Southern Ocean Region Panel sessions

  • December 2017

The eleventh session of CLIVAR/CliC/SCAR Southern Ocean Region Panel (SORP) was held in Qingdao, China, September 2016. The SORP session took place together with the sessions of other CLIVAR panels and Research Focii before the CLIVAR Open Science Conference (OSC) on 19-23 September at the same hotel.

Three cross-panel meetings between SORP and other panels were also organised:

  • The Atlantic Region Panel (ARP) on the carbon cycle.
  • Upwelling with the Atlantic Region Panel (ARP), SORP and Eastern Boundary Upwelling System Research Foci (EBUS).
  • The Ocean Model Development Panel (OMDP) on modelling initiatives relevant to the Southern Ocean.

As well as talks from the panel members, Mauricio Mata, a member of the SOOS (Southern Ocean Observing System) Scientific Steering Committee, presented the goals and objectives of SOOS, which is keen to promote two-way communications. It has invited SORP to jointly look at SO EOVs templates, and invited SORP to send an observer to the SOOS Scientific Steering Committee meeting held in June 2017 at the Alfred Wegener Institute.

Addressing specific areas where SORP can help SOOS, Mauricio said SORP provides scientific insight into what needs to be observed, helping SOOS develop the observing system. Many suggestions on the closer cooperation between SOOS and SORP were proposed, such as adding an ex-officio member recommended by SOOS to SORP, a joint workshop on capabilities, joint sessions at Polar2018, and new capability working groups.

Mike Sparrow said SORP had always had one or two SOOS representatives in the past. Lynne Talley suggested the discussion on national representatives between SOOS and SORP needs to be ongoing, and make sure SORP is involved in reviewing SOOS plans as they are available.

CLIVAR/CliC/SCAR Southern Ocean Region Panel members and guests at SORP-11 in Qingdao, China, September 2016. Front row (left to right): Lynne Talley, Inga Smith, Isabelle Ansorge, Joellen Russell, Riccardo Farneti; back row (left to right): Jiuxin Shi, Mauricio Mata (SOOS), Mike Sparrow (WMO), John Fyfe, Kats Katsumata, Alexander Klepikov, Petteri Uotila (Finland National Representative to SORP).


SORP aims to have at least one expert or representative for each of the relevant groups on SORP at any given time. The panel co-chairs are trying to appoint new members to fill known gaps, such as SOOS.

Concerning the national representatives, the panel decided to form a sub-committee to sort out a policy for national representatives: how they are appointed, term limits, what is required of them and how to keep them in the loop with SORP activities.

The discussion of the cross-panel meeting of the CLIVAR ARP, SORP and EBUS on the eastern boundary upwelling concentrated on four possible common themes of interest:

  • "Climate" teleconnections between the Southern Ocean and EBUS regions. 
  • Mesoscale (and sub-mesoscale) "mixing" and restratification processes responsible for the surface effects of wind-driven upwelling. 
  • Importance of spatio-temporal variability of wind forcing field and its consequences for the spatio-temporal distribution of upwelling. 
  • Model systematic biases and underlying process related to all of the above.

During the cross-panel meeting with CLIVAR OMDP, Simon Marsland introduced the several main issues the panel is working on; Coordinated Ocean-Ice Reference Experiments Phase 2 (CORE-II; mature), Ocean Model Intercomparison Project (underway), Japanese Meteorological Agency 2nd reanalysis (JRA-55) forcing (future).

Sea-ice Model Intercomparison Project (MIP) is one of the diagnostic MIPs for Coupled (C)MIP6. For the ocean-ice model, the land-ice runoff from the Antarctic and Greenland to the ocean is problematic. CORE doesn't distinguish liquid from solid. In JRA-55 dataset, the runoff from the Antarctic and Greenland are currently left blank. CORE climatology is one option to fill this blank.

Riccardo Farneti from SORP gave a talk on assessing water mass properties and sea ice processes across a range of ocean-sea ice models using CORE-II forcing. According to his analysis, all models had poor representation of CDW and AABW. There are problems with sea ice extent and trends for all models and with changes in ACC in GCMs. Joellen Russell introduced the Southern Ocean (SO)MIP. It is a numerical experiment with freshwater perturbation of 0.1 Sv. If approved for CMIP6, SOMIP will be the first approved regional MIP.

In the cross-panel meeting with ARP on carbon, a few topics were discussed on ocean carbon cycle, such as paths for carbon into deep ocean, locations of carbon uptake and storage, Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modelling (SOCCOM), Southern Ocean anthropogenic acidification, suggestions on best measures for carbon, Ocean Reanalysis data and modelling. Including carbon expertise on CLIVAR panels was also suggested.

The SORP-12 meeting took place in June 2017 alongside the Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) – Southern Hemisphere meeting. More information on the SORP-12 meeting is available on the Clivar website. SORP-13 is likely to be at the SCAR/IASC OSC in 2018.

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