Fiamma Straneo, 2001 Postdoctoral Scholar
My research during this year has focused on the interannual variability
in the formation and export of dense water from convective sites, with
a special emphasis on the Labrador Sea. In particular I have addressed
how a convective site is affected by interannual and longer timescale
atmospheric fluctuations and what kind of signal one may expect to detect
downstream from the formation region. I have approached this problem by
coupling an advective-diffusive model for the spreading of Labrador Sea
Water based on Lagrangian observations (Straneo et al., 2001b) with an
idealized thermodynamic model of convection based on historical hydrographic
data collected in the Labrador Sea. This coupled model has allowed me
to explore how oceanic non-linear processes may lead to a modification
of the signal imprinted by the atmosphere over the convective region (Straneo
and Pickart, 2001c and 2001d) leading to the more general question of
the ocean's response to an interannually or decadally varying atmosphere.
Work in this more interdisciplinary field of climate, has been greatly
facilitated by my participation in a number of climate related meetings,
and especially the Colloquium on Interannual and Decadal Climate Variability
(UCAR, Boulder, July 2000) during which I was able to interact with scientists
in related disciplines. Participation to several of these meetings was
made possible thanks the support I have received from CICOR.
Referred and Non-Referred Publications:
Straneo, F., M. Kawase and R.S. Pickart, 2001a: ‘Effects of wind
on convection in a weakly and strongly baroclinic flow: with an application
to the Labrador Sea’.JPO - submitted.
Straneo, F., R.S. Pickart and K. Lavender, 2001b: ‘Spreading of Labrador
Sea Water: an Advective-Diffusive Study Based on Lagrangian Data.’
DSR - submitted.
Straneo, F. and R.S. Pickart, 2001c: Modification of the NAO signal imprinted
during deep convection in the Labrador Sea. Chapman Conference on the
North Atlantic Oscillation (AGU) Galicia, Spain. Abstract Volume.
Straneo, F. and R.S. Pickart, 2001d: ‘Interannual Variability in
Labrador Sea Water Formation and Export: Response to a Variable Atmosphere
Extended Abstract, US CLIVAR Meeting on the North Atlantic, Boulder, June
Proposals: ‘Interannual Variability at Deep Convective Sites’
- with R.S. Pickart. February - 2001 NSF.
Cruises: Red Sea Outflow Experiment - Feb-Mar 2001, Gulf of Aden
- with A. Bower and D. Fratantoni (WHOI) and W. Johns and H. Peters (RSMAS).
CTD operations and data analysis.
Post-doctoral scholar Fiamma Straneo arrived in November 1999 from the
University of Washington where she completed her PhD with a thesis titled
'Dynamics of Rotating Convection Including the Effects of a Horizontal
Stratification and Wind'. Under the supervision of Bob Pickart, she has
started to investigate the observed interannual variability in the formation
and export of Labrador Sea Water. Through deep convection, the Labrador
Sea is one of the few oceanic regions where there exists a direct pathway
for the remote communication of surface anomalies to low latitudes via
the ocean's interior. It is through these pathways that, scientists believe,
the ocean may be playing a role in modulating climate on decadal, or longer,
timescales. This research falls under the Cicor theme "Ocean Partecipation
in Climate and Climate Variability". Some fraction of the observed deep
convection variability, has been attributed to the forcing, the North
Atlantic (or Arctic) Oscillation being the dominant mode in this region
on decadal and longer timescales. The remaining, however, is presumably
driven by the interplay of the interior circulation and the fresh water
and salt exchange with the boundary currents. Additional variability,
in the characteristics of Labrador Sea Water observed downstream, may
also result from the still uncertain export mechanisms. Since she has
been at WHOI, Fiamma has taken advantage of a variety of data collected
during recent extensive surveys of the Labrador Sea region which include
the first high resolution mapping of the circulation in the Labrador Sea,
obtained from mid-depth floats (R. Davis, Scripps and B. Owens, WHOI)
as well as wintertime (during active convection) observations collected
by Bob Pickart. With these data, she has been able to put together a model
which highlights the interior pathways for the spreading of the dense
water and their timescales. The next step will see her analyzing a collection
of hydrographic sections across both the inflow and outflow boundary currents
to piece together a description of the variability in the inflow and outflow.
During her two year appointment her goal is to investigate how, and if,
all of these different factors may result in an oceanic modulation of
Last updated: May 21, 2009