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The Role of Southern Ocean Surface Forcings and Mixing in the Global Conveyor

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  • 1 Laboratoire d’Océanographie et du Climat: Expérimentations et Approches Numériques, Unité Mixte de Recherche 7159, CNRS/IRD/UPMC/MNHN, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, Paris, France, and Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples, Italy, and National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom
  • | 2 Laboratoire d’Océanographie et du Climat: Expérimentations et Approches Numériques, Unité Mixte de Recherche 7159, CNRS/IRD/UPMC/MNHN, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, Paris, France, and National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom
  • | 3 Laboratoire de Physique des Océans, Unité Mixte de Recherche 6523, CNRS/IFREMER/IRD/UBO, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, UFR Sciences, Brest, France
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Abstract

Despite the renewed interest in the Southern Ocean, there are yet many unknowns because of the scarcity of measurements and the complexity of the thermohaline circulation. Hence the authors present here the analysis of the thermohaline circulation of the Southern Ocean of a steady-state simulation of a coupled ice–ocean model. The study aims to clarify the roles of surface fluxes and internal mixing, with focus on the mechanisms of the upper branch of the overturning. A quantitative dynamical analysis of the water-mass transformation has been performed using a new method. Surface fluxes, including the effect of the penetrative solar radiation, produce almost 40 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) of Subantarctic Mode Water while about 5 Sv of the densest water masses (γ > 28.2) are formed by brine rejection on the shelves of Antarctica and in the Weddell Sea. Mixing transforms one-half of the Subantarctic Mode Water into intermediate water and Upper Circumpolar Deep Water while bottom water is produced by Lower Circumpolar Deep Water and North Atlantic Deep Water mixing with shelf water. The upwelling of part of the North Atlantic Deep Water inflow is due to internal processes, mainly downward propagation of the surface freshwater excess via vertical mixing at the base of the mixed layer. A complementary Lagrangian analysis of the thermohaline circulation will be presented in a companion paper.

Corresponding author address: Daniele Iudicone, Stazione Zoologica “A. Dohrn,” Villa Comunale 1, 80121 Naples, Italy. Email: iudicone@szn.it

Abstract

Despite the renewed interest in the Southern Ocean, there are yet many unknowns because of the scarcity of measurements and the complexity of the thermohaline circulation. Hence the authors present here the analysis of the thermohaline circulation of the Southern Ocean of a steady-state simulation of a coupled ice–ocean model. The study aims to clarify the roles of surface fluxes and internal mixing, with focus on the mechanisms of the upper branch of the overturning. A quantitative dynamical analysis of the water-mass transformation has been performed using a new method. Surface fluxes, including the effect of the penetrative solar radiation, produce almost 40 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) of Subantarctic Mode Water while about 5 Sv of the densest water masses (γ > 28.2) are formed by brine rejection on the shelves of Antarctica and in the Weddell Sea. Mixing transforms one-half of the Subantarctic Mode Water into intermediate water and Upper Circumpolar Deep Water while bottom water is produced by Lower Circumpolar Deep Water and North Atlantic Deep Water mixing with shelf water. The upwelling of part of the North Atlantic Deep Water inflow is due to internal processes, mainly downward propagation of the surface freshwater excess via vertical mixing at the base of the mixed layer. A complementary Lagrangian analysis of the thermohaline circulation will be presented in a companion paper.

Corresponding author address: Daniele Iudicone, Stazione Zoologica “A. Dohrn,” Villa Comunale 1, 80121 Naples, Italy. Email: iudicone@szn.it

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