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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.


Maps of salinity fronts (left), precipitation (middle), and the zonal currents (right) in January, April, July, and October. The units are in psu/km, mm/day, and m/s, respectively. The black contours show the 34.6 psu, 3 mm/day, and 0 m/s isolines, respectively.
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fig03: Maps of salinity fronts (left), precipitation (middle), and the zonal currents (right) in January, April, July, and October. The units are in psu/km, mm/day, and m/s, respectively. The black contours show the 34.6 psu, 3 mm/day, and 0 m/s isolines, respectively.

Mentions: The seasonal cycle of SSS in the tropical Pacific has been described in general by Bingham et al. [2010] and Lagerloef et al. [2010]. Here we further show 4 months of the maps to demonstrate the seasonal cycle of the SF. Four notable features of the SF can been seen in Figure 3 (left): (1) The SF under the ITCZ is most extensive and intensive fall (October). (2) SF usually appears in the southern boundaries of the fresh pool under the ITCZ. (3) SF in the South Pacific convergence zone (SPCZ) are generally much weaker than at the ITCZ [Gouriou and Delcroix, 2002].


Salinity fronts in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

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

Maps of salinity fronts (left), precipitation (middle), and the zonal currents (right) in January, April, July, and October. The units are in psu/km, mm/day, and m/s, respectively. The black contours show the 34.6 psu, 3 mm/day, and 0 m/s isolines, respectively.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

fig03: Maps of salinity fronts (left), precipitation (middle), and the zonal currents (right) in January, April, July, and October. The units are in psu/km, mm/day, and m/s, respectively. The black contours show the 34.6 psu, 3 mm/day, and 0 m/s isolines, respectively.
Mentions: The seasonal cycle of SSS in the tropical Pacific has been described in general by Bingham et al. [2010] and Lagerloef et al. [2010]. Here we further show 4 months of the maps to demonstrate the seasonal cycle of the SF. Four notable features of the SF can been seen in Figure 3 (left): (1) The SF under the ITCZ is most extensive and intensive fall (October). (2) SF usually appears in the southern boundaries of the fresh pool under the ITCZ. (3) SF in the South Pacific convergence zone (SPCZ) are generally much weaker than at the ITCZ [Gouriou and Delcroix, 2002].

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.