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A conceptual model of the surface salinity distribution in the oceanic Hadley cell
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology.
2008 (English)In: Journal of Climate, Vol. 21, no 24, 6586-6598 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A conceptual model of the salinity distribution in the oceanic Hadley cell is presented. The model pertains to the region of tropical easterly surface winds, where the surface salinity increases poleward from a local salinity minimum near the equator to a subtropical salinity maximum. A fundamental constraint is that the meridional freshwater transports in the atmosphere and the ocean have the same magnitude but opposite directions. A key assumption is that the strength of the meridional overturning cells in the atmosphere and the ocean is proportional and set by the surface layer Ekman transport. It is further assumed that, to the lowest order of approximation, the zonal-mean Ekman transports accomplish the meridional freshwater transports, that is, eddy fluxes and gyre-induced transports are ignored. The model predicts that the salinity variation in the oceanic cell is directly proportional to the specific humidity of the near-surface air, but independent of the meridional mass transport (as long as the atmospheric and oceanic mass transports remain proportional). If the relative humidity of the near-surface air is constant, the salinity variation in the oceanic Hadley cell varies essentially with the surface temperature according to the Clausius–Clapeyron expression for the saturation vapor pressure. Further, the model is compared to observations and a global warming simulation and found to give a leading-order description of the tropical surface salinity range.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 21, no 24, 6586-6598 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-17253DOI: doi:10.1175/2008JCLI2284.1ISI: 000262329000008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-17253DiVA: diva2:183774
Available from: 2009-01-14 Created: 2009-01-14 Last updated: 2011-01-10Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttp://dx.doi.org/10.1175/2008JCLI2284.1

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