Understanding the annual cycle in global steric height

TitleUnderstanding the annual cycle in global steric height
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsGiglio D., Roemmich D., Cornuelle B.
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Date Published2013/08
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0094-8276
Accession NumberWOS:000324529000041
KeywordsArgo; atlantic-ocean; Ekman pumping; interannual variability; profiling floats; reanalysis; seasonal cycle; seasonal variability; steric height; subsurface ocean; vertical advection

Steric variability in the ocean includes diabatic changes in the surface layer due to air-sea buoyancy fluxes and adiabatic changes due to advection, which are dominant in the subsurface ocean. Here the annual signal in subsurface steric height (eta' below 200 db) is computed on a global scale using temperature and salinity profiles from Argo floats. The zonal average of over a season (e.g., eta'(March) - eta'(December)) is compared to the wind-forced vertical advection contribution (Delta eta'(w)) both in the global ocean and in different basins. The results show agreement that extends beyond the tropics. The estimate of Delta eta'(w) is based on the Ekman pumping and assumes that the seasonal vertical velocity is constant over the depth range of interest. This assumption is consistent with annual isopycnal displacements inferred from Argo profiles. The contribution of horizontal advection to Delta eta' is significant in some regions and consistent with differences between Delta eta' and Delta eta'(w).

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