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The Southern Ocean meridional overturning in the sea-ice sector is driven by freshwater fluxes


Pellichero, V and Sallee, JB and Chapman, CC and Downes, SM, The Southern Ocean meridional overturning in the sea-ice sector is driven by freshwater fluxes, Nature Communications, 9, (1) Article 1789. ISSN 2041-1723 (2018) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41467-018-04101-2


The oceans are traversed by a large-scale overturning circulation, essential for the climate system as it sets the rate at which the deep ocean interacts with the atmosphere. The main region where deep waters reach the surface is in the Southern Ocean, where they are transformed by interactions with the atmosphere and sea-ice. Here, we present an observation-based estimate of the rate of overturning sustained by surface buoyancy fluxes in the Southern Ocean sea-ice sector. In this region, the seasonal growth and melt of sea-ice dominate water-mass transformations. Both sea-ice freezing and melting act as a pump, removing freshwater from high latitudes and transporting it to lower latitudes, driving a large-scale circulation that upwells 27  7 Sv of deep water to the surface. The upwelled water is then transformed into 22  4 Sv of lighter water and 5  5 Sv into denser layers that feed an upper and lower overturning cell, respectively.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Southern Ocean, meridional overturning, sea-ice, freshwater fluxes
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Antarctic and Southern Ocean oceanic processes
UTAS Author:Downes, SM (Dr Stephanie Downes)
ID Code:131903
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:45
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2019-04-11
Last Modified:2019-05-31
Downloads:24 View Download Statistics

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