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Observations and Processes

Activity Leader: Bernadette Sloyan

Staff and associates

Dr Chris Chapman

Dr Thomas Moore

Dr Andrew Lenton






Ensemble forecasts are produced by integrating a climate model forward in time from a set of observation-based initial conditions and fundamental understanding of the dynamical processes in the ocean, ice and atmosphere that result in long-lived coherent variability in the climate system. Thus the observations and process understanding are part of the same activity, although there a strong links/crossover to all activities. The observation and process theme will provide observational data for model initialization, and use observations and model s to identify key ocean-atmosphere processes that have the ability to drive multi-year coherent variability in the climate system


The technologies comprising ocean observing systems include a wide array of instruments and platforms (Figure 1). The heterogeneous nature of the ocean observing system
requires a sophisticated data integration and interpretation activity for all available in situ and satellite observations. We will provide integrated satellite and in situ observational
data sets for initializing the forecasting system, providing withheld data sets and data products for model validation and, providing process resolving observations to inform model
physics assessments and improve the realism of our models.

Figure 1. Main components of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) that will provide in situ data to CAFE
for ocean initialization, validation, ocean process understanding.





Ocean Processes
As the forecast timescale increases (seasonal to decadal), processes in the ocean become increasingly more important. However, the generation of coherent ocean anomalies does not
guarantee a skilful forecast. Knowledge of the dynamical processes that generate coherent long-lived ocean is key to understanding the potential predictability for the climate system.
Here we will identify key ocean processes that drive multi-year coherent variability in the ocean and assess what is their impact on climate variability and climate forecasting.


Ocean Storm Tracks
Connecting the slowly evolving ocean signals to the tropics and mid-latitudes and how these anomalous ocean signals re-emerge at the ocean-atmosphere boundary is a key challenge
for a seasonal to decadal climate forecasting. Discovering how the ocean drives the low frequency variability of the mid-latitude atmospheric circulation is still very much an open
question, but of utmost importance is understanding droughts and climate extremes and in determining the predictability of the climate system.


Ocean-atmosphere-ice coupling
There remain many unanswered questions on the fundamental nature and drivers of the production of ocean variability with the potential for it to remain coherent on the multi-year
to decadal time scale and how these anomalous ocean signals re-emerge at the ocean-atmosphere boundary. Our work will investigate the dynamical ocean-atmosphere-ice-coupling to
better understand the connection and feedback on the climate system.

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Bax, H.J; Ward Appletons, W; Brainard, Duffy; R. J. E; Dunstan, P; Hanich, Q; Harden Davies, H; Hills, J; Miloslavich, P; Muller-Karger, F; Simmons, S; Aburto-Oropeza, O; Batten, S; Benedetti-Cecchi, L; Checkley, D; Chiba, S; Fisher, A; Andersen Garcia, M; Gunn, J; Klein, E; Kudela, R; Marsac, F; Obura, D; Shin, Y-J; Sloyan, B; Tanhua, T; Wilkin, J; (2018) Linking capacity development to monitoring networks to achieve sustained ocean observation. Frontiers in Marine Science
Alford, M; Sloyan, B; Simmons, H; (2017) Internal waves in the East Australian Current. 44 12,280 – 12,288 Geophysical Research Letters
Sloyan, B; Craw, P; King, E; Neill, C; Kloser, R; Bodrossy, L; (2017) Future Technologies in B. Mapstone (ed) Oceans: Science and solutions for Australia 179-186
Feng, M; Zhang, X; Sloyan, B; Chamberlain, M (2017) Contribution of the deep ocean to the centennial changes of the Indonesian Throughflow. 44 2859-2867 Geophysical Research Letters