Sea-Air Heat and Freshwater Fluxes in the Drake Passage and Western Scotia Sea

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  • 1 Servicio de Hidrografiá Naval, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • | 2 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543
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Abstract

Hydrographic data from the vicinity of the Antarctic Polar Front in the Drake Passage and the western Scotia Sea are used to estimate the heat content and salinity differences for the upper ocean between summer and winter. Assuming that these differences are caused primarily by the exchange of heat and freshwater at the sea surface during the 6-month period from February to July, an integrated heat flux of 11.3 ± 5.2 × 108 J m−2 (2.69 ± 1.24 × 104 cal cm−2) and an excess of precipitation of 276 +- 190 mm are required. These fluxes agree well with estimates derived from historical meteorological observations.

Abstract

Hydrographic data from the vicinity of the Antarctic Polar Front in the Drake Passage and the western Scotia Sea are used to estimate the heat content and salinity differences for the upper ocean between summer and winter. Assuming that these differences are caused primarily by the exchange of heat and freshwater at the sea surface during the 6-month period from February to July, an integrated heat flux of 11.3 ± 5.2 × 108 J m−2 (2.69 ± 1.24 × 104 cal cm−2) and an excess of precipitation of 276 +- 190 mm are required. These fluxes agree well with estimates derived from historical meteorological observations.

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