Journal of Physical Oceanography. 43:1485-1511.: American Meteorological Society
Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW) is examined using the data-assimilating, eddy-permitting Southern Ocean State Estimate, for 2005 and 2006. Surface formation due to air–sea buoyancy flux is estimated using Walin analysis, and diapycnal mixing is diagnosed as the difference between surface formation and transport across 30°S, accounting for volume change with time. Water in the density range 26.5 <σθ < 27.1 kg m−3 that includes SAMW is exported northward in all three ocean sectors, with a net transport of (18.2, 17.1) Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1; for years 2005, 2006); air–sea buoyancy fluxes form (13.2, 6.8) Sv, diapycnal mixing removes (−14.5, −12.6) Sv, and there is a volume loss of (−19.3, −22.9) Sv mostly occurring in the strongest SAMW formation locations. The most vigorous SAMW formation is in the Indian Ocean by air–sea buoyancy flux (9.4, 10.9) Sv, where it is partially destroyed by diapycnal mixing (−6.6, −3.1) Sv. There is strong export to the Pacific, where SAMW is destroyed both by air–sea buoyancy flux (−1.1, −4.6) Sv and diapycnal mixing (−5.6, −8.4) Sv. In the South Atlantic, SAMW is formed by air–sea buoyancy flux (5.0, 0.5) Sv and is destroyed by diapycnal mixing (−2.3, −1.1) Sv. Peaks in air–sea flux formation occur at the Southeast Indian and Southeast Pacific SAMWs (SEISAMWs, SEPSAMWs) densities. Formation over the broad SAMW circumpolar outcrop windows is largely from denser water, driven by differential freshwater gain, augmented or decreased by heating or cooling. In the SEISAMW and SEPSAMW source regions, however, formation is from lighter water, driven by differential heat loss.