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Nicolas Kolodziejczyk and Fabienne Gaillard

Abstract

The mixed layer heat and salt budget in the southeastern subtropical Pacific are estimated using 7 years (2004–10) of Argo-profiling float data, surface fluxes, precipitation, surface velocity data, and wind observations and reanalysis. In this region, the mixed layer heat budget is characterized by a strong annual cycle mainly modulated by the shortwave radiation annual cycle. During the austral fall and winter, the shortwave radiation input minimum is overwhelmed by the heat loss mainly because of the latent heat flux. The mixed layer salt budget also presents a strong annual cycle with a minimum of salt content during the late austral winter. In contrast with the heat budget, the salt budget is mainly driven by the unresolved terms computed as the residual of the budget. Among these missing terms, the most likely candidate is the vertical turbulent mixing as a result of convection caused by the heat surface buoyancy loss and the destabilizing vertical gradient of salinity at the base of the mixed layer. This downward flux of salt at the base of the mixed layer could explain the annual spiciness injection and interannual spiciness variability in the permanent thermocline in the southeastern Pacific.

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Nicolas Kolodziejczyk, Gilles Reverdin, and Alban Lazar

Abstract

The Argo dataset is used to study the winter upper-ocean conditions in the northeastern subtropical (NEA) Atlantic during 2006–12. During late winter 2010, the mixed layer depth is abnormally shallow and a negative anomaly of density-compensated salinity, the so-called spiciness, is generated in the permanent pycnocline. This is primarily explained by unusual weak air–sea buoyancy flux during the late winter 2010, in contrast with the five other studied winters. Particularly deep mixed layers and strong spiciness anomalies are observed during late winter 2012. The 2010 winter conditions appear to be related to historically low North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and high tropical North Atlantic index (TNA). Interannual variability of the eastern subtropical mixed layer is further investigated using a simple 1D bulk model of mean temperature and salinity linear profiles, based on turbulent kinetic energy conservation in the upper-ocean layer, and forced only with seasonal air–sea buoyancy forcing corresponding to fall–winter 2006–12. It suggests that year-to-year variability of the winter convective mixing driven by atmospheric buoyancy flux is able to generate interannual variability of both late winter mixed layer depth and spiciness in a strongly compensated layer at the base of the mixed layer and in the permanent pycnocline.

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Nicolas Kolodziejczyk, José Ochoa, Julio Candela, and Julio Sheinbaum

Abstract

Data from five moorings deployed in the Bay of Campeche during November 2007–July 2008 are used to analyze subinertial motions of waters below 1000-m depth. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first time such a comprehensive observational program of direct deep-current measurements has been carried out in the region. The mean currents are in agreement with a cyclonic circulation at 1000-m depth; however, this cyclonic pattern is not so clearly defined at deeper levels. Only at the deepest mooring, located at 3500-m depth, are the mean currents uniform all the way to the bottom. Over the Bay of Campeche’s smooth western slope, currents show features compatible with topographic Rossby waves having vertical trapping scales thicker than 700 m, periods between 5 and 60 days, and horizontal wavelengths of 90–140 km. In contrast, the eastern slopes are characterized by rough topography, and motions with periods longer than 28 days decrease toward the bottom, suggesting a substantial reduction in the low-frequency topographic Rossby wave signal. Velocities from one of the two neighboring moorings located over the eastern rough slope have a strong 3-day period signal, which increases toward the bottom and has a vertical trapping scale of about 350 m. These higher frequency motions are interpreted in terms of edge waves.

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Esther Portela, Nicolas Kolodziejczyk, Christophe Maes, and Virginie Thierry

Abstract

Using an Argo dataset and the ECCOv4 reanalysis, a volume budget was performed to address the main mechanisms driving the volume change of the interior water masses in the Southern Hemisphere oceans between 2006 and 2015. The subduction rates and the isopycnal and diapycnal water-mass transformation were estimated in a density–spiciness (στ) framework. Spiciness, defined as thermohaline variations along isopycnals, was added to the potential density coordinates to discriminate between water masses spreading on isopycnal layers. The main positive volume trends were found to be associated with the Subantarctic Mode Waters (SAMW) in the South Pacific and South Indian Ocean basins, revealing a lightening of the upper waters in the Southern Hemisphere. The SAMW exhibits a two-layer density structure in which subduction and diapycnal transformation from the lower to the upper layers accounted for most of the upper-layer volume gain and lower-layer volume loss, respectively. The Antarctic Intermediate Waters, defined here between the 27.2 and 27.5 kg m−3 isopycnals, showed the strongest negative volume trends. This volume loss can be explained by their negative isopyncal transformation southward of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current into the fresher and colder Antarctic Winter Waters (AAWW) and northward into spicier tropical/subtropical Intermediate Waters. The AAWW is destroyed by obduction back into the mixed layer so that its net volume change remains nearly zero. The proposed mechanisms to explain the transformation within the Intermediate Waters are discussed in the context of Southern Ocean dynamics. The στ decomposition provided new insight on the spatial and temporal water-mass variability and driving mechanisms over the last decade.

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Nicolas Kolodziejczyk, Mathieu Hamon, Jacqueline Boutin, Jean-Luc Vergely, Gilles Reverdin, Alexandre Supply, and Nicolas Reul

Abstract

Ten years of L-band radiometric measurements have proven the capability of satellite sea surface salinity (SSS) to resolve large-scale-to-mesoscale SSS features in tropical to subtropical ocean. In mid-to-high latitudes, L-band measurements still suffer from large-scale and time-varying errors. Here, a simple method is proposed to mitigate the large-scale and time-varying errors. First, an optimal interpolation using a large correlation scale (~500 km) is used to map independently Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) and Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) level-3 (L3) data. The mapping is compared with the equivalent mapping of in situ observations to estimate the large-scale and seasonal biases. A second mapping is performed on adjusted SSS at the scale of SMOS/SMAP spatial resolution (~45 km). This procedure merges both products and increases the signal-to-noise ratio of the absolute SSS estimates, reducing the root-mean-square difference of in situ satellite products by about 26%–32% from mid- to high latitudes, respectively, in comparison with the existing SMOS and SMAP L3 products. However, in the Arctic Ocean, some issues on satellite retrieved SSS related to, for example, radio frequency interferences, land–sea contamination, and ice–sea contamination remain challenging to reduce given the low sensitivity of L-band radiometric measurements to SSS in cold water. Using the International Thermodynamic Equation Of Seawater—2010 (TEOS-10), the resulting level-4 SSS satellite product is combined with satellite-microwave SST products to estimate sea surface density, spiciness, and haline contraction and thermal expansion coefficients. For the first time, we illustrate how useful these satellite-derived parameters are to fully characterize the surface ocean water masses at large mesoscale.

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Fabienne Gaillard, Thierry Reynaud, Virginie Thierry, Nicolas Kolodziejczyk, and Karina von Schuckmann

Abstract

The In Situ Analysis System (ISAS) was developed to produce gridded fields of temperature and salinity that preserve as much as possible the time and space sampling capabilities of the Argo network of profiling floats. Since the first global reanalysis performed in 2009, the system has evolved, and a careful delayed-mode processing of the 2002–12 dataset has been carried out using version 6 of ISAS and updating the statistics to produce the ISAS13 analysis. This last version is now implemented as the operational analysis tool at the Coriolis data center. The robustness of the results with respect to the system evolution is explored through global quantities of climatological interest: the ocean heat content and the steric height. Estimates of errors consistent with the methodology are computed. This study shows that building reliable statistics on the fields is fundamental to improve the monthly estimates and to determine the absolute error bars. The new mean fields and variances deduced from the ISAS13 reanalysis and dataset show significant changes relative to the previous ISAS estimates, in particular in the Southern Ocean, justifying the iterative procedure. During the decade covered by Argo, the intermediate waters appear warmer and saltier in the North Atlantic and fresher in the Southern Ocean than in World Ocean Atlas 2005 long-term mean. At interannual scale, the impact of ENSO on the ocean heat content and steric height is observed during the 2006/07 and 2009/10 events captured by the network.

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