An Anti-Phase Relationship Between the Subtropical Underwater and Eastern Subtropical Mode Water in the South Pacific During 2004–2020

Yingying Wang, Tangdong Qu, Yiyong Luo, Rana A. Fine

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

Abstract

Using the Roemmich-Gilson Argo data set, this study investigates variability of the Subtropical Underwater (STUW) and eastern Subtropical Mode Water (ESTMW) in the South Pacific during 2004–2020. The STUW volume decreased during 2004–2013 and increased during 2013–2020, while the volume of the ESTMW shows the opposite phase. On interannual time scales, there is also a significant negative correlation in volume between the STUW and ESTMW. This anti-phase relationship is attributed to changes in their volumetric subduction rates, which are in turn closely related to variability in the mixed layer depth (MLD). ENSO directly contributes to variability of the subduction rates by modifying the MLD. Equatorward propagation of spiciness anomalies is identified along isopycnal surfaces of the STUW and ESTMW cores. These spiciness anomalies in the downstream region are correlated with changes in volume of both water masses, and significant spiciness anomalies can reach the tropical Pacific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021GL096601
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 28 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • south pacific
  • subtropical mode water
  • subtropical underwater
  • water masses relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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