Interannual Variability of the Mixed Layer Winter Convection and Spice Injection in the Eastern Subtropical North Atlantic

Type Article
Date 2015-02
Language English
Author(s) Kolodziejczyk NicolasORCID1, Reverdin GillesORCID1, Lazar Alban1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Paris 06, Sorbonne Univ, LOCEAN Lab, CNRS,IRD,MNHN, F-75005 Paris, France.
Source Journal Of Physical Oceanography (0022-3670) (Amer Meteorological Soc), 2015-02 , Vol. 45 , N. 2 , P. 504-525
DOI 10.1175/JPO-D-14-0042.1
WOS© Times Cited 15
Abstract

The Argo dataset is used to study the winter upper-ocean conditions in the northeastern subtropical (NEA) Atlantic during 2006-12. During late winter 2010, the mixed layer depth is abnormally shallow and a negative anomaly of density-compensated salinity, the so-called spiciness, is generated in the permanent pycnocline. This is primarily explained by unusual weak air-sea buoyancy flux during the late winter 2010, in contrast with the five other studied winters. Particularly deep mixed layers and strong spiciness anomalies are observed during late winter 2012. The 2010 winter conditions appear to be related to historically low North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and high tropical North Atlantic index (TNA). Interannual variability of the eastern subtropical mixed layer is further investigated using a simple 1D bulk model of mean temperature and salinity linear profiles, based on turbulent kinetic energy conservation in the upper-ocean layer, and forced only with seasonal air-sea buoyancy forcing corresponding to fall-winter 2006-12. It suggests that year-to-year variability of the winter convective mixing driven by atmospheric buoyancy flux is able to generate interannual variability of both late winter mixed layer depth and spiciness in a strongly compensated layer at the base of the mixed layer and in the permanent pycnocline.

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