Water Mass Transformation in Salinity Temperature Space
2014 (English)In: Journal of Physical Oceanography, ISSN 0022-3670, Vol. 44, no 9, 2547-2568 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This article presents a new framework for studying water mass transformations in salinity temperature space that can, with equal ease, be applied to study water mass transformation in spaces defined by any two conservative tracers. It is shown how the flow across isothermal and isohaline surfaces in the ocean can be quantified from knowledge of the nonadvective fluxes of heat and salt. It is also shown how these cross-isothermal and cross-isohaline flows can be used to form a continuity equation in salinity temperature space. These flows are then quantified in a state-of-the-art ocean model. Two major transformation cells are found: a tropical cell driven primarily by surface fluxes and dianeutral diffusion and a conveyor belt cell where isoneutral diffusion is also important. Both cells are similar to cells found in earlier work on the thermohaline streamfunction. A key benefit with this framework over a streamfunction approach is that transformation due to different diabatic processes can be studied individually. The distributions of volume and surface area in S-T space are found to be useful for determining how transformations due to these different processes affect the water masses in the model. The surface area distribution shows that the water mass transformations due to surface fluxes tend to be directed away from S-T regions that occupy large areas at the sea surface.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 44, no 9, 2547-2568 p.
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-107984DOI: 10.1175/JPO-D-13-0257.1ISI: 000341334300016OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-107984DiVA: diva2:753843