Mesoscale eddy effects on the subduction of North Pacific mode waters

TitleMesoscale eddy effects on the subduction of North Pacific mode waters
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsXu LX, Xie SP, McClean JL, Liu QY, Sasaki H.
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research-Oceans
Date Published2014/08
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2169-9275
Accession NumberWOS:000342519500010
Keywordsatlantic ocean; circulation; Climatology; decadal variability; eddies; formation region; Kuroshio Extension; mixed-layer; thermocline; winter

Mesoscale eddy effects on the subduction of North Pacific mode waters are investigated by comparing observations and ocean general circulation models where eddies are either parameterized or resolved. The eddy-resolving models produce results closer to observations than the noneddy-resolving model. There are large discrepancies in subduction patterns between eddy-resolving and noneddy-resolving models. In the noneddy-resolving model, subduction on a given isopycnal is limited to the cross point between the mixed layer depth (MLD) front and the outcrop line whereas in eddy-resolving models and observations, subduction takes place in a broader, zonally elongated band within the deep mixed layer region. Mesoscale eddies significantly enhance the total subduction rate, helping create remarkable peaks in the volume histogram that correspond to North Pacific subtropical mode water (STMW) and central mode water (CMW). Eddy-enhanced subduction preferentially occurs south of the winter mean outcrop. With an anticyclonic eddy to the west and a cyclonic eddy to the east, the outcrop line meanders south, and the thermocline/MLD shoals eastward. As eddies propagate westward, the MLD shoals, shielding the water of low potential vorticity from the atmosphere. The southward eddy flow then carries the subducted water mass into the thermocline. The eddy subduction processes revealed here have important implications for designing field observations and improving models.

Short TitleJ Geophys Res-Oceans
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