Seasonality of the submesoscale dynamics in the Gulf Stream region

Jean Alberto Mensa, Zulema Garraffo, Annalisa Griffa, Tamay M Ozgokmen, Angelique Haza, Milena Veneziani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Frontogenesis and frontal instabilities in the mixed layer are known to be important processes in the formation of submesoscale features. We study the seasonality of such processes in the Gulf Stream (GS) region. To approach this problem, a realistic simulation with the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model is integrated for 18 months at two horizontal resolutions: a high-resolution (1/48) simulation able to resolve part of the submesoscale regime and the full range of mesoscale dynamics, and a coarser resolution (1/12) case, in which submesoscales are not resolved. Results provide an insight into submesoscale dynamics in the complex GS region. A clear seasonal cycle is observed, with submesoscale features mostly present during winter. The submesoscale field is quantitatively characterized in terms of deviation from geostrophy and 2D dynamics. The limiting and controlling factor in the occurrence of submesoscales appears to be the depth of the mixed layer, which controls the reservoir of available potential energy available at the mesoscale fronts that are present most of the year. Atmospheric forcings are the main energy source behind submesoscale formation, but mostly indirectly through mixed layer deepening. The mixed layer instability scaling suggested in the (Fox-Kemper et al., J Phys Oceanogr 38:1145-1165, 2008) parametrization appears to hold, indicating that the parametrization is appropriate even in this complex and mesoscale dominated area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-941
Number of pages19
JournalOcean Dynamics
Volume63
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

Fingerprint

mixed layer
seasonality
frontogenesis
atmospheric forcing
potential energy
simulation
gulf
winter
ocean

Keywords

  • Ageostrophic dynamics
  • Frontogenesis
  • Gulf Stream
  • HYCOM
  • Mixed layer instabilities
  • Multi-scale
  • Seasonality
  • Submesoscale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography

Cite this

Mensa, J. A., Garraffo, Z., Griffa, A., Ozgokmen, T. M., Haza, A., & Veneziani, M. (2013). Seasonality of the submesoscale dynamics in the Gulf Stream region. Ocean Dynamics, 63(8), 923-941. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10236-013-0633-1

Seasonality of the submesoscale dynamics in the Gulf Stream region. / Mensa, Jean Alberto; Garraffo, Zulema; Griffa, Annalisa; Ozgokmen, Tamay M; Haza, Angelique; Veneziani, Milena.

In: Ocean Dynamics, Vol. 63, No. 8, 08.2013, p. 923-941.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mensa, JA, Garraffo, Z, Griffa, A, Ozgokmen, TM, Haza, A & Veneziani, M 2013, 'Seasonality of the submesoscale dynamics in the Gulf Stream region', Ocean Dynamics, vol. 63, no. 8, pp. 923-941. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10236-013-0633-1
Mensa, Jean Alberto ; Garraffo, Zulema ; Griffa, Annalisa ; Ozgokmen, Tamay M ; Haza, Angelique ; Veneziani, Milena. / Seasonality of the submesoscale dynamics in the Gulf Stream region. In: Ocean Dynamics. 2013 ; Vol. 63, No. 8. pp. 923-941.
@article{c0c403a518c5425197ed2fcd69215ee8,
title = "Seasonality of the submesoscale dynamics in the Gulf Stream region",
abstract = "Frontogenesis and frontal instabilities in the mixed layer are known to be important processes in the formation of submesoscale features. We study the seasonality of such processes in the Gulf Stream (GS) region. To approach this problem, a realistic simulation with the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model is integrated for 18 months at two horizontal resolutions: a high-resolution (1/48) simulation able to resolve part of the submesoscale regime and the full range of mesoscale dynamics, and a coarser resolution (1/12) case, in which submesoscales are not resolved. Results provide an insight into submesoscale dynamics in the complex GS region. A clear seasonal cycle is observed, with submesoscale features mostly present during winter. The submesoscale field is quantitatively characterized in terms of deviation from geostrophy and 2D dynamics. The limiting and controlling factor in the occurrence of submesoscales appears to be the depth of the mixed layer, which controls the reservoir of available potential energy available at the mesoscale fronts that are present most of the year. Atmospheric forcings are the main energy source behind submesoscale formation, but mostly indirectly through mixed layer deepening. The mixed layer instability scaling suggested in the (Fox-Kemper et al., J Phys Oceanogr 38:1145-1165, 2008) parametrization appears to hold, indicating that the parametrization is appropriate even in this complex and mesoscale dominated area.",
keywords = "Ageostrophic dynamics, Frontogenesis, Gulf Stream, HYCOM, Mixed layer instabilities, Multi-scale, Seasonality, Submesoscale",
author = "Mensa, {Jean Alberto} and Zulema Garraffo and Annalisa Griffa and Ozgokmen, {Tamay M} and Angelique Haza and Milena Veneziani",
year = "2013",
month = "8",
doi = "10.1007/s10236-013-0633-1",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "63",
pages = "923--941",
journal = "Ocean Dynamics",
issn = "1616-7341",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",
number = "8",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Seasonality of the submesoscale dynamics in the Gulf Stream region

AU - Mensa, Jean Alberto

AU - Garraffo, Zulema

AU - Griffa, Annalisa

AU - Ozgokmen, Tamay M

AU - Haza, Angelique

AU - Veneziani, Milena

PY - 2013/8

Y1 - 2013/8

N2 - Frontogenesis and frontal instabilities in the mixed layer are known to be important processes in the formation of submesoscale features. We study the seasonality of such processes in the Gulf Stream (GS) region. To approach this problem, a realistic simulation with the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model is integrated for 18 months at two horizontal resolutions: a high-resolution (1/48) simulation able to resolve part of the submesoscale regime and the full range of mesoscale dynamics, and a coarser resolution (1/12) case, in which submesoscales are not resolved. Results provide an insight into submesoscale dynamics in the complex GS region. A clear seasonal cycle is observed, with submesoscale features mostly present during winter. The submesoscale field is quantitatively characterized in terms of deviation from geostrophy and 2D dynamics. The limiting and controlling factor in the occurrence of submesoscales appears to be the depth of the mixed layer, which controls the reservoir of available potential energy available at the mesoscale fronts that are present most of the year. Atmospheric forcings are the main energy source behind submesoscale formation, but mostly indirectly through mixed layer deepening. The mixed layer instability scaling suggested in the (Fox-Kemper et al., J Phys Oceanogr 38:1145-1165, 2008) parametrization appears to hold, indicating that the parametrization is appropriate even in this complex and mesoscale dominated area.

AB - Frontogenesis and frontal instabilities in the mixed layer are known to be important processes in the formation of submesoscale features. We study the seasonality of such processes in the Gulf Stream (GS) region. To approach this problem, a realistic simulation with the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model is integrated for 18 months at two horizontal resolutions: a high-resolution (1/48) simulation able to resolve part of the submesoscale regime and the full range of mesoscale dynamics, and a coarser resolution (1/12) case, in which submesoscales are not resolved. Results provide an insight into submesoscale dynamics in the complex GS region. A clear seasonal cycle is observed, with submesoscale features mostly present during winter. The submesoscale field is quantitatively characterized in terms of deviation from geostrophy and 2D dynamics. The limiting and controlling factor in the occurrence of submesoscales appears to be the depth of the mixed layer, which controls the reservoir of available potential energy available at the mesoscale fronts that are present most of the year. Atmospheric forcings are the main energy source behind submesoscale formation, but mostly indirectly through mixed layer deepening. The mixed layer instability scaling suggested in the (Fox-Kemper et al., J Phys Oceanogr 38:1145-1165, 2008) parametrization appears to hold, indicating that the parametrization is appropriate even in this complex and mesoscale dominated area.

KW - Ageostrophic dynamics

KW - Frontogenesis

KW - Gulf Stream

KW - HYCOM

KW - Mixed layer instabilities

KW - Multi-scale

KW - Seasonality

KW - Submesoscale

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84881236778&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84881236778&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s10236-013-0633-1

DO - 10.1007/s10236-013-0633-1

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84881236778

VL - 63

SP - 923

EP - 941

JO - Ocean Dynamics

JF - Ocean Dynamics

SN - 1616-7341

IS - 8

ER -