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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.


Latitudinal variations of (a) SSS, (b) meridional salinity gradients, (c) precipitation, and (d) zonal currents averaged between 120°W and 150°W in January (blue), April (green), July (red), and October (blue-green).
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fig04: Latitudinal variations of (a) SSS, (b) meridional salinity gradients, (c) precipitation, and (d) zonal currents averaged between 120°W and 150°W in January (blue), April (green), July (red), and October (blue-green).

Mentions: To further quantify the intensity of the SF in different seasons, we then show in Figure 4 the variations of SSS, SF, precipitation, and zonal currents from the equator to 15°N averaged between 120°W and 150°W. We notice that the SSS from equator to 5°N does not show much seasonal variations. The freshening around 10°N is cause of the SF. In October (blue-green line in Figure 4), the strong SF around 8°N (Figure 4b) is observed as a result of the freshening at 10°N (Figure 4a). The strong SF accompanies with the intense precipitation (Figure 4c) and the strong NECC (Figure 4d).


Salinity fronts in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

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

Latitudinal variations of (a) SSS, (b) meridional salinity gradients, (c) precipitation, and (d) zonal currents averaged between 120°W and 150°W in January (blue), April (green), July (red), and October (blue-green).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

fig04: Latitudinal variations of (a) SSS, (b) meridional salinity gradients, (c) precipitation, and (d) zonal currents averaged between 120°W and 150°W in January (blue), April (green), July (red), and October (blue-green).
Mentions: To further quantify the intensity of the SF in different seasons, we then show in Figure 4 the variations of SSS, SF, precipitation, and zonal currents from the equator to 15°N averaged between 120°W and 150°W. We notice that the SSS from equator to 5°N does not show much seasonal variations. The freshening around 10°N is cause of the SF. In October (blue-green line in Figure 4), the strong SF around 8°N (Figure 4b) is observed as a result of the freshening at 10°N (Figure 4a). The strong SF accompanies with the intense precipitation (Figure 4c) and the strong NECC (Figure 4d).

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.