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Billheimer, S, Talley LD.  2016.  Annual cycle and destruction of Eighteen Degree Water. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 121:6604-6617.   10.1002/2016jc011799   AbstractWebsite

Eighteen Degree Water (EDW), the subtropical mode water of the western North Atlantic, is a voluminous, weakly stratified upper ocean water mass that acts as a subsurface reservoir of heat, nutrients, and CO2. This thick layer persists throughout the year, but nearly half of its volume is dispersed or mixed away, diffusing its properties into the thermocline, from the time it outcrops in winter until it is renewed the following year. CTD observations from Argo profiling floats and acoustically tracked, isothermally bound profiling floats are used to quantify EDW destruction rates and investigate the relevant processes responsible for the large annual cycle of EDW. EDW destruction occurs primarily at the top of the EDW layer, with the highest EDW destruction rates occurring during early summer. Slower, steadier EDW destruction is observed in early winter. EDW destruction is dominated by 1-D vertical diffusion, while mesoscale, along-isopycnal stirring is also significant, explaining approximately 1/3 of the total annual EDW destruction. Destruction via along-isopycnal processes is more prevalent near the Gulf Stream than in the southern Sargasso Sea, due to higher potential vorticity gradients and enhanced mesoscale activity.

Billheimer, S, Talley LD.  2013.  Near cessation of Eighteen Degree Water renewal in the western North Atlantic in the warm winter of 2011-2012. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 118:6838-6853.   10.1002/2013jc009024   AbstractWebsite

The winter of 2011-2012 was a particularly weak season for the renewal of "Eighteen Degree Water" (EDW), the Subtropical Mode Water of the western North Atlantic, as demonstrated by Argo and repeat hydrography. Weak, late winter buoyancy forcing produced shallower than usual winter mixed layers throughout the subtropical gyre, failing to thoroughly ventilate the underlying mode water, and can likely be attributed to the coinciding high, positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The only region where EDW was renewed was in the far northeastern Sargasso Sea where it is understood that the Gulf Stream plays a central role in formation; no EDW formed over the large regions of the gyre where deep winter mixed layers driven by surface buoyancy loss normally create EDW. The present investigation evaluates 2011-2012 winter buoyancy content anomalies, surface buoyancy fluxes, and advection of buoyancy via the Gulf Stream and compares them with the previous seven winters that exhibited more vigorous EDW formation. The weak 2011-2012 formation did not result from increased Gulf Stream heat advection, and was also not driven by preconditioning as the buoyancy content of the region prior to the onset of winter forcing was not unusually high. Rather, the weak formation resulted from climatologically weak surface cooling late in winter. The winter of 2007-2008 also experienced particularly weak EDW formation under similar conditions, including a high NAO and weak late winter surface cooling.

Marshall, J, Andersson A, Bates N, Dewar W, Doney S, Edson J, Ferrari R, Forget G, Fratantoni D, Gregg M, Joyce T, Kelly K, Lozier S, Lumpkin R, Maze G, Palter J, Samelson R, Silverthorne K, Skyllingstad E, Straneo F, Talley L, Thomas L, Toole J, Weller R, Climode G.  2009.  The CLIMODE FIELD CAMPAIGN Observing the Cycle of Convection and Restratification over the Gulf Stream. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 90:1337-1350.   10.1175/2009bams2706.1   AbstractWebsite
Oka, E, Talley LD, Suga T.  2007.  Temporal variability of winter mixed layer in the mid- to high-latitude North Pacific. Journal of Oceanography. 63:293-307.   10.1007/s10872-007-0029-2   AbstractWebsite

Temperature and salinity data from 2001 through 2005 from Argo profiling floats have been analyzed to examine the time evolution of the mixed layer depth (MLD) and density in the late fall to early spring in mid to high latitudes of the North Pacific. To examine MLD variations on various time scales from several days to seasonal, relatively small criteria (0.03 kg m(-3) in density and 0.2 degrees C in temperature) are used to determine MLD. Our analysis emphasizes that maximum MLD in some regions occurs much earlier than expected. We also observe systematic differences in timing between maximum mixed layer depth and density. Specifically, in the formation regions of the Subtropical and Central Mode Waters and in the Bering Sea, where the winter mixed layer is deep, MLD reaches its maximum in late winter (February and March), as expected. In the eastern subarctic North Pacific, however, the shallow, strong, permanent halocline prevents the mixed layer from deepening after early January, resulting in a range of timings of maximum MLD between January and April. In the southern subtropics; from 20 degrees to 30 degrees N, where the winter mixed layer is relatively shallow, MLD reaches a maximum even earlier in December-January. In each region, MLD fluctuates on short time scales as it increases from late fall through early winter. Corresponding to this short-term variation, maximum MLD almost always occurs 0 to 100 days earlier than maximum mixed layer density in all regions.

Fiedler, PC, Talley LD.  2006.  Hydrography of the eastern tropical Pacific: A review. Progress in Oceanography. 69:143-180.   10.1016/j.pocean.2006.03.008   AbstractWebsite

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.