Nearshore sea ice shield Antarctic ice shelves from the damaging impact of ocean waves

The Larsen ice shelves extend along the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula over the northwest part of the Weddell Sea. From north to south, these segments are called the Larsen A, B, C, and D, bordered by Filchner–Ronne Ice Shelf south of the Weddell Sea. In 1995, the Larsen A ice shelf completely disintegrated,... Continue Reading →

North Atlantic zonal winds will shift northward and become more extreme in the future

The warming response of the upper atmosphere is much stronger in the tropics due to higher water vapor content and frequent deep tropical convection that maintains the atmosphere column well-mixed. As a result, the zonal jet strength, which is largely proportional to the meridional gradient of atmosphere temperature via "thermal wind relationship" is projected to... Continue Reading →

An overlooked role of the subtropical gyre circulation in regulating the AMOC

It is a common practice in Physical Oceanography to separate the Atlantic Ocean circulations into the meridional overturning and wind-driven gyre components with an assumption that the two components are largely independent of each other. An article published in Nature Communications suggests that the two components are not at all independent. The study shows that... Continue Reading →

Sea-ice retreat may invigorate the weakening Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

Due to rapidly rising air temperature over the Arctic and subarctic regions, the ocean-to-air turbulent (i.e., sensible and latent) heat flux over the Greenland, Iceland, and Norwegian Seas (GINS) has diminished (i.e., less cooling of the surface ocean) steadily during the satellite period (i.e., since the 1970s). This may lead to a reduction of deep... Continue Reading →

Arctic Ocean is experiencing dramatic weight loss due to increasing freshwater storage

The freshwater cycle in the Earth System is a delicate balance between the net loss (i.e., evaporation > precipitation) in the warm tropical-subtropical oceans, the net gain (i.e., precipitation > evaporation) in the cold polar oceans, and the net poleward transport by the atmosphere. These processes maintain the tropical-subtropical oceans salty and the polar oceans... Continue Reading →

Thermohaline Meridional Overturning Circulation on Enceladus

Enceladus is a miniature-size Saturn's moon (Earth's moon is about 7 times larger) known to have a deep ocean (~ 40km) beneath the thick icy crust (~20km). It has been suggested that Enceladus’s interior ocean is heated from below through hydrothermal activity, powered by tidal dissipation. The ocean should in turn carry the heat to... Continue Reading →

Increasing influence of warm and salty Atlantic water on the cold season Arctic sea ice melting

The Arctic Ocean in the upper 100 - 200 m is typically characterized by a cold and fresh surface mixed layer and a layer of rapidly increasing salinity with depth, as known as halocline, separating the surface mixed layer from the warm and salty Atlantic water at depth. Due to large vertical density gradient and... Continue Reading →

Compensating change in the Indo-Pacific MOC in response to the Atlantic MOC slowdown

The climate model simulations forced with increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gases consistently project a robust decline of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) and a strengthening of the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds, which may in turn result in an increase in the Southern Ocean MOC. In a research article recently accepted in the Journal of Physical... Continue Reading →

Future sea-ice loss slows down the subtropical Pacific shallow overturning cell and enhances the tropical warming

Under the high emission scenario for the future (RCP 8.5), a nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean (i.e., sea-ice extent less than 10-6 km2 for at least five consecutive years) in northern summer is likely before 2050. A decrease in Antarctic sea-ice extent is also expected during the 21st century, but at a slower rate with large uncertainty.... Continue Reading →

Increasing poleward intrusion of the Circumpolar Deep Water and its impact on the changing ocean-biogeochemistry of the Southern Ocean

A study published in Nature Geoscience (Bronselaer et al., 2020) analyzed new observations from autonomous floats with ocean-biogeochemical sensors (Bio-Argo) along with historical shipboard ocean measurements to document changes in Southern Ocean physical and ocean-biogeochemical variables (i.e., temperature, salinity, pH, concentrations of nitrate, dissolved inorganic carbon and oxygen) during the last two decades. Due to... Continue Reading →

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