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Salinity fronts in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Kao HY, Lagerloef GS - J Geophys Res Oceans (2015)

Bottom Line: In the eastern Pacific, we observe a southward extension of the SF in the boreal spring that could be driven by both precipitation and horizontal advection.In the western Pacific, the importance of these newly resolved SF associated with the western Pacific warm/fresh pool and El Niño southern oscillations are also discussed in the context of prior literature.The main conclusions of this study are that (a) Aquarius satellite salinity measurements reveal the heretofore unknown proliferation, structure, and variability of surface salinity fronts, and that (b) the fine-scale structures of the SF in the tropical Pacific yield important new information on the regional air-sea interaction and the upper ocean dynamics.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Earth and Space Research Seattle, Washington, USA.

ABSTRACT

This study delineates the salinity fronts (SF) across the tropical Pacific, and describes their variability and regional dynamical significance using Aquarius satellite observations. From the monthly maps of the SF, we find that the SF in the tropical Pacific are (1) usually observed around the boundaries of the fresh pool under the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), (2) stronger in boreal autumn than in other seasons, and (3) usually stronger in the eastern Pacific than in the western Pacific. The relationship between the SF and the precipitation and the surface velocity are also discussed. We further present detailed analysis of the SF in three key tropical Pacific regions. Extending zonally around the ITCZ, where the temperature is nearly homogeneous, we find the strong SF of 1.2 psu from 7° to 11°N to be the main contributor of the horizontal density difference of 0.8 kg/m(3). In the eastern Pacific, we observe a southward extension of the SF in the boreal spring that could be driven by both precipitation and horizontal advection. In the western Pacific, the importance of these newly resolved SF associated with the western Pacific warm/fresh pool and El Niño southern oscillations are also discussed in the context of prior literature. The main conclusions of this study are that (a) Aquarius satellite salinity measurements reveal the heretofore unknown proliferation, structure, and variability of surface salinity fronts, and that (b) the fine-scale structures of the SF in the tropical Pacific yield important new information on the regional air-sea interaction and the upper ocean dynamics.

No MeSH data available.


The maps of (a) SSS, (b) SSS fronts, (c) zonal currents, (d) precipitation, (e) SST, and (f) BLT over the western Pacific fresh/warm pool in October 2012. The values of the isolines are labeled in the titles.
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fig10: The maps of (a) SSS, (b) SSS fronts, (c) zonal currents, (d) precipitation, (e) SST, and (f) BLT over the western Pacific fresh/warm pool in October 2012. The values of the isolines are labeled in the titles.

Mentions: Figure 2 shows that Argo provides vague contours for the SF in the tropical Pacific, but Aquarius provides more detailed and better-identified SF, which can be approximately presented by the 34.6 PSU isohaline. Figures 10a and 10b zoom into the western equatorial Pacific and in more details, we see that the SF aligns in northeast-southwest direction only at the equator around 5°S–5°N (Figure 10b). Then the SF extend to the east as they spread poleward in both hemispheres. At the equator (Figure 10c), the zonal migrations of the eastern edge of WPWP and the eastern edge of WPFP are dominated by the equatorial currents (SEC and NECC) through the horizontal advection [Bosc et al., 2009]. However, the domain of the warm pool and the fresh pool, representing by 28°C and 34.6 psu, respectively, are distinct away from the equator, indicating that the mechanism that controls variations of the WPWP and that of the WPFP are not exactly the same (Figures 10a and 10e).


Salinity fronts in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Kao HY, Lagerloef GS - J Geophys Res Oceans (2015)

The maps of (a) SSS, (b) SSS fronts, (c) zonal currents, (d) precipitation, (e) SST, and (f) BLT over the western Pacific fresh/warm pool in October 2012. The values of the isolines are labeled in the titles.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4508928&req=5

fig10: The maps of (a) SSS, (b) SSS fronts, (c) zonal currents, (d) precipitation, (e) SST, and (f) BLT over the western Pacific fresh/warm pool in October 2012. The values of the isolines are labeled in the titles.
Mentions: Figure 2 shows that Argo provides vague contours for the SF in the tropical Pacific, but Aquarius provides more detailed and better-identified SF, which can be approximately presented by the 34.6 PSU isohaline. Figures 10a and 10b zoom into the western equatorial Pacific and in more details, we see that the SF aligns in northeast-southwest direction only at the equator around 5°S–5°N (Figure 10b). Then the SF extend to the east as they spread poleward in both hemispheres. At the equator (Figure 10c), the zonal migrations of the eastern edge of WPWP and the eastern edge of WPFP are dominated by the equatorial currents (SEC and NECC) through the horizontal advection [Bosc et al., 2009]. However, the domain of the warm pool and the fresh pool, representing by 28°C and 34.6 psu, respectively, are distinct away from the equator, indicating that the mechanism that controls variations of the WPWP and that of the WPFP are not exactly the same (Figures 10a and 10e).

Bottom Line: In the eastern Pacific, we observe a southward extension of the SF in the boreal spring that could be driven by both precipitation and horizontal advection.In the western Pacific, the importance of these newly resolved SF associated with the western Pacific warm/fresh pool and El Niño southern oscillations are also discussed in the context of prior literature.The main conclusions of this study are that (a) Aquarius satellite salinity measurements reveal the heretofore unknown proliferation, structure, and variability of surface salinity fronts, and that (b) the fine-scale structures of the SF in the tropical Pacific yield important new information on the regional air-sea interaction and the upper ocean dynamics.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Earth and Space Research Seattle, Washington, USA.

ABSTRACT

This study delineates the salinity fronts (SF) across the tropical Pacific, and describes their variability and regional dynamical significance using Aquarius satellite observations. From the monthly maps of the SF, we find that the SF in the tropical Pacific are (1) usually observed around the boundaries of the fresh pool under the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), (2) stronger in boreal autumn than in other seasons, and (3) usually stronger in the eastern Pacific than in the western Pacific. The relationship between the SF and the precipitation and the surface velocity are also discussed. We further present detailed analysis of the SF in three key tropical Pacific regions. Extending zonally around the ITCZ, where the temperature is nearly homogeneous, we find the strong SF of 1.2 psu from 7° to 11°N to be the main contributor of the horizontal density difference of 0.8 kg/m(3). In the eastern Pacific, we observe a southward extension of the SF in the boreal spring that could be driven by both precipitation and horizontal advection. In the western Pacific, the importance of these newly resolved SF associated with the western Pacific warm/fresh pool and El Niño southern oscillations are also discussed in the context of prior literature. The main conclusions of this study are that (a) Aquarius satellite salinity measurements reveal the heretofore unknown proliferation, structure, and variability of surface salinity fronts, and that (b) the fine-scale structures of the SF in the tropical Pacific yield important new information on the regional air-sea interaction and the upper ocean dynamics.

No MeSH data available.