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The Southwest Pacific Ocean circulation and climate experiment (SPICE)


Ganachaud, A and Cravatte, S and Melet, A and Schiller, A and Holbrook, NJ and Sloyan, BM and Widlansky, MJ and Bowen, M and Verron, J and Wiles, P and Ridgway, K and Sutton, P and Sprintall, J and Steinberg, C and Brassington, G and Cai, W and Davis, R and Gasparin, F and Gourdaeu, L and Hasegawa, T and Kessler, W and Maes, C and Takahashi, K and Richards, KJ and Send, U, The Southwest Pacific Ocean circulation and climate experiment (SPICE), Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 119, (11) pp. 7660-7686. ISSN 2169-9275 (2014) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2014 American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1002/2013JC009678


The Southwest Pacific Ocean Circulation and Climate Experiment (SPICE) is an international research program under the auspices of CLIVAR. The key objectives are to understand the Southwest Pacific Ocean circulation and the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ) dynamics, as well as their influence on regional and basin-scale climate patterns. South Pacific thermocline waters are transported in the westward flowing South Equatorial Current (SEC) toward Australia and Papua-New Guinea. On its way, the SEC encounters the numerous islands and straits of the Southwest Pacific and forms boundary currents and jets that eventually redistribute water to the equator and high latitudes. The transit in the Coral, Solomon, and Tasman Seas is of great importance to the climate system because changes in either the temperature or the amount of water arriving at the equator have the capability to modulate the El Niņo-Southern Oscillation, while the southward transports influence the climate and biodiversity in the Tasman Sea. After 7 years of substantial in situ oceanic observational and modeling efforts, our understanding of the region has much improved. We have a refined description of the SPCZ behavior, boundary currents, pathways, and water mass transformation, including the previously undocumented Solomon Sea. The transports are large and vary substantially in a counter-intuitive way, with asymmetries and gating effects that depend on time scales. This paper provides a review of recent advancements and discusses our current knowledge gaps and important emerging research directions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Southwest Pacific Ocean circulation and climate experiment, SPICE, CLIVAR, El Nino - Southern Oscillation, ENSO, decadal variability, climate change
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:Climate variability (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Holbrook, NJ (Professor Neil Holbrook)
ID Code:98338
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:87
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-02-11
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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