High Salinity Shelf Water production rates in Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea from high-resolution salinity observations

Miller, Una Kim; Zappa, Christopher J.; Gordon, Arnold L.; Yoon, Seung-Tae; Stevens, Craig; Lee, Won Sang

High Salinity Shelf Water (HSSW) formed in the Ross Sea is a precursor to Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW), a water mass that constitutes the bottom limb of the global overturning circulation. HSSW production rates are poorly constrained, as in-situ observations are scarce. Here, we present high-vertical-and-temporal-resolution salinity time series collected in austral winter 2017 from a mooring in Terra Nova Bay (TNB), one of two major sites of HSSW production in the Ross Sea. We calculate an annual-average HSSW production rate of ~0.4 Sv (10^6 m^3 s^(-1)), which we use to ground truth additional estimates across 2012 - 2021 made from parametrized net surface heat fluxes. We find sub-seasonal and interannual variability on the order of 0.1 Sv, with a strong dependence on variability in open-water area that suggests a sensitivity of TNB HSSW production rates to changes in the local wind regime and offshore sea ice pack.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for Miller_2024_Nature_Comms.pdf Miller_2024_Nature_Comms.pdf application/pdf 3.12 MB Download File

Also Published In

Nature Communications

More About This Work