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Bernadette M. Sloyan, Susan E. Wijffels, Bronte Tilbrook, Katsuro Katsumata, Akihiko Murata, and Alison M. Macdonald

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 (γ n > 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.

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Christopher Sabine, Adrienne Sutton, Kelly McCabe, Noah Lawrence-Slavas, Simone Alin, Richard Feely, Richard Jenkins, Stacy Maenner, Christian Meinig, Jesse Thomas, Erik van Ooijen, Abe Passmore, and Bronte Tilbrook

Abstract

Current carbon measurement strategies leave spatiotemporal gaps that hinder the scientific understanding of the oceanic carbon biogeochemical cycle. Data products and models are subject to bias because they rely on data that inadequately capture mesoscale spatiotemporal (kilometers and days to weeks) changes. High-resolution measurement strategies need to be implemented to adequately evaluate the global ocean carbon cycle. To augment the spatial and temporal coverage of ocean–atmosphere carbon measurements, an Autonomous Surface Vehicle CO2 (ASVCO2) system was developed. From 2011 to 2018, ASVCO2 systems were deployed on seven Wave Glider and Saildrone missions along the U.S. Pacific and Australia’s Tasmanian coastlines and in the tropical Pacific Ocean to evaluate the viability of the sensors and their applicability to carbon cycle research. Here we illustrate that the ASVCO2 systems are capable of long-term oceanic deployment and robust collection of air and seawater pCO2 within ±2 μatm based on comparisons with established shipboard underway systems, with previously described Moored Autonomous pCO2 (MAPCO2) systems, and with companion ASVCO2 systems deployed side by side.

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