Mean structure of the North Atlantic subtropical permanent pycnocline from in-situ observations

Type Poster
Date 2016-02-22
Language English
Other localization http://osm.agu.org/2016/
Copyright 2016 Ifremer, CNRS
Author(s) Feucher CharleneORCID1, Maze GuillaumeORCID1, Mercier HerleORCID2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Ifremer, France
2 : CNRS, France
Meeting Ocean Sciences Meeting 2016, 21-26 February, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Abstract In the north Atlantic subtropical gyre, the oceanic vertical structure of density is characterized by a region of rapid increase with depth. This layer is called the permanent pycnocline. The permanent pycnocline is found below a surface mode water ,which are ventilated every winter when penetrated locally by the mixed layer.
Assessing the structure and variability of the permanent pycnocline is of a major interest in the understanding of the climate system because the pycnocline layer delimits important heat and anthropogenic reservoir. Moreover, the heat content structure translate into changes in the large scale stratification feature, such as the permanent pycnocline.
We developed a new objective algorithm for the characterization of the large scale structure of the permanent pycnocline (OAC-P). Argo data have been used with OAC-P to provide a detailed description of the mean structure of the North-Atlantic subtropical pycnocline (e.g.: depth, thickness, temperature, salinity, density, potential vorticity).
Results reveal a surprisingly complex structure with inhomogeneous properties. While the classical bowl shape of the pycnocline depth is captured, much more complex pycnocline structure emerges at the regional scale. In the southern recirculation gyre of the Gulf Stream Extension, the pycnocline is deep, thick, the maximum of stratification is found in the middle on the layer and follow an isopycnal surface. But local processes influence and modify this textbook description and the pycnocline is characterized by a vertically asymmetric structure and gradients in thermohaline properties. T/S distribution along the permanent pycnocline depth is complex and reveals a diversity of water masses resulting from mixing of different source waters.
We will present the observed mean structure of the North-Atlantic subtropical permanent pycnocline and relate it to physical processes that constraint it.
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Feucher Charlene, Maze Guillaume, Mercier Herle (2016). Mean structure of the North Atlantic subtropical permanent pycnocline from in-situ observations. Ocean Sciences Meeting 2016, 21-26 February, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00318/42870/