Contrasting Impacts of the South Pacific Split Jet and the Southern Annular Mode Modulation on Southern Ocean Circulation and Biogeochemistry

John C.H. Chiang, K. S. Tokos, S. Y. Lee, K. Matsumoto

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10 Scopus citations


A recent hypothesis postulated that paleoclimate changes to the Southern Hemisphere westerlies were characterized by the modulation of the wintertime South Pacific Split Jet. We explore this hypothesis further through simulating changes to the ocean circulation from Split Jet modulation, contrasting them against changes associated with the wintertime Southern Annular Mode (SAM). Three responses distinguish the Split Jet from the SAM impact on ocean circulation. (i) A weaker Split Jet strengthens the South Pacific subtropical gyre, leading to stronger western boundary currents and warming of the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) surrounding New Zealand. (ii) A positive SAM leads to an increase in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and specifically Drake Passage throughflow. And (iii) a weaker Split Jet leads to increased formation of Subantartic Mode Water, whereas a positive SAM leads to increased Antarctic Intermediate Water. Both a weaker Split Jet and positive SAM lead to increased Southern Ocean meridional overturning circulation, though it is more pronounced for the latter. However, enhanced ventilation of deep water in both cases increases atmospheric pCO2 by only 1–3 ppm, because the associated cooling and efficient nutrient utilization in the model effectively negates the venting of deep ocean carbon. Both a weaker Split Jet and positive SAM enhance oxygenation of the deep ocean and intermediate waters but diminish oxygenation of the eastern equatorial Pacific. Our results provide guidance to distinguish SAM-like changes from Split Jet-like changes in paleoceanographic records, and we discuss the case of early deglacial transition to Heinrich 1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-20
Number of pages19
JournalPaleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The CESM forcing files and model out put used is available for download at (Chiang et al., 2017). This work was funded by National Science Foundation grant 1537496 to J. C. H. C. and National Science Foundation grant 1537105 to K. M. The Community Earth System Model was developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).We thank Keith Lindsay at NCAR for providing the ocean biogeochemistry module used in our model simulations. We acknowl edge high-performance computing support for the CESM simulations from the Yellowstone cluster (ark:/85065/ d7wd3xhc) provided by NCAR’s Computational and Information Systems Laboratory, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The CORE v2 data are obtained from a website hosted by the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory: http://data1.gfdl. html. The Southern Annular Mode index used to compare against the wind EOF2 time series in section 3 was obtained from the NOAA CPC website: http:// cip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/aao/aao. shtml.

Publisher Copyright:
©2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • Southern Ocean
  • ocean biogeochemistry
  • westerlies


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