The Shallow and Deep Western Boundary Circulation of the South Atlantic at 5°–11°S

Friedrich A. Schott IFM-GEOMAR Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften an der Universität Kiel, Kiel, Germany

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Marcus Dengler IFM-GEOMAR Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften an der Universität Kiel, Kiel, Germany

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Rainer Zantopp IFM-GEOMAR Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften an der Universität Kiel, Kiel, Germany

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Lothar Stramma IFM-GEOMAR Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften an der Universität Kiel, Kiel, Germany

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Jürgen Fischer IFM-GEOMAR Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften an der Universität Kiel, Kiel, Germany

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Peter Brandt IFM-GEOMAR Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften an der Universität Kiel, Kiel, Germany

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Abstract

Repeated shipboard observation sections across the boundary flow off northeastern Brazil as well as acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) and current-meter records from a moored boundary array deployed during 2000–04 near 11°S are analyzed here for both the northward warm water flow by the North Brazil Undercurrent (NBUC) above approximately 1100 m and the southward flow of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) underneath. At 5°S, the mean from nine sections yields an NBUC transport of 26.5 ± 3.7 Sv (Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) along the boundary; at 11°S the mean NBUC transport from five sections is 25.4 ± 7.4 Sv, confirming that the NBUC is already well developed at 11°S. At both latitudes a persistent offshore southward recirculation between 200- and 1100-m depth reduces the net northward warm water flow through the 5°S section (west of 31.5°W) to 22.1 ± 5.3 Sv and through the 11°S section to 21.7 ± 4.1 Sv (west of 32.0°W). The 4-yr-long NBUC transport time series from 11°S yields a seasonal cycle of 2.5 Sv amplitude with its northward maximum in July. Interannual NBUC transport variations are small, varying only by ±1.2 Sv during the four years, with no detectable trend. The southward flow of NADW within the deep western boundary current at 5°S is 25.5 ± 8.3 Sv with an offshore northward recirculation, yielding a nine-section mean of 20.3 ± 10.1 Sv west of 31.5°W. For Antarctic Bottom Water, a net northward flow of 4.4 ± 3.0 Sv is determined at 5°S. For the 11°S section, the moored array data show a pronounced energy maximum at 60–70-day period in the NADW depth range, which was identified in related work as deep eddies translating southward along the boundary. Based on a kinematic eddy model fit to the first half of the moored time series, the mean NADW transfer by the deep eddies at 11°S was estimated to be about 17 Sv. Given the large interannual variability of the deep near-boundary transport time series, which ranged from 14 to 24 Sv, the 11°S mean was considered to be not distinguishable from the mean at 5°S.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Friedrich Schott, IFM-GEOMAR Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany. Email: fschott@ifm-geomar.de

Abstract

Repeated shipboard observation sections across the boundary flow off northeastern Brazil as well as acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) and current-meter records from a moored boundary array deployed during 2000–04 near 11°S are analyzed here for both the northward warm water flow by the North Brazil Undercurrent (NBUC) above approximately 1100 m and the southward flow of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) underneath. At 5°S, the mean from nine sections yields an NBUC transport of 26.5 ± 3.7 Sv (Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) along the boundary; at 11°S the mean NBUC transport from five sections is 25.4 ± 7.4 Sv, confirming that the NBUC is already well developed at 11°S. At both latitudes a persistent offshore southward recirculation between 200- and 1100-m depth reduces the net northward warm water flow through the 5°S section (west of 31.5°W) to 22.1 ± 5.3 Sv and through the 11°S section to 21.7 ± 4.1 Sv (west of 32.0°W). The 4-yr-long NBUC transport time series from 11°S yields a seasonal cycle of 2.5 Sv amplitude with its northward maximum in July. Interannual NBUC transport variations are small, varying only by ±1.2 Sv during the four years, with no detectable trend. The southward flow of NADW within the deep western boundary current at 5°S is 25.5 ± 8.3 Sv with an offshore northward recirculation, yielding a nine-section mean of 20.3 ± 10.1 Sv west of 31.5°W. For Antarctic Bottom Water, a net northward flow of 4.4 ± 3.0 Sv is determined at 5°S. For the 11°S section, the moored array data show a pronounced energy maximum at 60–70-day period in the NADW depth range, which was identified in related work as deep eddies translating southward along the boundary. Based on a kinematic eddy model fit to the first half of the moored time series, the mean NADW transfer by the deep eddies at 11°S was estimated to be about 17 Sv. Given the large interannual variability of the deep near-boundary transport time series, which ranged from 14 to 24 Sv, the 11°S mean was considered to be not distinguishable from the mean at 5°S.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Friedrich Schott, IFM-GEOMAR Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany. Email: fschott@ifm-geomar.de

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