Wernberg, Thomas
    Editorial on the Research Topic Advances in Understanding Marine Heatwaves and Their Impacts In recent years, prolonged, extremely warm water events, known as marine heatwaves, have featured prominently around the globe with their disruptive consequences for marine ecosystems. Over the past decade, marine heatwaves have occurred from the open ocean to marginal seas and coastal regions, including the unprecedented 2011 Western Australia marine heatwave (Ningaloo Niño) in the eastern Indian Ocean (e.g., Pearce et al., 2011), the 2012 northwest Atlantic marine heatwave (Chen et al., 2014), the 2012 and 2015 Mediterranean Sea marine heatwaves (Darmaraki et al., 2019), the 2013/14 western South Atlantic (Rodrigues et al., 2019) and 2017 southwestern Atlantic marine heatwave (Manta et al., 2018), the persistent 2014–2016 “Blob” in the North Pacific (Bond et al., 2015; Di Lorenzo and Mantua, 2016), the 2015/16 marine heatwave spanning the southeastern tropical Indian Ocean to the Coral Sea (Benthuysen et al., 2018), and the Tasman Sea marine heatwaves in 2015/16 (Oliver et al., 2017) and 2017/18 (Salinger et al., 2019). These events have set new records for marine heatwave intensity, the temperature anomaly exceeding a climatology, and duration, the sustained period of extreme temperatures. We have witnessed the profound consequences of these thermal disturbances from acute changes to marine life to enduring impacts on species, populations, and communities (Smale et al., 2019). These marine heatwaves have spurred a diversity of research spanning the methodology of identifying and quantifying the events (e.g., Hobday et al., 2016) and their historical trends (Oliver et al., 2018), understanding their physical mechanisms and relationships with climate modes (e.g., Holbrook et al., 2019), climate projections (Frölicher et al., 2018), and understanding the biological impacts for organisms and ecosystem function and services (e.g., Smale et al., 2019). By using sea surface temperature percentiles, temperature anomalies can be quantified based on their local variability and account for the broad range of temperature regimes in different marine environments. For temperatures exceeding a 90th-percentile threshold beyond a period of 5-days, marine heatwaves can be classified into categories based on their intensity (Hobday et al., 2018). While these recent advances have provided the framework for understanding key aspects of marine heatwaves, a challenge lies ahead for effective integration of physical and biological knowledge for prediction of marine heatwaves and their ecological impacts. This Research Topic is motivated by the need to understand the mechanisms for how marine heatwaves develop and the biological responses to thermal stress events. This Research Topic is a collection of 18 research articles and three review articles aimed at advancing our knowledge of marine heatwaves within four themes. These themes include methods for detecting marine heatwaves, understanding their physical mechanisms, seasonal forecasting and climate projections, and ecological impacts.
  • Article
    Unusual cross-shelf transport driven by the changes of wind pattern in a marginal sea
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-11-01) Yao, Zhigang ; Chen, Ke ; Ding, Yang ; Lin, Xiaopei ; Bao, Xianwen ; Qiao, Lulu
    The traditional understanding of the regional circulation in the Northwest Pacific marginal seas is that the Korean Coastal Current flows southward, following the isobaths of 20–50 m. However, an unusual tongue-shaped structure of cold water is observed in satellite SST data in January 2017, indicating a possible offshore spread of cold coastal water into the middle Southern Yellow Sea (SYS). Additional observations, including in situ hydrographic data as well as direct current measurement, also suggest this cross-shelf transport of the Korean Coastal Water in January 2017. Our analysis shows that this flow breaks through the isobaths at ∼37°N, moves southward between 50–75 m, and eventually veers anti-cyclonically at ∼35°N to join the western slope of the SYS. This circulation pattern is further supported by heat budget analysis. Diagnosis of potential vorticity (PV) reveals that the elevated negative PV anomaly imposed by surface wind stress favors this unusual cross-shelf transport. The change of wind pattern, although under a deceasing wind speed condition, plays an important role. This work provides an alternative view of the wintertime circulation pattern and motivates future studies of the variability of the coastal currents over interannual and longer time scales in the SYS.
  • Article
    The role of atmospheric forcing versus ocean advection during the extreme warming of the Northeast U.S. continental shelf in 2012
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-06-15) Chen, Ke ; Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Zhang, Weifeng G.
    In the coastal ocean off the Northeast U.S., the sea surface temperature (SST) in the first half of 2012 was the highest on the record for the past roughly 150 years of recorded observations. The underlying dynamical processes responsible for this extreme event are examined using a numerical model, and the relative contributions of air-sea heat flux versus lateral ocean advective heat flux are quantified. The model accurately reproduces the observed vertical structure and the spatiotemporal characteristics of the thermohaline condition of the Gulf of Maine and the Middle Atlantic Bight waters during the anomalous warming period. Analysis of the model results show that the warming event was primarily driven by the anomalous air-sea heat flux, while the smaller contribution by the ocean advection worked against this flux by acting to cool the shelf. The anomalous air-sea heat flux exhibited a shelf-wide coherence, consistent with the shelf-wide warming pattern, while the ocean advective heat flux was dominated by localized, relatively smaller-scale processes. The anomalous cooling due to advection primarily resulted from the along-shelf heat flux divergence in the Gulf of Maine, while in the Middle Atlantic Bight the advective contribution from the along-shelf and cross-shelf heat flux divergences was comparable. The modeling results confirm the conclusion of the recent analysis of in situ data by Chen et al. (2014a) that the changes in the large-scale atmospheric circulation in the winter of 2011–2012 primarily caused the extreme warm anomaly in the spring of 2012. The effect of along-shelf or cross-shelf ocean advection on the warm anomalies from either the Scotian Shelf or adjacent continental slope was secondary.
  • Article
    Seasonal prediction of bottom temperature on the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-05-03) Chen, Zhuomin ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Chen, Ke ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Joyce, Terrence M. ; Miller, Timothy J. ; Nye, Janet A. ; Saba, Vincent S. ; Stock, Brian C.
    The Northeast U.S. shelf (NES) is an oceanographically dynamic marine ecosystem and supports some of the most valuable demersal fisheries in the world. A reliable prediction of NES environmental variables, particularly ocean bottom temperature, could lead to a significant improvement in demersal fisheries management. However, the current generation of climate model-based seasonal-to-interannual predictions exhibits limited prediction skill in this continental shelf environment. Here, we have developed a hierarchy of statistical seasonal predictions for NES bottom temperatures using an eddy-resolving ocean reanalysis data set. A simple, damped local persistence prediction model produces significant skill for lead times up to ∼5 months in the Mid-Atlantic Bight and up to ∼10 months in the Gulf of Maine, although the prediction skill varies notably by season. Considering temperature from a nearby or upstream (i.e., more poleward) region as an additional predictor generally improves prediction skill, presumably as a result of advective processes. Large-scale atmospheric and oceanic indices, such as Gulf Stream path indices (GSIs) and the North Atlantic Oscillation Index, are also tested as predictors for NES bottom temperatures. Only the GSI constructed from temperature observed at 200 m depth significantly improves the prediction skill relative to local persistence. However, the prediction skill from this GSI is not larger than that gained using models incorporating nearby or upstream shelf/slope temperatures. Based on these results, a simplified statistical model has been developed, which can be tailored to fisheries management for the NES.
  • Article
    Does Pacific variability influence the Northwest Atlantic shelf temperature?
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-06-28) Chen, Ke ; Kwon, Young-Oh
    The relationship between North Pacific variability and sea surface temperature (SST) of the Northwest Atlantic continental shelf is examined over interannual time scale in 1982–2014. Statistically significant negative correlations exist between Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index and SST in the Gulf of Maine (GoM) in spring and summer. Cross‐correlation analysis further suggests significant negative lead‐lag correlations, with the spring PDO leading the GoM SST by 0–3 months while the summer PDO lags by 1–3 months. These correlations are dominated by the interannual component of the PDO. Statistical relationships are placed in context by further investigating the physical processes controlling the upper ocean mixed layer temperature budget in the GoM. The results reveal contrasting roles between the atmosphere and the ocean in spring and summer, respectively. Local atmospheric forcings, in particular the radiative air‐sea fluxes, are the dominant driver for the interannual variability of springtime SST over the Northwest Atlantic shelf. In contrast, oceanic terms are important in controlling the interannual variability of summertime SST. As a result, reconstructed SST using atmospheric forcings successfully reproduces the statistical relationship with PDO in spring, but not in summer. Furthermore, it is shown that the SST anomalies in the central and eastern North Pacific play a key role in these relationships.
  • Article
    Atmospheric and offshore forcing of temperature variability at the shelf break
    (The Oceanography Society, 2018-02-09) Chen, Ke ; Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Plueddemann, Albert J.
    Knowledge of heat balance and associated temperature variability in the Northwest Atlantic coastal ocean is important for understanding impacts of climate change such as how ocean warming will affect the management of fisheries. Heat balances are particularly complicated near the edge of the continental shelf, where the cross-shelf temperature gradients within the shelf-break front complicate the competing influences of air-sea flux anomalies versus ocean advection. We review the atmospheric and oceanic processes associated with heat balance over the Northwest Atlantic continental shelf and slope, with an emphasis on the scale-dependent nature of the heat balance. We then use data from the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Pioneer Array to demonstrate heat balance scale dependence at the southern New England shelf break, and the capability of the array to capture multiscale ocean processes. Comparison of the cumulative effects of air-sea heat fluxes measured at the OOI Pioneer Array from May 2015 to April 2016 with the actual temperature change shows the importance of advective processes in overall heat balance near the shelf break.
  • Article
    Seasonal-to-interannual prediction of North American coastal marine ecosystems: forecast methods, mechanisms of predictability, and priority developments
    (Elsevier, 2020-02-20) Jacox, Michael ; Alexander, Michael A. ; Siedlecki, Samantha A. ; Chen, Ke ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Brodie, Stephanie ; Ortiz, Ivonne ; Tommasi, Desiree ; Widlansky, Matthew J. ; Barrie, Daniel ; Capotondi, Antonietta ; Cheng, Wei ; Di Lorenzo, Emanuele ; Edwards, Christopher ; Fiechter, Jerome ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Hazen, Elliott L. ; Hermann, Albert J. ; Kumar, Arun ; Miller, Arthur J. ; Pirhalla, Douglas ; Pozo Buil, Mercedes ; Ray, Sulagna ; Sheridan, Scott ; Subramanian, Aneesh C. ; Thompson, Philip ; Thorne, Lesley ; Annamalai, Hariharasubramanian ; Aydin, Kerim ; Bograd, Steven ; Griffis, Roger B. ; Kearney, Kelly ; Kim, Hyemi ; Mariotti, Annarita ; Merrifield, Mark ; Rykaczewski, Ryan R.
    Marine ecosystem forecasting is an area of active research and rapid development. Promise has been shown for skillful prediction of physical, biogeochemical, and ecological variables on a range of timescales, suggesting potential for forecasts to aid in the management of living marine resources and coastal communities. However, the mechanisms underlying forecast skill in marine ecosystems are often poorly understood, and many forecasts, especially for biological variables, rely on empirical statistical relationships developed from historical observations. Here, we review statistical and dynamical marine ecosystem forecasting methods and highlight examples of their application along U.S. coastlines for seasonal-to-interannual (1–24 month) prediction of properties ranging from coastal sea level to marine top predator distributions. We then describe known mechanisms governing marine ecosystem predictability and how they have been used in forecasts to date. These mechanisms include physical atmospheric and oceanic processes, biogeochemical and ecological responses to physical forcing, and intrinsic characteristics of species themselves. In reviewing the state of the knowledge on forecasting techniques and mechanisms underlying marine ecosystem predictability, we aim to facilitate forecast development and uptake by (i) identifying methods and processes that can be exploited for development of skillful regional forecasts, (ii) informing priorities for forecast development and verification, and (iii) improving understanding of conditional forecast skill (i.e., a priori knowledge of whether a forecast is likely to be skillful). While we focus primarily on coastal marine ecosystems surrounding North America (and the U.S. in particular), we detail forecast methods, physical and biological mechanisms, and priority developments that are globally relevant.
  • Article
    Drivers of marine heatwaves in the Northwest Atlantic: the role of air-sea interaction during onset and decline
    (Frontiers Media, 2021-03-09) Schlegel, Robert W. ; Oliver, Eric C. J. ; Chen, Ke
    Marine heatwaves (MHWs) are increasing in duration and intensity at a global scale and are projected to continue to increase due to the anthropogenic warming of the climate. Because MHWs may have drastic impacts on fisheries and other marine goods and services, there is a growing interest in understanding the predictability and developing practical predictions of these events. A necessary step toward prediction is to develop a better understanding of the drivers and processes responsible for the development of MHWs. Prior research has shown that air–sea heat flux and ocean advection across sharp thermal gradients are common physical processes governing these anomalous events. In this study we apply various statistical analyses and employ the self-organizing map (SOM) technique to determine specifically which of the many candidate physical processes, informed by a theoretical mixed-layer heat budget, have the most pronounced effect on the onset and/or decline of MHWs on the Northwest Atlantic continental shelf. It was found that latent heat flux is the most common driver of the onset of MHWs. Mixed layer depth (MLD) also strongly modulates the onset of MHWs. During the decay of MHWs, atmospheric forcing does not explain the evolution of the MHWs well, suggesting that oceanic processes are important in the decay of MHWs. The SOM analysis revealed three primary synoptic scale patterns during MHWs: low-pressure cyclonic Autumn-Winter systems, high-pressure anti-cyclonic Spring-Summer blocking, and mild but long-lasting Summer blocking. Our results show that nearly half of past MHWs on the Northwest Atlantic shelf are initiated by positive heat flux anomaly into the ocean, but less than one fifth of MHWs decay due to this process, suggesting that oceanic processes, e.g., advection and mixing are the primary driver for the decay of most MHWs.
  • Article
    Interannual variability of winter-spring temperature in the Middle Atlantic Bight : relative contributions of atmospheric and oceanic processes
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-06-18) Chen, Ke ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Gawarkiewicz, Glen G.
    Relative contributions between the local atmospheric and oceanic processes on the interannual variability of winter-spring shelf temperature in the Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB) are investigated based on a regional ocean model. The model demonstrates sufficient capability to realistically simulate the interannual temperature changes during 2003–2014. On interannual time scales, the mean winter/spring temperature in the MAB is determined by the combination of the initial temperature at the beginning of the season and the mean cumulative air-sea flux, while the mean cumulative ocean advective flux plays a secondary role. In spite of the overall importance of air-sea flux in determining the winter and spring temperature, the relative contributions between air-sea flux and ocean advective flux on the evolution of the temperature anomaly in each individual year varies. The predictability of spring (April–June) temperature based on winter (January–March) temperature is weak because the temporal decorrelation time scale changes significantly from year to year. Both the highly variable shelf temperature and its decorrelation time scale are affected by the changes in the relative contributions between the air-sea flux and ocean advective flux.