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Estimating the Four-Dimensional Structure of the Southern Ocean Using Satellite Altimetry


Meijers, AJS and Bindoff, NL and Rintoul, SR, Estimating the Four-Dimensional Structure of the Southern Ocean Using Satellite Altimetry, Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 28, (4) pp. 548-568. ISSN 0739-0572 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 American Meteorological Society

DOI: doi:10.1175/2010JTECHO790.1


A gravest empirical mode (GEM) projection of temperature and salinity fields over the circumpolar Southern Ocean is presented and is used in combination with satellite altimetry to produce gridded, full-depth, time-evolving temperature, salinity, and velocity fields. Optimal interpolation of historical hydrography, including Argo floats, is used to produce GEM projections of the circumpolar temperature and salinity fields. Parameterizing these fields by dynamic height allows the use of altimetric SSH values from 1992-2006 to create synoptic temperature and salinity fields at weekly intervals on a ⅓ grid at 36 depth levels. The satellite-derived temperature and salinity fields generally capture over 90% of the property variance below the thermocline, with RMS residuals of 1.16C and 0.132 in salinity at the surface, decreasing to less than 0.45C and 0.05 below 500 dbar. The combination of altimetry with the GEM fields allows the resolution of the subsurface structure of the filamentary fronts and eddy features. Velocity fields derived from the time-evolving temperature and salinity fields reproduce the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) velocity structure well, and are strongly correlated (r > 0.7) with in situ measurements from current meters and drifters, with RMS velocity residuals of 4.8-14.8 cm-1 in the Subantarctic Front.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Southern Ocean, four-dimensional structure, satellite altimetry, temperature, salinity, Argo, Antarctic Circumpolar Current
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Meijers, AJS (Dr Andrew Meijers)
UTAS Author:Bindoff, NL (Professor Nathan Bindoff)
UTAS Author:Rintoul, SR (Dr Steve Rintoul)
ID Code:78220
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:47
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2012-06-18
Last Modified:2017-04-11

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