Decadal variation in winter mixed layer depth south of the Kuroshio Extension and its influence on winter mixed layer temperature

Shusaku Sugimoto, Shin'Ichiro Kako

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The long-term behavior of the wintertime mixed layer depth (MLD) and mixed layer temperature (MLT) are investigated in a region south of the Kuroshio Extension (KE) (30°-37°N, 141°-155°E), an area of the North Pacific subtropical gyre where the deepestMLD occurs, using historical temperature profiles of 1968-2014. Both theMLD andMLT in March have low-frequency variations, which show significant decadal (~10 yr) variations after the late 1980s. Observational data and simulation outputs from a one-dimensional turbulent closure model reveal that surface cooling is the main control on winter MLD in the late 1970s and 1980s, whereas there is a change in the strength of subsurface stratification is the main control after~1990. In the latter period, a weak (strong) subsurface stratification is caused by a straight path (convoluted path) of the KE and by a deepening (shallowing) of the main thermocline depth due to oceanic Rossby waves formed as a result of positive (negative) anomalies of wind stress curl associated with a southward (northward) movement of the Aleutian low in the central North Pacific. During deeper (shallower) periods of winter MLD, the strong (weak) vertical entrainment process, resulting from a rapid (slow) deepening of the mixed layer (ML) in January and February, forms a negative (positive) anomaly of temperature tendency. Consequently, the decadal variations in wintertime MLT are formed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1237-1252
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1

Keywords

  • Atm/Ocean Structure/Phenomena
  • Decadal variability
  • Geographic location/entity
  • Mixed layer
  • North Pacific Ocean
  • Physical Meteorology and Climatology
  • Surface temperature
  • Variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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