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Response of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current to atmospheric variability

Abstract : Historical hydrographic profiles, combined with recent Argo profiles, are used to obtain an estimate of the mean geostrophic circulation in the Southern Ocean. Thirteen years of altimetric sea level anomaly data are then added to reconstruct the time variable sea level, and this new dataset is analyzed to identify and monitor the position of the two main fronts of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) during the period 1993-2005. The authors relate their movements to the two main atmospheric climate modes of the Southern Hemisphere: the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) and the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The study finds that although the fronts are steered by the bathymetry, which sets their mean pathway on first order, in flat-bottom areas the fronts are subject to large meandering because of mesoscale activity and atmospheric forcing. While the dominant mode of atmospheric variability in the Southern Hemisphere, SAM, is relatively symmetric, the oceanic response of the fronts is not, showing substantial regional differences. Around the circumpolar belt the fronts vary in latitude, exposing them to different Ekman transport anomalies induced by the SAM. Three typical scenarios occur in response to atmospheric forcing: poleward movement of the frontal structure in the Indian Basin during positive SAM events, an equator-ward movement in the central Pacific, and an intensification without substantial meridional movement in the Indo-Pacific basin. The study also shows the geographical regions that are dominated by a SAM or ENSO response at low and high frequencies.
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 6:20:22 PM
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[15200442 - Journal of Climate...
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J.B. Sallee, R. Morrow, K. Speer. Response of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current to atmospheric variability. Journal of Climate, American Meteorological Society, 2008, 21 (12), pp.3020-3039. ⟨10.1175/2007JCLI1702.1⟩. ⟨hal-00406819⟩



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