Repeated CFC sections at the Greenwich Meridian in the Weddell Sea

Klatt, O, Roether W, Hoppema M, Bulsiewicz K, Fleischmann U, Rodehacke C, Fahrbach E, Weiss RF, Bullister JL.  2002.  Repeated CFC sections at the Greenwich Meridian in the Weddell Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 107

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antarctic bottom water, carbon-tetrachloride, circulation, deep-water, gyre, ice station weddell, maud-rise, scotia confluence, southern-ocean, transient tracer


[1] Repeated observations of the tracer chlorofluorocarbon-11 (CFC-11) for a section along the Greenwich Meridian from Antarctica (70degreesS) to about 50 S are presented for the period 1984-1998. The CFC sections display a highly persistent pattern. A middepth CFC minimum in the central Weddell Sea is bounded laterally by elevated levels of dissolved CFCs at the southern margin of the Weddell Basin and by a column of elevated CFC concentrations around 55degreesS near to the northern margin. Part of the latter column covers waters of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which indicates that a moderate portion of these waters was ventilated in the Weddell Sea. Deep CFC maxima adjoining the southern and northern margins of the Weddell Basin indicate advective cores of recently ventilated waters. The southern core supports previous notions of deep water import into the Weddell Sea from the east. For all deep and bottom waters, the portions ventilated on the CFC timescale (similar to50 years) are small. Effective initial CFC saturations for these portions are estimated to be between 60 and 70%, using in part new data from off the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. For various CFC features along the section (mostly advective cores), ventilated fractions and mean ages of these fractions were obtained (with error limits). The procedure was to fit an age distribution of a prescribed form to CFC-11 time series for these features, constructed from the various realizations of the CFC section. The ages are between 3 and 19 years, and the ventilated fractions range between 6 and 23%, indicating a rather limited ventilation of the interior Weddell Sea subsurface layer waters on the CFC timescale. It is shown that the concurrent CFC-12 data provide little additional information. The work demonstrates a high information content of repeated tracer observations and encourages similar approaches also in other ocean regions.






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