Impact of oceanic-scale interactions on the seasonal modulation of ocean dynamics by the atmosphere

Type Article
Date 2014-12-15
Language English
Author(s) Sasaki Hideharu1, Klein Patrice2, Qiu Bo3, Sasai Yoshikazu4
Affiliation(s) 1 : Application Laboratory, JAMSTEC, 3173-25 Showa-machi, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-0001, Japan
2 : Laboratoire de Physique des Oceans, IFREMER-CNRS-UBO-IRD, Plouzane 29280, France
3 : Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1000 Pope Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
4 : Research and Development Center for Global Change, JAMSTEC, 3173-25 Showa-machi, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-0001, Japan
Source Nature Communications (2041-1723) (Nature Publishing Group), 2014-12-15 , Vol. 5 , P. 1-8
DOI 10.1038/ncomms6636
WOS© Times Cited 177
Keyword(s) Earth sciences, Oceanography
Abstract Ocean eddies (with a size of 100-300 km), ubiquitous in satellite observations, are known to represent about 80% of the total ocean kinetic energy. Recent studies have pointed out the unexpected role of smaller oceanic structures (with 1-50 km scales) in generating and sustaining these eddies. The interpretation proposed so far invokes the internal instability resulting from the large-scale interaction between upper and interior oceanic layers. Here we show, using a new high-resolution simulation of the realistic North Pacific Ocean, that ocean eddies are instead sustained by a different process that involves small-scale mixed-layer instabilities set up by large-scale atmospheric forcing in winter. This leads to a seasonal evolution of the eddy kinetic energy in a very large part of this ocean, with an amplitude varying by a factor almost equal to 2. Perspectives in terms of the impacts on climate dynamics and future satellite observational systems are briefly discussed.
Full Text
File Pages Size Access
Publisher's official version 8 2 MB Open access
Supplementary Information 6 471 KB Open access
Top of the page