Hydrography of the eastern tropical Pacific: A review

Fiedler, PC, Talley LD.  2006.  Hydrography of the eastern tropical Pacific: A review. Progress in Oceanography. 69:143-180.


circulation, Costa Rica, Dome, eastern tropical pacific, equatorial pacific, Hydrography, intermediate, layer depth, mixed, mixed-layer, north-pacific, oxygen minimum layer, shallow salinity minima, subsurface countercurrents, subtropical mode water, surface-layer, thermocline, Tropical oceanography, water, water masses, world ocean


Eastern tropical Pacific Ocean waters lie at the eastern end of a basin-wide equatorial current system, between two large subtropical gyres and at the terminus of two eastern boundary currents. Descriptions and interpretations of surface, pycnocline, intermediate and deep waters in the region are reviewed. Spatial and temporal patterns are discussed using (1) maps of surface temperature, salinity, and nutrients (phosphate, silicate, nitrate and nitrite), and thermocline and mixed layer parameters, and (2) meridional and zonal sections of temperature, salinity, potential density, oxygen, and nutrients. These patterns were derived from World Ocean Database observations by an ocean interpolation algorithm: loess-weighted observations were projected onto quadratic functions of spatial coordinates while simultaneously fitting annual and semiannual harmonics and the Southern Oscillation Index to account for interannual variability. Contrasts between the equatorial cold tongue and the eastern Pacific warm pool are evident in all the hydrographic parameters. Annual cycles and ENSO (El Nino-Southern Oscillation) variability are of similar amplitude in the eastern tropical Pacific, however, there are important regional differences in relative variability at these time scales. Unique characteristics of the eastern tropical Pacific are discussed: the strong and shallow pycnocline, the pronounced oxygen minimum layer, and the Costa Rica Dome. This paper is part of a comprehensive review of the oceanography of the eastern tropical Pacific. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.