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Heat fluxes across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in Drake Passage: Mean flow and eddy contributions

Ramiro Ferrari 1 Christine Provost 1 Young-Hyang Park 1 Nathalie Sennéchael 1 Zoé Koenig 1 Hela Sekma 1 Gilles Garric 2 Romain Bourdallé-Badie 2
1 ABC - Austral, Boréal et Carbone
LOCEAN - Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat : Expérimentations et Approches Numériques
Abstract : In contrast to a long-standing belief, observations in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) show that mean velocity vectors rotate with depth, thus suggesting a possible importance of the time-mean flow for the local poleward heat transport. The respective contributions of the eddy and mean flows to the heat flux across the ACC in Drake Passage (DP) are investigated using recently acquired and historical time series of velocity and temperature from a total of 24 current meter moorings and outputs of a high-resolution (1/12°) model with realistic topography. Only 11 out of the 24 depth-integrated eddy heat flux estimates are found to be significant, and they are poleward. Model depth-integrated eddy heat fluxes have similar signs and amplitudes as the in situ estimates at the mooring sites. They are mostly poleward or nonsignificant, with amplitude decreasing to the south. The cross-stream temperature fluxes caused by the mean flow at the moorings have a sign that varies with location and corresponds to the opposite of the vertical velocity estimates. The depth-integrated temperature fluxes due to the mean flow in the model exhibit small spatial scales and are of opposite sign to the bottom vertical velocities. This suggests that the rotation of the mean velocity vectors with depth is mainly due to bottom topography. The rough hilly topography in DP likely promotes the small-scale vertical velocities and temperature fluxes. Eddy heat fluxes and cross-stream temperature fluxes are integrated over mass-balanced regions defined by the model transport streamlines. The contribution of the mean flow to the ocean heat fluxes across the Southern ACC Front in DP (covering about 4% of the circumpolar longitudes) is about four times as large as the eddy heat flux contribution and the sum of the two represent on the order of 10% of the heat loss to the atmosphere south of 60°S.
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Ramiro Ferrari, Christine Provost, Young-Hyang Park, Nathalie Sennéchael, Zoé Koenig, et al.. Heat fluxes across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in Drake Passage: Mean flow and eddy contributions. Journal of Geophysical Research. Oceans, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014, 119 (9), pp.6381-6402. ⟨10.1002/2014JC010201⟩. ⟨hal-01234145⟩

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