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ArticleDirect observations of the Antarctic Slope Current transport at 113°E(John Wiley & Sons, 2016-10-12) Pena-Molino, Beatriz ; McCartney, Michael S. ; Rintoul, Stephen R.The Antarctic Slope Current (ASC), defined here as the region of westward flow along the continental slope off Antarctica, forms the southern limb of the subpolar gyres. It regulates the exchange of water across the shelf break and provides a path for interbasin westward transport. Despite its significance, the ASC remains largely unobserved around most of the Antarctic continent. Here we present direct velocity observations from a 17 month current meter moored array deployed across the continental slope between the 1000 and the 4200 m isobaths, in the southeastern Indian Ocean near 113°E. The observed time-mean flow consists of a surface-intensified jet associated with the Antarctic Slope Front (ASF) and a broader bottom-intensified westward flow that extends out to approximately the 4000 m isobath and is strongest along the upper slope. The time-mean transport of the ASC is −29.2 Sv. Fluctuations in the transport are large, typically exceeding the mean by a factor of 2. They are mainly due to changes in the northward extent of the current over the lower slope. However, seasonal changes in the wind also drive variations in the transport of the ASF and the flow in the upper slope. Both mean and variability are largely barotropic, thus invisible to traditional geostrophic methods
PreprintRecent changes in the Labrador Sea Water within the Deep Western Boundary Current southeast of Cape Cod( 2011-07-20) Pena-Molino, Beatriz ; Joyce, Terrence M. ; Toole, John M.Water properties measured by the central mooring in the Line W mooring array southeast of Cape Cod document a large character shift during the period of November 2001 to April 2008. The observed temperature, salinity and planetary potential vorticity (PPV) anomalies manifest changes in the formation region of the water masses present at Station W, specifically upper Labrador Sea Water (uLSW), deep Labrador Sea Water (dLSW) and Overflow Water (OW). During the observation period, the minimum in the PPV anomaly field relative to the record mean PPV profile migrated from 1500m, where it was originally found, to 700m. Temporal changes in the vertical distribution of temperature and salinity were correlated with the PPV changes. This suggests a dLSW-dominated first half of the record, versus an uLSW-dominated second half. The structure of these anomalies is consistent with observations within the Labrador Sea, and their transit time to Line W agrees well with tracer-derived times for signals spreading along the western boundary. In that context, the observed water properties at Line W in the early 2000s reflected the intense deep convection in the Labrador Sea in the mid 1990s, with less intense convection subsequently affecting lighter isopycnals. The observed velocity field is dominated by high-frequency (periods of days to months) fluctuations, however, a fraction of the velocity variability is correlated with changes in water mass properties, and indicate a gradual acceleration of the southwestward flow, with a corresponding increase in Deep Western Boundary Current transport.
ArticleVariability in the Slope Water and its relation to the Gulf Stream path(American Geophysical Union, 2008-02-06) Pena-Molino, Beatriz ; Joyce, Terrence M.Sea Surface Temperature (SST) and Sea Surface Height (SSH) data for 1993–2007 for the North Atlantic are combined with hydrographic data at 69W to investigate the relation between the Gulf Stream (GS) position and the Slope Water properties. SST anomalies north of the GS are correlated with changes in its path. The lag of this correlation is such that positive temperature anomalies precede northward shifts of the GS, and suggests that SST anomalies move westward with speeds of several cm/s. EOF analysis of the SST and SSH fields shows that cooling and strengthening of the SW flow are in phase over the Slope Water, which is mirrored in the vertical structure of these fields at 69W, indicating larger transports in the Deep Western Boundary Current lead to southward shifts of the mean GS path. This relation between the Slope Water and the GS path provides some predictability for the latter.
ArticleVariability in the Deep Western Boundary Current : local versus remote forcing(American Geophysical Union, 2012-12-22) Pena-Molino, Beatriz ; Joyce, Terrence M. ; Toole, John M.Horizontal velocity, temperature and salinity measurements from the Line W array for the period 2004–2008 show large changes in the water mass structure and circulation of the Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC). Fluctuations in the flow with periods from 10 to 60 days are bottom intensified: signals most likely associated with topographic Rossby waves (TRW). A fraction (∼15%) of the DWBC transport variability is caused by Gulf Stream rings and meanders. These flow anomalies are surface intensified and fluctuate at frequencies lower than the TRW. Interannual variability in the velocity field appears to be related to changes in the hydrographic properties. The dominant mode of variability is characterized by an overall freshening, cooling, a potential vorticity (PV) increase in the deep Labrador Sea Water (dLSW) and a PV decrease in the Overflow Water (OW). The variability in the flow associated with these property changes is not spatially homogeneous. Offshore (water depths larger than 3500 m) changes in the velocity are in phase with PV changes in the OW: a decrease in the OW PV is accompanied by an increase in the southward (negative) transport. Conversely, variations of the inshore flow are in phase with changes in the dLSW PV (increasing PV and decreasing transport). This trend, true for most of the record, reverses after the winter of 2007–2008. A sudden decrease of the dLSW PV is observed, with a corresponding intensification of the flow in the inner DWBC as well as a northward shift in the Gulf Stream axis.