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Upper ocean temperature and the baroclinic transport stream function relationship in Drake Passage

Sokolov, S.; King, B.A.; Rintoul, S.R.; Rojas, R.L.. 2004 Upper ocean temperature and the baroclinic transport stream function relationship in Drake Passage. Journal of Geophysical Research, 109 (C5). C05001. https://doi.org/10.1029/2003JC002010

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Abstract/Summary

Repeat hydrographic sections across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) in Drake Passage are used to derive an empirical relationship between upper ocean temperature and the baroclinic transport stream function. Cross validation shows this relationship can be used to infer baroclinic transport (above and relative to 2500 m) from expendable bathythermograph (XBT) temperature measurements with an error of a few per cent. Transport errors of less than 2 Sv are obtained if temperature at depths between 600 and 1600 m is used to define the relationship. Temperature at depths above 300 m provides an unreliable index of transport because of variability in temperature-salinity (T-S) properties produced by air-sea interaction. The scatter in the relationship between temperature and stream function from repeat observations along a single line is similar in magnitude to the scatter observed when data from the broader Drake Passage area are considered. In both cases, variability about the mean temperature-stream function relationship reflects advection of water with anomalous T-S properties. The tight relationship between temperature and stream function in Drake Passage and south of Australia suggests baroclinic transports can be inferred from XBT temperatures with high accuracy in the Southern Ocean, providing a cost-effective means of monitoring ACC variability. However, care must be taken at the end points, particularly in the Drake Passage where the strong flow of the Subantarctic Front sometimes lies over the continental slope.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1029/2003JC002010
Additional Keywords: Antarctic Circumpolar Current, baroclinic transport, Southern Ocean
Date made live: 02 Jun 2005 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/115822

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