A New Algorithm for Finding Mixed Layer Depths with Applications to Argo Data and Subantarctic Mode Water Formation

Citation:
Holte, J, Talley L.  2009.  A New Algorithm for Finding Mixed Layer Depths with Applications to Argo Data and Subantarctic Mode Water Formation. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 26:1920-1939.

Date Published:

Sep

Keywords:

convection, intermediate, pacific-ocean, sea, simulation, surface-layer, transport, variability

Abstract:

A new hybrid method for finding the mixed layer depth (MLD) of individual ocean profiles models the general shape of each profile, searches for physical features in the profile, and calculates threshold and gradient MLDs to assemble a suite of possible MLD values. It then analyzes the patterns in the suite to select a final MLD estimate. The new algorithm is provided in online supplemental materials. Developed using profiles from all oceans, the algorithm is compared to threshold methods that use the C. de Boyer Monte gut et al. criteria and to gradient methods using 13 601 Argo profiles from the southeast Pacific and southwest Atlantic Oceans. In general, the threshold methods find deeper MLDs than the new algorithm and the gradient methods produce more anomalous MLDs than the new algorithm. When constrained to using only temperature profiles, the algorithm offers a clear improvement over the temperature threshold and gradient methods; the new temperature algorithm MLDs more closely approximate the density algorithm MLDs than the temperature threshold and gradient MLDs. The algorithm is applied to profiles from a formation region of Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW) and Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW). The density algorithm finds that the deepest MLDs in this region routinely reach 500 dbar and occur north of the A. H. Orsi et al. mean Subantarctic Front in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. The deepest MLDs typically occur in August and September and are congruent with the subsurface salinity minimum, a signature of AAIW.

Notes:

n/a

Website

DOI:

10.1175/2009jtecho543.1