Intraseasonal variability of surface salinity in the eastern tropical pacific associated with mesoscale eddies.
Farrar, J. Thomas
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Strong variability in sea surface salinity (SSS) in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETPac) on intraseasonal to interannual timescales was studied using data from the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity, Soil Moisture Active Passive, and Aquarius satellite missions. A zonal wave number‐frequency spectral analysis of SSS reveals a dominant timescale of 50–180 days and spatial scale of 8°–20° of longitude with a distinct seasonal cycle and interannual variability. This intraseasonal SSS signal is detailed in the study of 19 individual ETPac eddies over 2010–2016 identified by their sea level anomalies, propagating westward at a speed of about 17 cm/s. ETPac eddies trap and advect water in their core westward up to 40° of longitude away from the coast. The SSS signatures of these eddies, with an average anomaly of 0.5‐pss magnitude difference from ambient values, enable the study of their dynamics and the mixing of their core waters with the surroundings. Three categories of eddies were identified according to the location where they were first tracked: (1) in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, (2) in the Gulf of Papagayo, and (3) in the open ocean near 100°W–12°N. They all traveled westward near 10°N latitude. Category 3 is of particular interest, as eddies seeded in the Gulf of Tehuantepec grew substantially in the vicinity of the Clipperton Fracture Zone rise and in a region where the mean zonal currents have anticyclonic shear. The evolution of the SSS signature associated with the eddies indicates the importance of mixing to their dissipation.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2019. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans 124(4), (2019):2861-2875, doi: 10.1029/2018JC014175.
Suggested CitationHasson, A., Farrar, J. T., Boutin, J., Bingham, F., & Lee, T. (2019). Intraseasonal variability of surface salinity in the eastern tropical pacific associated with mesoscale eddies. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 124(4), 2861-2875.
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