Formation of Subtropical Mode Water in a high-resolution ocean simulation of the Kuroshio Extension region

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Rainville, Luc
Jayne, Steven R.
McClean, Julie L.
Maltrud, Mathew E.
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A high-resolution numerical model is used to examine the formation and variability of the North Pacific Subtropical ModeWater (STMW) over a 3-year period. The STMW distribution is found to be highly variable in both space and time, a characteristic often unexplored because of sparse observations or the use of coarse resolution simulations. Its distribution is highly dependent on eddies, and where it was renewed during the previous winter. Although the potential vorticity fluxes associated with down-front winds can be of the same order of magnitude or even greater than the diabatic ones due to air-sea temperature differences, the latter dominate the potential vorticity budget on regional and larger scales. Air-sea fluxes, however, are dominated by a few strong wind events, emphasizing the importance of short time scales in the formation of mode waters. In the Kuroshio Extension region, both advection and mixing play important roles to remove the STMW from the formation region.
Author Posting. © Elsevier B.V., 2007. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Ocean Modelling 17 (2007): 338-356, doi:10.1016/j.ocemod.2007.03.002.
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