Abyssal connections of Antarctic Bottom Water in a Southern Ocean State Estimate

van Sebille, E, Spence P, Mazloff MR, England MH, Rintoul SR, Saenko OA.  2013.  Abyssal connections of Antarctic Bottom Water in a Southern Ocean State Estimate. Geophysical Research Letters. 40:2177–2182.


antarctic bottom water, Arctic and Antarctic oceanography, currents, deep ocean circulation, Deep recirculations, Lagrangian trajectories, Southern Ocean, water masses


Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) is formed in a few locations around the Antarctic continent, each source with distinct temperature and salinity. After formation, the different AABW varieties cross the Southern Ocean and flow into the subtropical abyssal basins. It is shown here, using the analysis of Lagrangian trajectories within the Southern Ocean State Estimate (SOSE) model, that the pathways of the different sources of AABW have to a large extent amalgamated into one pathway by the time it reaches 31°S in the deep subtropical basins. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current appears to play an important role in the amalgamation, as 70% of the AABW completes at least one circumpolar loop before reaching the subtropical basins. This amalgamation of AABW pathways suggests that on decadal to centennial time scales, changes to properties and formation rates in any of the AABW source regions will be conveyed to all three subtropical abyssal basins.