Dianeutral mixing, transformation and transport of Antarctic Intermediate Water in the South Atlantic Ocean

You, A. (1999) Dianeutral mixing, transformation and transport of Antarctic Intermediate Water in the South Atlantic Ocean Deep-Sea Research Part II-Topical Studies in Oceanography, 46 (1-2). pp. 393-435. DOI 10.1016/S0967-0645(98)00111-8.

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Recently obtained World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) sections combined with a specially prepared pre-WOCE South Atlantic data set are used to study the dianeutral (across neutral surface) mixing and transport achieving Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) being transformed to be part of the North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) return cell. Five neutral surfaces are mapped, encompassing the AAIW from 700 to 1100 db at the subtropical latitudes.
Coherent and significant dianeutral upwelling is found in the western boundary near the Brazil coast north of the separation point (about 25°S) between the anticyclonic subtropical and cyclonic south equatorial gyres. The magnitude of dianeutral upwelling transport is 10-3 Sv (1 Sv=106 m3 s-1) for 1°×1° square area. It is found that the AAIW sources from the southwestern South Atlantic and southwestern Indian Ocean do not rise significantly into the Benguela Current. Instead, they contribute to the NADW return formation by dianeutral upwelling into the South Equatorial Current. In other words, the AAIW sources cannot obtain enough heat/buoyancy to rise until they return to the western boundary region but north of the separation point. The basin-wide integration of dianeutral transport shows net upward transports, ranging from 0.25 to 0.6 Sv, across the lower and upper boundary of AAIW north of 40°S. This suggests that the equatorward AAIW is a slow rising water on a basin average. Given one order of uncertainty in evaluating the along-neutral-surface and dianeutral diffusivities from the assumed values, K=103 m2 s-1 and D=10-5 m2 s-1, the integrated dianeutral transport has an error band of about 10–20%. The relatively weak integrated dianeutral upwelling transport compared with AAIW in other oceans implies much stronger lateral advection of AAIW in the South Atlantic.
Mapped Turner Angle in diagnosing the double-diffusion processes shows that the salty Central Water can flux salt down to the upper half of AAIW layer through salt-fingering. Therefore, the northward transition of AAIW can gain salt either through along-neutral-surface advection and diffusion or through salt fingering from the Central Water and heat through either along-neutral-surface advection and diffusion or dianeutral upwelling. Cabbeling and thermobaricity are found significant in the Antarctic frontal zone and contribute to dianeutral downwelling with velocity as high as −1.5×10-7 m s-1. A schematic AAIW circulation in the South Atlantic suggests that dianeutral mixing plays an essential role in transforming AAIW into NADW return formation.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: R.V. Meteor; R.V. Polarstern; WOCE; South Atlantic Ocean
Research affiliation: OceanRep > Institute for Marine Science Kiel
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/S0967-0645(98)00111-8
ISSN: 0967-0645
Projects: WOCE
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:24
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 08:24
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/2784

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