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dc.contributor.authorFarrar, J. Thomas  Concept link
dc.contributor.authorPlueddemann, Albert J.  Concept link
dc.identifier.citationFarrar, J. T., & Plueddemann, A. J. (2019). On the factors driving upper-ocean salinity variability at the western edge of the Eastern Pacific Fresh Pool. Oceanography, 32(2), 30-39.en_US
dc.description© The Author(s), 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Farrar, J. T., & Plueddemann, A. J. On the factors driving upper-ocean salinity variability at the western edge of the Eastern Pacific Fresh Pool. Oceanography, 32(2), (2019):30-39, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2019.209.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe tropical Eastern Pacific Fresh Pool (EPFP) has some of the highest precipitation rates and lowest sea surface salinities found in the open ocean. In addition, the sea surface salinity in the EPFP exhibits one of the strongest annual cycles in the world ocean. The region is strongly affected by the meridionally migrating Intertropical Convergence Zone and is also influenced by large-scale ocean currents and wind-driven Ekman currents. Recognizing the complexity of competing regional influences and the importance of sea surface salinity as an integrator of freshwater forcing, the Salinity Processes Upper-ocean Regional Study (SPURS) was undertaken to better understand how ocean processes and surface freshwater fluxes set surface salinity. Instrumentation on a surface mooring, deployed for 14 months near the western edge of the EPFP, allowed estimation of the surface fluxes of momentum, heat, and freshwater. Subsurface instrumentation on the mooring provided upper-ocean vertical structure and horizontal currents. These observations, along with horizontal gradients of surface salinity from the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite instrument, were used to estimate the surface-layer salinity budget at the western edge of the EPFP. While the low salinity associated with the presence of the EPFP at the mooring site was sustained by heavy rainfall, it was found that seasonal variability in large-scale currents was important to controlling the transition between the “salty” and “fresh” seasons. Ekman advection was important to prolonging local high salinity as rainfall decreased. Although illuminating some key processes, the temporal variability of the surface-layer salinity budget also shows significant complexity, with processes such as surface freshwater fluxes and vertical mixing making notable contributions. The surface flux term and the terms involving mixing across the base of the surface layer oppose and nearly cancel each other throughout the deployment, such that the horizontal advection term effectively accounts for most of the variability in surface salinity at the site on monthly to seasonal timescales. Further investigation, taking advantage of additional observations during SPURS-2, will be needed to more thoroughly examine the relevant physical processes.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipWe are grateful for helpful comments on the manuscript from guest editor Andrey Shcherbina and two anonymous reviewers. We thank the members of the WHOI Upper Ocean Processes Group (Ben Pietro, Emerson Hasbrouck, Raymond Graham, Nan Galbraith, Kelan Huang, Sebastien Bigorre, Ben Greenwood, Jason Smith, Geoff Allsup, and Bob Weller) for their contributions to preparation, deployment, and recovery of the SPURS-2 surface mooring. We thank the captains and crews of R/V Roger Revelle and R/V Thomas Thompson, and the chief scientists for the deployment and recovery cruises (Andy Jessup and Kyla Drushka). SMAP salinity data are produced by Remote Sensing Systems and sponsored by the NASA Ocean Salinity Science Team (data are available at This work was supported by NASA grants NNX15AG20G and 80NSSC18K1494. The buoy and mooring data will soon be available from the NASA JPL PO.DAAC data center.en_US
dc.publisherNorsk Polarinstitutten_US
dc.rightsAttribution 4.0 International*
dc.titleOn the factors driving upper-ocean salinity variability at the western edge of the Eastern Pacific Fresh Poolen_US

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