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Deep Ocean Changes near the Western Boundary of the South Pacific Ocean

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  • 1 Center for Australian Weather and Climate, CSIRO, and CSIRO Wealth from Ocean National Research Flagship, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  • | 2 Research Institute for Global Change, JAMSTEC, Yokosuka, Japan
  • | 3 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
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Abstract

Repeated occupations of two hydrographic sections in the southwest Pacific basin from the 1990s to 2000s track property changes of Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW). The largest property changes—warming, freshening, increase in total carbon, and decrease in oxygen—are found near the basin’s deep western boundary between 50° and 20°S. The magnitude of the property changes decreases with increasing distance from the western boundary. At the deep western boundary, analysis of the relative importance of AABW (γn > 28.1 kg m−3) freshening, heating, or isopycnal heave suggests that the deep ocean stratification change is the result of both warming and freshening processes. The consistent deep ocean changes near the western boundary of the southwest Pacific basin dispel the notion that the deep ocean is quiescent. High-latitude climate variability is being directly transmitted into the deep southwest Pacific basin and the global deep ocean through dynamic deep western boundary currents.

Corresponding author address: Bernadette M. Sloyan, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, GPO 1538, Hobart 7001, Tasmania, Australia. E-mail: bernadette.sloyan@csiro.au

Abstract

Repeated occupations of two hydrographic sections in the southwest Pacific basin from the 1990s to 2000s track property changes of Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW). The largest property changes—warming, freshening, increase in total carbon, and decrease in oxygen—are found near the basin’s deep western boundary between 50° and 20°S. The magnitude of the property changes decreases with increasing distance from the western boundary. At the deep western boundary, analysis of the relative importance of AABW (γn > 28.1 kg m−3) freshening, heating, or isopycnal heave suggests that the deep ocean stratification change is the result of both warming and freshening processes. The consistent deep ocean changes near the western boundary of the southwest Pacific basin dispel the notion that the deep ocean is quiescent. High-latitude climate variability is being directly transmitted into the deep southwest Pacific basin and the global deep ocean through dynamic deep western boundary currents.

Corresponding author address: Bernadette M. Sloyan, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, GPO 1538, Hobart 7001, Tasmania, Australia. E-mail: bernadette.sloyan@csiro.au
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