01.09.2014: FB1-Seminar

Dr. Young-Gyu Park, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST), Korea: "The Relationship of Weddell Polynya and Open-Ocean Deep Convection to the Southern Hemisphere Westerlies"


11:00 h, Hörsaal, Düsternbrooker Weg 20



The Weddell Polynya of the mid-1970s is simulated in an energy balance model (EBM) sea ice–ocean coupled general circulation model (GCM) with an abrupt 20% increase in the intensity of Southern Hemi- sphere (SH) westerlies. This small upshift of applied wind stress is viewed as a stand in for the stronger zonal winds that developed in the mid-1970s following a long interval of relatively weak zonal winds between 1954 and 1972. Following the strengthening of the westerlies in this model, the cyclonic Weddell gyre intensifies, raising relatively warm Weddell Sea Deep Water to the surface. The raised warm water then melts sea ice or prevents it from forming to produce the Weddell Polynya. Within the polynya, large heat loss to the air causes surface water to become cold and sink to the bottom via open-ocean deep convection. Thus, the underlying layers cool down, the warm water supply to the surface eventually stops, and the polynya cannot be main- tained anymore. During the 100-yr-long model simulation, two Weddell Polynya events are observed. The second one occurs a few years after the first one disappears; it is much weaker and persists for less time than the first one because the underlying layer is cooler. Based on these model simulations, the authors hypothesize that the Weddell Polynya and open-ocean deep convection were responses to the stronger SH westerlies that followed a prolonged weak phase of the southern annular mode. 



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