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Moored observations of transport in the Solomon Sea

TitleMoored observations of transport in the Solomon Sea
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsAlberty M., Sprintall J, MacKinnon J., Germineaud C., Cravatte S., Ganachaud A.
Date Published2019/10
Type of ArticleArticle; Early Access
ISBN Number2169-9275
Accession NumberWOS:000497897100001
Keywordsantarctic intermediate water; currents; intraseasonal variability; Iron; low latitude western boundary currents; mooring observations; Ocean circulation; oceanography; papua-new-guinea; solomon sea; south-pacific; thermocline; tropical pacific; variability; western equatorial pacific

The Solomon Sea is a marginal sea in the western Pacific warm pool that contains the South Pacific low latitude western boundary currents. These low latitude western boundary currents chiefly exit the Solomon Sea through three channels (Vitiaz Strait, St. George's Channel, and Solomon Strait) and serve as the primary source water for the Equatorial Undercurrent. Simulations have shown that transport partitioning between the straits determines the water mass structure of the Equatorial Undercurrent, but the relative contributions of transport through each strait have not been observed before. As part of the Southwest Pacific Ocean Circulation and Climate Experiment, an array of moorings was deployed simultaneously in the three outflow channels of the Solomon Sea from July 2012 until March 2014 to resolve transport and water properties in each strait. Above deep isopycnals (sigma(0) <= 27.5), Vitiaz and Solomon Straits account for 54.2% and 36.2% of the mean transport, respectively, with the remaining 9.6% exiting through St. George's Channel. The strongest subinertial transport variability is observed in Solomon Strait and dominates total Solomon Sea transport variability, and a significant fraction of this variability is at intraseasonal time scales. Finally, a previously unobserved deep current at 1,500-m depth is found to enter the Solomon Sea through Solomon Strait, with a deployment-mean transport of 4.6 Sv (Sv equivalent to 10(6) m(3)/s).

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