The diurnal salinity cycle in the tropics

TitleThe diurnal salinity cycle in the tropics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsDrushka K., Gille ST, Sprintall J
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research-Oceans
Date Published2014/09
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2169-9275
Accession NumberWOS:000343879200017
KeywordsAquarius; atmosphere response; bulk parameterization; diurnal variability; experiment; fluxes; ocean mixed-layer; rainfall; salinity; sea-surface temperature; solar-radiation; variability; warm pool; western equatorial pacific

Observations from 35 tropical moorings are used to characterize the diurnal cycle in salinity at 1 m depth. The amplitude of diurnal salinity anomalies is up to 0.01 psu and more typically approximate to 0.005 psu. Diurnal variations in precipitation and vertical entrainment appear to be the dominant drivers of diurnal salinity variability, with evaporation also contributing. Areas where these processes are strong are expected to have relatively strong salinity cycles: the eastern Atlantic and Pacific equatorial regions, the southwestern Bay of Bengal, the Amazon outflow region, and the Indo-Pacific warm pool. We hypothesize that salinity anomalies resulting from precipitation and evaporation are initially trapped very near the surface and may not be observed at the 1 m instrument depths until they are mixed downward. As a result, the pattern of diurnal salinity variations is not only dependent on the strength of the forcing terms, but also on the phasing of winds and convective overturning. A comparison of mixed-layer depth computed with hourly and with daily averaged salinity reveals that diurnal salinity variability can have a significant effect on upper ocean stratification, suggesting that representing diurnal salinity variability could potentially improve air-sea interaction in climate models. Comparisons between salinity observations from moorings and from the Aquarius satellite (level 2 version 3.0 data) reveal that the typical difference between ascending-node and descending-node Aquarius salinity is an order of magnitude greater than the observed diurnal salinity anomalies at 1 m depth.

Short TitleJ Geophys Res-Oceans
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