Antarctic Intermediate Water and Subantarctic Mode Water Formation in the Southeast Pacific: The Role of Turbulent Mixing

Citation:
Sloyan, BM, Talley LD, Chereskin TK, Fine R, Holte J.  2010.  Antarctic Intermediate Water and Subantarctic Mode Water Formation in the Southeast Pacific: The Role of Turbulent Mixing. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 40:1558-1574.

Date Published:

Jul

Keywords:

circulation, decadal changes, energy, flux, indian-ocean, inertial currents, length scales, temperature, thermocline, wind, zone

Abstract:

During the 2005 austral winter (late August-early October) and 2006 austral summer (February-mid-March) two intensive hydrographic surveys of the southeast Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean were completed. In this study the turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate epsilon, diapycnal diffusivity kappa, and buoyancy flux J(b) are estimated from the CTD/O(2) and XCTD profiles for each survey. Enhanced kappa of O(10(-3) to 10(-4) m(2) s(-1)) is found near the Subantarctic Front (SAF) during both surveys. During the winter survey, enhanced kappa was also observed north of the "subduction front,'' the northern boundary of the winter deep mixed layer north of the SAF. In contrast, the summer survey found enhanced kappa across the entire region north of the SAF below the shallow seasonal mixed layer. The enhanced kappa below the mixed layer decays rapidly with depth. A number of ocean processes are considered that may provide the energy flux necessary to support the observed diffusivity. The observed buoyancy flux (4.0 x 10(-8) m(2) s(-3)) surrounding the SAF during the summer survey is comparable to the mean buoyancy flux (0.57 x 10(-8) m(2) s(-3)) associated with the change in the interior stratification between austral summer and autumn, determined from Argo profiles. The authors suggest that reduced ocean stratification during austral summer and autumn, by interior mixing, preconditions the water column for the rapid development of deep mixed layers and efficient Antarctic Intermediate Water and Subantarctic Mode Water formation during austral winter and early spring.

Notes:

n/a

Website

DOI:

10.1175/2010jpo4114.1