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Spiraling pathways of global deep waters to the surface of the Southern Ocean

TitleSpiraling pathways of global deep waters to the surface of the Southern Ocean
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsTamsitt V., Drake H.F, Morrison A.K, Talley LD, Dufour C.O, Gray A.R, Griffies S.M, Mazloff MR, Sarmiento J.L, Wang J.B, Weijer W.
JournalNature Communications
Date Published2017/08
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2041-1723
Accession NumberWOS:000406783400001
Keywordsantarctic circumpolar current; anthropogenic carbon; climate; conveyor belt; flow patterns; geostrophic circulation; Meridional overturning circulation; Mesoscale eddies; pacific-ocean; simulation; tasman leakage; total

Upwelling of global deep waters to the sea surface in the Southern Ocean closes the global overturning circulation and is fundamentally important for oceanic uptake of carbon and heat, nutrient resupply for sustaining oceanic biological production, and the melt rate of ice shelves. However, the exact pathways and role of topography in Southern Ocean upwelling remain largely unknown. Here we show detailed upwelling pathways in three dimensions, using hydrographic observations and particle tracking in high-resolution models. The analysis reveals that the northern-sourced deep waters enter the Antarctic Circumpolar Current via southward flow along the boundaries of the three ocean basins, before spiraling southeastward and upward through the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Upwelling is greatly enhanced at five major topographic features, associated with vigorous mesoscale eddy activity. Deep water reaches the upper ocean predominantly south of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, with a spatially nonuniform distribution. The timescale for half of the deep water to upwell from 30 degrees S to the mixed layer is similar to 60-90 years.

Short TitleNat. Commun.
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