Rapid variability of Antarctic Bottom Water transport into the Pacific Ocean inferred from GRACE

Citation:
Mazloff, MR, Boening C.  2016.  Rapid variability of Antarctic Bottom Water transport into the Pacific Ocean inferred from GRACE. Geophysical Research Letters. :n/a–n/a.

Keywords:

antarctic bottom water, Arctic and Antarctic oceanography, Climate and interannual variability, grace, ocean circulation, Remote sensing and electromagnetic processes, water masses

Abstract:

Air-ice-ocean interactions in the Antarctic lead to formation of the densest waters on Earth. These waters convect and spread to fill the global abyssal oceans. The heat and carbon storage capacity of these water masses, combined with their abyssal residence times that often exceeds centuries, makes this circulation pathway the most efficient sequestering mechanism on Earth. Yet monitoring this pathway has proven challenging due to the nature of the formation processes and the depth of the circulation. The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) gravity mission is providing a time-series of ocean mass redistribution, and offers a transformative view of the abyssal circulation. Here we use the GRACE measurements to infer, for the first time, a 2003–2014 time-series of Antarctic Bottom Water export into the South Pacific. We find this export highly variable, with a standard deviation of 1.87 Sv and a decorrelation timescale of less than one month. A significant trend is undetectable.

Notes:

2016GL068474

Website

DOI:

10.1002/2016GL068474