Subantarctic and Polar Fronts of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and Southern Ocean Heat and Freshwater Content Variability: A View from Argo*(,+)
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Subantarctic and Polar Fronts of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and Southern Ocean Heat and Freshwater Content Variability: A View from Argo*(,+)

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  • Description:
    Argo profiling floats initiated a revolution in observational physical oceanography by providing numerous, high-quality, global, year-round, in situ (0-2000 dbar) temperature and salinity observations. This study uses Argo's unprecedented sampling of the Southern Ocean during 2006-13 to describe the position of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current's Subantarctic and Polar Fronts, comparing and contrasting two different methods for locating fronts using the same dataset. The first method locates three fronts along dynamic height contours, each corresponding to a local maximum in vertically integrated shear. The second approach locates the fronts using specific features in the potential temperature field, following Orsi et al. Results from the analysis of Argo data are compared to those from Orsi et al. and other more recent studies. Argo spatial resolution is not adequate to resolve annual and interannual movements of the fronts on a circumpolar scale since they are on the order of 1 degrees latitude (Kim and Orsi), which is smaller than the resolution of the gridded product analyzed. Argo's four-dimensional coverage of the Southern Ocean equatorward of ~60 degrees S is used to quantify variations in heat and freshwater content there with respect to the time-mean front locations. These variations are described during 2006-13, considering both pressure and potential density ranges (within different water masses) and relations to wind forcing (Ekman upwelling and downwelling).
  • Source:
    Journal of Physical Oceanography, 46(3), 749-768.
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