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Subantarctic mode water: distribution and circulation

Citation

Herraiz Borreguero, L and Rintoul, SR, Subantarctic mode water: distribution and circulation, Ocean Dynamics, 61, (1) pp. 1-24. ISSN 1616-7341 (2010) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2010 Springer-Verlag

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10236-010-0352-9

Abstract

The subduction and export of subantarctic mode water (SAMW) as part of the overturning circulation play an important role in global heat, freshwater, carbon and nutrient budgets. Here, the spatial distribution and export of SAMW is investigated using Argo profiles and a climatology. SAMWis identified by a dynamical tracer: a minimum in potential vorticity. We have found that SAMW consists of several modes with distinct properties in each oceanic basin. This conflicts with the previous view of SAMW as a continuous water mass that gradually cools and freshens to the east. The circulation paths of SAMW were determined using (modified) Montgomery streamlines on the density surfaces corresponding with potential vorticity minima. The distribution of the potential vorticity minima revealed "hotspots" where the different SAMW modes subduct north of the Subantarctic Front. The subducted SAMWs follow narrow export pathways into the subtropical gyres influenced by topography. The export of warmer, saltier modes in these "hotspots" contributes to the circumpolar evolution of mode water properties toward cooler, fresher and denser modes in the east.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Subantarctic mode water, potential vorticity, Montgomery streamfunction, circulation, spatial distribution, southern hemisphere
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical Oceanography
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Other Environment
Objective Field:Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Oceanography
Author:Herraiz Borreguero, L (Dr Laura Herraiz Borreguero)
Author:Rintoul, SR (Dr Steve Rintoul)
ID Code:76139
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:21
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2012-02-28
Last Modified:2013-01-17
Downloads:0

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