Water-property distributions along an eastern Pacific hydrographic section at 135W

Tsuchiya, M, Talley LD.  1996.  Water-property distributions along an eastern Pacific hydrographic section at 135W. Journal of Marine Research. 54:541-564.

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circulation, flow, hawaii, north pacific, ocean, shallow salinity minima


As part of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment, full-depth CTD/hydrographic measurements with high horizontal and vertical resolutions were made in June-August 1991 along a line extending from 34N to 33S at a nominal longitude of 135W with an additional short leg that connects it to the California coast roughly along 34N. The line spans the major part of the subtropical and intertropical circulation regime of the eastern North and South Pacific. The primary purpose of this paper is to present vertical sections of various properties from CTD and discrete water-sample measurements along this line and to give an overview of some important features as a basis for more comprehensive basin-scale studies. These features include: the frontal structures found in the surface-layer salinity field in the North Pacific; relatively high-salinity water that dominates the subpycnocline layer between the equator and 17N; troughs of the subpycnocline isopycnals for 26.8-27.5 sigma(theta) found at 12N and 12.5S; a permanent thermostad at 9-10 degrees C observed between 4.5N and 15N; the pycnostad of the Subantarctic Mode Water centered at 27.0-27.05 sigma(theta) and developed south of 22S; two types of the Antarctic Intermediate Water representing the subtropical and equatorial circulation regimes; a thick tongue of high silica centered at 3000 m (45.8 sigma(4)) and extending southward across the entire section; deep (2000-3000 m) westward flows at 5-8N and 10-15S separated by an eastward flow at 1-2S; and dense, cold, oxygen-rich, nutrient-poor bottom waters, which are associated with fracture zones and believed to represent the pathways of eastward flows into the Northeast Pacific Basin of the bottom waters separated from the northward-flowing western boundary undercurrent. This work once again demonstrates the usefulness of long lines of high-quality, high-resolution hydrographic stations such as the one described herein in advancing the understanding of the large-scale ocean circulation.