Cross-equatorial anti-symmetry in the seasonal transport of the western boundary current in the Atlantic Ocean
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The western boundary current in the equatorial Atlantic Ocean is a main conduit for water-mass exchanges across the equator and thus a major pathway for the interhemispheric transports in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) system. In this study we quantify and examine the mean and seasonal variability of the equatorial western boundary current (EWBC) in the upper ocean layer using two data-assimilated products, the Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean (ECCO4r3) and the Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA3). It is found that the EWBC between 10°S and 10°N exhibits two pronounced features in its seasonal variability: (1) the transport varies anti-symmetrically across the equator, that is, the northward EWBC strengthens to the north of the equator when it weakens to the south of the equator, and vice versa; and (2) the amplitude of seasonal variations is much greater in the northern hemisphere than in the south. We hypothesize that the cross-equatorial anti-symmetry in EWBC transport variability is attributable to the impingement of equatorial Rossby waves at the western boundary and the shape of the western boundary is the main cause for the amplified seasonal variability in the northern hemisphere. A simple 1 and 1/2-layer model is used to test and validate this hypothesis and to elucidate the role of wind forcing and topography plays in the seasonal variability in the EWBC transport.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2021. 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 126(5), (2021): e2021JC017184, https://doi.org/10.1029/2021JC017184.
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